• Karaman gleams like a pearl at the point where the Central Anatolian steppe meets the rugged slopes of the Taurus Mountains. A sign greets visitors, saying, “Welcome to the land of pure Turkish,” calling to mind the words of Karamanoğlu Mehmet Bey, who fought to establish Turkish unity in 13th century Anatolia. Issuing a linguistic declaration in 1277, Mehmet Bey said, “From now on, let no one speak any language other than Turkish in the palace, in the assembly and on the street.” Language day is enthusiastically celebrated at Karaman every year on May 13, the anniversary of the declaration.

     

  • Where did the Industrial Revolution begin? Under what conditions did migrants from the countryside to the cities live? What was the urban architecture of the 19th century like? If you have questions like these, Birmingham is precisely where you need to be. England’s second largest city, Birmingham is a perfect Victorian metropolis with its architecture evocative of the Industrial Revolution and the sociocultural atmosphere of the time.

  • Cars are a necessity for some, a matter of taste for others. What both have in common is that they spend a significant amount of time in their vehicles. Erbakan Malkoç is a boss today in the profession he chose when he came to Istanbul as an auto mechanic’s apprentice at the age of 16. He teaches in universities and has a reputation as a successful designer who has devoted himself to automobiles through his partnerships with international firms. Ajda Pekkan, Mazhar Alanson and the princes of Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain are just a few of his clients.

  • Internationally recognized for its expertise in aircraft maintenance and repair, Turkish Technic is a 100% Turkish Airlines-owned subsidiary. Turkish Technic aims to be one of the leading players in the field of maintenance and repair and has taken a significant step toward that goal with its launch of the HABOM project.

  • But soldiers erect a wall at the mouth of the cave to trap them inside, and the seven youths end up sleeping here for centuries. Thinking they have slept just one night, they are unaware when they wake up that a very long time has passed. Only when one of the youths leaves the cave to go in search of food, does he realize that everything has changed.
    Legends are rife regarding the location of the cave of the seven sleepers, a story common to both Christian and Islamic belief. Scores of caves in Europe, Asia and Africa are known as Ashab al-Kahf (Companions of the Cave), four of them in Turkey in the towns of Selçuk, Tarsus and Afşin. Although each one of these towns claims the cave, the actual finds point to Afşin, aka Efsus.

  • Ramadan has always been one of the year’s most enjoyable times for children. These days, when efforts are under way to revive the open air shows, shadow puppet plays and traditional entertainments of Ramadans of old, families can spend a delightful month with their kids. Come. Set aside more time for your kids this Ramadan, which is also a month of unity and togetherness, and take part with them in activities that will transport you back to your own childhood.

  • When Sultan Abdülaziz arrived in London in 1867 as the guest of Queen Victoria he was greeted by the Queen’s military bands playing La Gondole Barcarolle, one of His Imperial Majesty’s own compositions. The European press at the time was rather surprised that the Ottoman Sultan had composed such a lyrical gondolier song and that his music, along with one of his other compositions, Invitation à la Valse, was published in piano score in Italy. 

  • If I was told to choose a city to live in outside of Istanbul, it would be Beirut hands down. When I go there with my esteemed mentor, collector Erol Makzume, as a reference, the doors of the city’s intellectual community open to me instantly. We settle into our fashionable boutique hotel in the city center, make a mini tour of the city and set out for our appointment with Fayza al-Khazen. The address is in the Raouché district, better known now as the Pigeon Rocks, one of Beirut’s most beautiful and prestigious neighborhoods with a magnificent view of the Mediterranean. I ring the bell of a house from the 1950’s in pastel pink, a two-story house with high ceilings, multiple rooms and a spacious balcony. Escorted by the Filipino maid who lets us in, we go straight to the living room. Sunlight sifting in through the windows in a sparkling Mediterranean play of light makes the ambience of this interior even more attractive. The walls are covered with antique Ottoman artifacts, Beykoz, Iznik and Kütahya ceramics. Yıldız porcelain cups with sleeves adorn the 18th century French cabinets. Piled randomly with sheet music, the well-worn piano is clearly not just a part of the decor.

  • Istanbul… Orhan Veli begins his famous poem, saying, “I am listening to Istanbul, my eyes closed.” Ferhan Özpetek, in his Istanbul Red, says, “Istanbul is red and blue, a red and blue that melt into each other only in sunsets on the Bosphorus.” After Mümtaz and Nuran, Istanbul is the main protagonist of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s novel, A Mind at Peace. We read about the conquest, captivity and liberation of the city in Kemal Tahir’s Istanbul trilogy, while Refik Halid in Istanbul’s Inside Story portrays the city’s people struggling to keep pace with change in the early twentieth century. Nedim Gürsel depicts the conquest his book, The Conqueror, and Orhan Pamuk transforms Istanbul into a museum of love in The Museum of Innocence… We, too, wanted to create a panorama of our Istanbul today, so we asked each writer to describe the neighborhood he or she loves and knows best.   Ah, beautiful Istanbul...

  • Wheat, whose homeland is the fertile soil of Anatolia, is one of the world’s most important foodstuffs. Nourishing, versatile and easy to store, wheat quickly became a staple all over the world.
    Central Asia and Anatolia have devoted their lives to the culture of wheat for millennia. And the Turks, who step by step achieved expertise in the use of wheat and its products, developed some impressive methods and techniques for rolling out dough in particular.
    The making of palace “serpme” beurek, so-called because it is tossed and spun in the air, is a spectacular skill demonstration one never tires of watching. The transformation of the ear of wheat into flour, the flour into dough and the dough into a paper-thin sheet lighter and more transparent than silk is a veritable culinary phenomenon.
    Techniques for rolling very thin dough arose mainly in eastern cultures. Such techniques are not employed in western cuisines today, but the Ottomans, through their relations in the Balkans, were inspired by the strudel of the Austrians. The equivalent of strudel in Turkey is “çarşaf” (sheet) beurek, which is rolled and stretched over a sheet of cloth, and palace “serpme” beurek is a form of çarşaf beurek made by tossing the dough without using a sheet.
    Consumed in copious quantities at “Sahur” tables in Thrace and the Balkans during the month of Ramadan, these Turkish beureks are being kept alive today in Istanbul’s beurek parlors.

Destination

  • Istanbul Beautiful Istanbul

    Istanbul… Orhan Veli begins his famous poem, saying, “I am listening to Istanbul, my eyes closed.” Ferhan Özpetek, in his Istanbul Red, says, “Istanbul is red and blue, a red and blue that melt into each other only in sunsets on the Bosphorus.” After Mümtaz and Nuran, Istanbul is the main protagonist of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s novel, A Mind at Peace. We read about the conquest, captivity and liberation of the city in Kemal Tahir’s Istanbul trilogy, while Refik Halid in Istanbul’s Inside Story portrays the city’s people struggling to keep pace with change in the early twentieth century. Nedim Gürsel depicts the conquest his book, The Conqueror, and Orhan Pamuk transforms Istanbul into a museum of love in The Museum of Innocence… We, too, wanted to create a panorama of our Istanbul today, so we asked each writer to describe the neighborhood he or she loves and knows best.   Ah, beautiful Istanbul...

  • Birmingham Modern And Cultured

    Where did the Industrial Revolution begin? Under what conditions did migrants from the countryside to the cities live? What was the urban architecture of the 19th century like? If you have questions like these, Birmingham is precisely where you need to be. England’s second largest city, Birmingham is a perfect Victorian metropolis with its architecture evocative of the Industrial Revolution and the sociocultural atmosphere of the time.

  • Karaman The Capital Of The Turkish Language

    Karaman gleams like a pearl at the point where the Central Anatolian steppe meets the rugged slopes of the Taurus Mountains. A sign greets visitors, saying, “Welcome to the land of pure Turkish,” calling to mind the words of Karamanoğlu Mehmet Bey, who fought to establish Turkish unity in 13th century Anatolia. Issuing a linguistic declaration in 1277, Mehmet Bey said, “From now on, let no one speak any language other than Turkish in the palace, in the assembly and on the street.” Language day is enthusiastically celebrated at Karaman every year on May 13, the anniversary of the declaration.

     

  • Europe In The Caucasus: Tbilisi

    Rustaveli Avenue running straight through the heart of Tbilisi may at first blush remind you of the elegant boulevards of Paris. Its conspicuously broad sidewalks are like an outdoor museum of architecture boasting everything from Art Nouveau to Art Deco. Colonnaded by trees every ten paces or so, the avenue is also adorned with fantastical street lamps and sculptures large and small. Prominent venues like the Parliament Building with its sixteen columns, Rustaveli Theater, the National Museum, the Opera and the Museum of Fine Arts all stand here on this avenue where the traffic never stops all day long. And you won’t see the unsightly pedestrian overpasses that create visual pollution either. Tbilisi has solved this problem with underpasses.  
    Abuzz and dazzling with colorful lights by night, Rustaveli Avenue is lined with elegant cafes where white-gloved waiters serve guests at old-fashioned marble tables. The avenue ends at Freedom Square, in the middle of which a giant column with a statue will grab your attention, a monument to the rebirth of Tbilisi. The opulent mansions on the streets connecting to the square are a throwback to the city’s wealth in the 19th century. If you delve into these streets, the balconies with their wood and wrought iron decorations will catch your eye and you will feel as if you stepped into an ancient fairy tale. You’ll find a florist on almost every corner. There’s a big flower market in Tbilisi because the natives love flowers as well as art. Indeed, the city even has an art market that is well worth seeing.

    CONFLUENCE OF CULTURES
    Foremost among the places preserving Tbilisi’s multicultural identity is the Old Town. Mosques, synagogues and churches rise side by side in this area, where you will also come across traces of the Ottoman presence. Cafes and gift shops abound now in this quarter’s narrow streets. The 19th century Friday Mosque in the Azeri Quarter was built on the site of an older mosque, using red brick. The road up the wooded hill next to the mosque leads to the botanical garden, a green area with trees and plant species endemic to the Caucasus that welcomes guests from all over the world. A few minutes’ walk from here will take you to Tbilisi’s famous sulphur baths, said to be a remedy for everything from rheumatism to dermatological conditions. Spas like this enjoyed enormous popularity across a broad swath from Europe to Iran in the 19th century, and Russia’s famous poet, Pushkin, is known to have said of them: “I’ve never seen such luxury in all my life. I was literally reborn in Tbilisi!” We tried them and decided he was right! Following a refreshing bath, we strolled along two lovely streets: Shardeni with its cafes and Shavteli, known for its puppet theater and quirky clock tower.

    GATEWAY TO ASIA
    Arising in Turkey and emptying into the Caspian Sea, the Kura River flows through the center of Tbilisi. There are more than ten cities, among which Tbilisi is currently the biggest, in the vicinity of this river whose banks are known to have supported human settlement for 7,000 years. According to numerous sources, this river forms a natural border between Europe and Asia, making Tbilisi a gateway to Europe for people coming from Asia and a gateway to Asia for people coming from Europe. Historic bridges join the two banks of the river, which is likened to an emerald for its green hue. A large flea market is set up daily near the one called Dry Bridge, where you can find everything from old gramophones to sterling silver place settings. The more recently built Bridge of Peace was erected to showcase the city’s modern face.
    For a bird’s-eye view of Tbilisi, a ride on the Air Tram is your best bet. Magnificent views are to be had from the cable cars that glide along a line connecting two hills overlooking the city, and at the end stop you can also take in a glorious sunset. As long as you’re here, don’t forget to stop at Tbilisi Castle just a few steps away and at the Monument to Queen Tamara, the Mother of Georgia.
    After a pleasant tour of Tbilisi, we head outside the city to the old Georgian town of Mtskheta. Only 20 minutes from Tbilisi, it’s an easy outing with breathtaking landscapes along the way. Situated at the confluence of the country’s two great rivers, Mtskheta boasts thousand-year-old monasteries atop wild, deserted hills and loads of charming restaurants on the riverbank. If you happen to go to Tbilisi, be sure to include Mtskheta in your itinerary. Both cities are ready and eager to show you their beauty.

    TBILISI GUIDE
    INNER CITY TRANSPORT
    Tbilisi airport is about 18 kilometers from the city center. If you take a taxi, it will cost you around 50 lari (30 USD). Inside the city, fares run anywhere from 5 to 10 lari. We recommend however that you first agree on the fare with the driver. Car rentals start from 80 lari a day. You can also tour the city on City Tour buses: www.hoponhopoff.ge

    VISAS AND FOREIGN CURRENCY
    Turkish citizens need no visa for Georgia. You simply leave Turkey on your Turkish ID, no exit stamp required. Currency exchanges are easy to find in Tbilisi and most are open until midnight. One U.S. dollar is equivalent to approximately 1.75 Georgian lari.

    A PLETHORA OF HOTELS
    There are plenty of choices of accommodation in Tbilisi, with four-star hotel chains offering double rooms starting from a hundred dollars a night as well as numerous hostels and bed&breakfasts at the city center for just 20 dollars a night.

    GEORGIAN CUISINE
    Rich in savory pastries, vegetables, salads, mushrooms, wild mountain herbs, walnuts, pomegranates and cheeses. “Haçapuri” cheese-topped flatbread, Georgian mushroom “khinkali”, cheese torte, shepherd’s salad with walnuts, eggplant with spinach and pomegranate, and pickled linden leaves are some treats unique to the region.

    RUSTIC RESTAURANTS
    About half an hour from Tbilisi by car, Sighnagi is an historic settlement well worth a visit. There are lots of rustic restaurants in this town, perched atop a green hill looking out over the Great Caucasus Range.

    GETTING THERE
    Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Tbilisi-Istanbul flights daily. Departure times are 07:05 a.m. and 1:10, 2:50 and 9:30 p.m. from Istanbul. There is also a flight at ten past midnight. From Tbilisi, departure times are 4:15, 8:25 and 11:20 a.m., and 5:15 and 6:55 p.m. The flight take two and a half hours. www.turkishairlines.com

Culture & Arts

  • Fayza Al-Khazen Beirut’s Learned Princess

    If I was told to choose a city to live in outside of Istanbul, it would be Beirut hands down. When I go there with my esteemed mentor, collector Erol Makzume, as a reference, the doors of the city’s intellectual community open to me instantly. We settle into our fashionable boutique hotel in the city center, make a mini tour of the city and set out for our appointment with Fayza al-Khazen. The address is in the Raouché district, better known now as the Pigeon Rocks, one of Beirut’s most beautiful and prestigious neighborhoods with a magnificent view of the Mediterranean. I ring the bell of a house from the 1950’s in pastel pink, a two-story house with high ceilings, multiple rooms and a spacious balcony. Escorted by the Filipino maid who lets us in, we go straight to the living room. Sunlight sifting in through the windows in a sparkling Mediterranean play of light makes the ambience of this interior even more attractive. The walls are covered with antique Ottoman artifacts, Beykoz, Iznik and Kütahya ceramics. Yıldız porcelain cups with sleeves adorn the 18th century French cabinets. Piled randomly with sheet music, the well-worn piano is clearly not just a part of the decor.

  • Sultans Who Composed Waltzes

    When Sultan Abdülaziz arrived in London in 1867 as the guest of Queen Victoria he was greeted by the Queen’s military bands playing La Gondole Barcarolle, one of His Imperial Majesty’s own compositions. The European press at the time was rather surprised that the Ottoman Sultan had composed such a lyrical gondolier song and that his music, along with one of his other compositions, Invitation à la Valse, was published in piano score in Italy. 

  • Traveling Biennial

    Launched with the idea of creating a contemporary art platform for the Eastern European countries and first mounted at Rotterdam in 1994, Manifesta is taking place this year June 28 to October 31. Manifesta, which was inspired by the transformation the countries of Eastern Europe underwent between 1989 and 1991, aims this year to showcase the changes that have taken place in art and ociety since the Berlin Wall came down. Without a fixed venue and held in a different country each time, this year’s biennial is at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

    You will find a complete list of all participating national and international contemporary artists, among them Vadim Fishkin, Elena Kovylina, Tatzu Nishi and Thomas Hirschhorn, on the festival website, manifesta10.org

  • One Hundred Years Of Turkish Cinema

    CAMERAS IN TURKEY
    Cameramen working for the Lumière Brothers, who had staged the world’s first public screening of a moving picture at the Grand Café in Paris on December 28, 1895, filmed the Golden Horn and the Galata Bridge from the water in 1896, putting their signature on the first film shot in Turkey. The first public screening of a motion picture in Turkey also took place in 1896. From its inception in the Ottoman Empire, cinema gained instant popularity and soon became the cheapest and only form of public entertainment.

    THE EARLY YEARS (1896-1922)
    In its early years, cinema made use of the already existing venues and human resources of the theaters. As interest grew, films were first shown in coffeehouses and nightclubs, later moving in to the theaters where they were shown for entertainment between the acts of stage plays. Sigmund Weinberg, who is credited with bringing cinema to Turkey, opened the country’s first movie theater, called the Pathé, at Beyoğlu in 1908. It was followed by the Orientaux, which opened in Pera (Beyoğlu) in 1911, and the Central and Ideal, both of which opened in the same area in 1912.

    THE DEMOLITION OF AYASTEFANOS (1914)
    To record it for posterity, the Ottoman government decided to film the demolition of the monument erected by the Russians at Ayastefanos (Present-day Yeşilköy), the farthest point to which they had penetrated during the Russo-Turkish War of 1876-77.  It was essential that the film be shot by a Turk, so Fuat Uzkınay undertook to do it. Shooting the film on November 14, 1914, he became the first director in Turkish cinema. This date is also regarded as the start of the Turkish film industry.

    THE FIRST FEATURE-LENGTH FILM (1916)
    The first official movie theater in Turkey was set up by Enver Pasha in 1915 and called the MOSD (Central Army Cinematography Office). Sigmund Weinberg was placed in charge of it and Fuat Uzkınay appointed as his assistant.
    This institution made a series of propaganda films aimed at rehabilitating the Ottomans’ “sick man” image. Concurrently, Weinberg made his first feature-length films, Leblebici Horhor (1916) and Himmet Ağa’nın İzdivacı/The Marriage of Himmet Aga (1916), but the latter was never completed due to the war.

    THE FIRST COMMERCIAL FILMS
    All of MOSD’s film equipment was turned over to the Association of National Defense during the occupation of Istanbul at the end of World War I. To generate some revenue, the society commissioned two films to Sedat Semavi: Casus/The Spy (1917), a spy film set in the First World War, and Pençe/The Claw (1917), about an illicit love affair. These were the Turkish film industry’s first feature-length commercial films.

    THE ERA OF THE THEATER ACTORS (1922-1938)
    Muhsin Ertuğrul, the sole director in this period when Turkish cinema was in its infancy, set up the Kemal Film Studio, which made A Love Tragedy in Istanbul (1922), a film based on a real-life incident. Later he tried to adapt Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu’s novel Nur Baba (1922) to the screen, but the film, which led to tension already during the shooting, was later released under the title “The Bosphorus Mystery”.

    WOMEN IN CINEMA
    Muhsin Ertuğrul’s third film, The Daughter of Smyrna (1923), was based on Halide Edip Adıvar’s novel of the same name and dealt with the theme of Turkey’s War of Independence. When a woman was needed to play in this highly patriotic film, an ad was placed in one of the Istanbul dailies, and Bedia Muvahhit, one of the two women who responded to the ad and played in the film, later became one of the doyennes of Turkish theater.

    THE TRANSITION (1938-1950)
    The Second World War broke out during this period of fresh initiatives in the Turkish film industry, and only 14 films were made between 1939 and 1944. During this dormant period, cinema in Turkey fell into the clutches of the U.S. film industry, which dominated the market. Due to the war, American films made it to the Middle East via Egypt, paving the way to a flood of Egyptian films in Turkey.

    THE FIRST CARTOON
    The quest to find actors without a theater background, the shift from synchronous dialogue to dubbing, and the first experiment with animation, Evvel Zaman İçinde, all occurred in this period. Among the other gains of the day we can site the rapid growth in the number of new movie theaters, new production studios and societies devoted to cinema.

    THE CINEMATOGRAPHERS (1950-1960)
    This period began with the film Strike the Whore, an adaptation of Halide Edip Adıvar’s novel by Lütfî Akad in 1949. Akad became a pioneering director, a “masterless master”, in films like In the Name of the Law (1952), Murderous City (1954) and White Handkerchief (1955), which he, unlike theater directors, shot in a cinematic concept characterized by lively and dynamic cinematography. Another master, Atıf Yılmaz seized on the popular novels of the day, making films like The Sob (1953) and The Girl Who Watched the Mountain (1955) as well as The Fallow Deer (1959), in which Yılmaz Güney acted, and This Land’s Children (1959). Another master of this period was Metin Erksan, who prepared the ground for the emergence of the directors who would have an impact on Turkish cinema in years to come, figures who, in a sense, became the founding directors of Turkish cinema and determined its course in subsequent periods.

    THE GOLDEN AGE (1960-1967)
    Starting in 1960, Turkish cinema turned to films with social content, films that dealt with events previously considered to be taboo in the cinema. For the first time, the problems of the rural population were taken up and dealt with in terms of property ownership. Low in number but high in quality, a number of masterpieces appeared in this period. Metin Erksan won the Golden Bar, the biggest prize ever captured by Turkish cinema up to that time, at the 1964 Berlin Film Festival for his film Susuz Yaz/Dry Summer.

    THE RISE OF YEŞİLÇAM (1967-1974)
    In a productive period for Turkish cinema in terms of quantity, the number of films shot annually rose from 200 in 1967 to 300 in 1972, and Turkey became the fourth largest producer of films after the U.S., India and Hong Kong. At the same time, this period was one in which melodramas on the theme poor girl-rich man or poor man-rich girl gained currency and the role of the star in cinema came to the fore as the number of movie theaters, producers and viewing audiences saw its biggest rise yet.

    THE LOST YEARS (1974-1978)
    As the cheapest and sole form of public entertainment, cinema was now trumped by television, which came into Turkish homes at the start of the seventies, and film production fell sharply by as much as eighty percent as audiences dwindled.
    As movie theaters closed down one by one, filmmakers, who were seeking to bring audiences back, found a way out by turning to films that could not be shown on TV.

    NATIONAL CINEMA
    National Cinema movements, one led by Halit Refiğ and Metin Erksan, the other pioneered by Yücel Çakmaklı, emerged in the difficult conditions of this period and started producing films, albeit few in number.

    THE NEW TURKISH CINEMA (1978-1986)
    Making social content films that reflected the socio-political climate of the time, young filmmakers turned to mainly youthful audiences, who were caught between television and cinema. Political issues focusing on the rural sector, the working class and the aftermath of the September 12th military takeover were dealt with as realistically as censorship would allow. Erden Kıral depicted cotton pickers in his films The Canal (1978) and On Fertile Lands (1979), and the clash of different cultures in A Season in Hakkari, which won four prizes at the Berlin Film Festival. Ali Özgentürk depicted honor killings in Hazal (1979), and the drama of a father struggling to educate his son in The Horse (1981), while Korhan Yurtsever depicted the conflict between landowners and farm workers in The Bad Spirits of the Euphrates (1977).

    THE YILMAZ GÜNEY MARK
    The films written by Yılmaz Güney in prison left their mark on this period. Among them, The Herd (1978) and The Enemy (1979), directed by Zeki Ökten, and Yol/The Way (1982), by Şerif Gören, took the Palme d’Or at Cannes along with the Costa Gavras film, Lost.

    THE VIDEO INVASION
    Hit by a video invasion in those years, the film industry turned to making cheap, low-brow video films. Color television and the rise of the private channels further fueled the crisis in the industry.

    THE MAJORS (1987-1994)
    Turkish cinema suffered its biggest crisis of all in the eighties. Films on political themes by a small number of directors had to compete at the box office with big American productions. The successful ones among them, Ertem Eğilmez’s last film, Arabesque (1988), Serif Gören’s The American (1993), Mustafa Altıoklar’s Istanbul Beneath My Wings (1995), Sinan Çetin’s Berlin in Berlin (1992), Yavuz Turgul’s Eşkıya/The Bandit (1996) and Gani Müjde’s Kahpe Bizans (1999), kindled renewed hope for the future.

    THE INDEPENDENT FILMMAKERS (1994 to the present)
    The difference between these filmmakers and the young filmmakers of earlier periods is that today’s filmmakers incur myriads to become producers and scriptwriters, even actors and cameramen, portraying their own stories and situations and using unknown actors in a cinematic language unique unto themselves with no thought of commercial gain. Zeki Demirkurbuz and Yeşim Ustaoğlu are among the leading directors of this period.

    THE INDEPENDENT DIRECTORS
    Turkey’s independent filmmakers have achieved huge success, garnering close to ten times as many awards at the international film festivals as were won by Turkish cinema in the previous 85 years. Foremost among them are Derviş Zaim (Somersault in a Coffin - 1996, Dot - 2007), Serdar Akar (On Board - 1999, Offside - 2000), Handan İpekçi (Dad Is in the Army - 1994, Big Man, Little Love - 2001), Reha Erdem (Oh, Moon! - 1998, Times and Winds - 2006, Cosmos - 2010), Reis Çelik (Işıklar Sönmesin - 1996),Night of Silence - 2012), Ümit Ünal  (9 - 2001, Istanbul Tales - 2004), Yılmaz Erdoğan (The Butterfly’s Dream - 2012), Ahmet Uluçay (Boats Out of Watermelon Rinds - 2004), Semih Kaplanoğlu (Egg - 2007, Milk - 2008, and Honey, 2010, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival), Tayfun Pirselimoğlu (In Nowhere Land - 2002), Semir Aslanyürek (Eve Giden Yol - 2006), and Özcan Alper (Autumn - 2008).

    WHO WAS SIGMUND WEINBERG?
    The one and only person in Turkey who knew what cinema was in the first half of the 19th century and was able to discern its future was Sigmund Weinberg, a Rumanian citizen who sold film and photography equipment in Beyoğlu and later went into the filmmaking business. Fuat Uzkınay learned cinema from Weinberg and began staging educational film screenings for students at the school where he was employed, thus becoming the second person in Turkey to know about cinema.

    THE FIRST TURKISH FILMMAKERS: THE MANAKİ BROTHERS
    Turkish filmmaking was born on November 14, 1914, the day that Fuat Uzkınay shot his film, “The Demolition of the Russian Monument at Ayastefanos”. Nevertheless, there are films that were shot earlier, among them the films that were made starting in 1905 by the Manaki brothers, Yanaki (1878-1954) and Milton (1882-1964), the first Balkan filmmakers. One of those films is Sultan Reşat’s Visit to Monastir, made in 1911.
    Film historians suggest that it would be more correct to regard the Manaki brothers as the first Turkish filmmakers since Macedonia was then part of the Ottoman Empire and the Manakis were naturally Ottoman citizens. The brothers always stamped the name of Turkey on their photographs and on the canisters of all the films they made.

    PIONEERS OF MELODRAMA
    Lütfî Akad produced original examples of the melodrama genre in his films, Hudutların Kanunu/The Law of the Border (1967), about the lives of smugglers on the border, and Vesikalı Yarim (1968). Atıf Yılmaz, who produced a political critique of the previous period in his Dolandırıcılar Şahı/King of the Swindlers (1961), tells the tragicomic story of an innocent, young girl who comes to the big city to become an actress in his Ah Güzel İstanbul/O Beautiful Istanbul (1966).

    THE GOLDEN AGE
    The golden age from 1960 to 1967 simultaneously ushered in an “age of enlightenment” in Turkish cinema. The Cinémathèque and Club 7 (later the State Film Archive) sprang up in this period, when the now long-standing national festivals, the Antalya Golden Orange and the Adana Golden Boll festivals, also had their inception. Thanks to these and other organizational efforts in cinema, developments in the literature were also among the positive developments of the time...

    ŞENER ŞEN
    Şener Şen is one of the most unconventional comedians - perhaps the first of his kind - in Turkish cinema. While most comedy types are naive and honest fumbling bumpkins, Şen is a comedy actor who was loved and rose to prominence for being the exact opposite, namely, a devious, double-dealing rogue. Following his success with Kemal Sunal in Outrageous Class, this fabulous duo came to audiences in films like The Foster Brothers, Şabanoğlu Şaban, Tosun Paşa, Kibar Feyzo, Davaro and The King of the Street Cleaners. Playing character roles, Şener Şen have had his name written in gold letters in Turkish cinema with films as The Bandit (1996), Lovelorn (2005), For Love and Honor (2007), Hunting Season (2010)..

    HAKKARİ’DE BİR MEVSİM (A SEASON IN HAKKARİ)
    This film, directed by Erden Kiral with a script adapted by Onat Kutlar from Ferit’s Edgü’s novel “O”, poetically depicts an intellectual who spends his military service serving as a teacher in the eastern province of Hakkari where he is based, his relationship with the alien culture he encounters there, and the inner journey it takes him on.

    YILMAZ GÜNEY
    One of Turkish cinema’s first actor-directors to gain international recognition, Güney, who started out in cinema as an actor in Atıf Yılmaz’s 1958 film Bu Vatanın Çocukları/This Land’s Children, got into directing as well in 1966 with his film At Avrat Silah/Horse, Woman and Gun, earning a reputation as the “Ugly King” in a series of films he shot one after the other. Surging to fame with his film Umut/Hope in 1970, he later directed Acı/Pain, Ağıt/Elegy, Baba/The Father, Umutsuzlar/The Hopeless One, Arkadaş/Friend and Duvar/The Wall. Forced to spend most of his life in prison, Güney nevertheless wrote the scripts for films like Sürü/The Herd, Düşman/The Enemy and Yol/The Way, which won top prizes at the international film festivals, and became the first Turkish director to be internationally recognized in world cinema..

    SEPTEMBER 12TH FILMS
    The first examples of the films known in Turkish cinema as the “September 12th films” because they dealt with the repercussions of the September 12th military takeover in 1971 began emerging at the end of the 1980’s. Zeki Alasya’s "The Thorny Way" (1986), Sinan Çetin’s "Prenses" (1986), Şerif Gören’s Sen Türkülerini Söyle (1986), Zeki Ökten’s Ses (1986), Zülfü Livaneli’s "Fog" (1988) and Tunç Başaran’s "Don’t Let Them Shoot the Kite" (1989) all bear witness to this period.

    NURİ BİLGE CEYLAN
    Following his 1995 film Koza/Cocoon, in 1999 Nuri Bilge Ceylan completed Mayıs Sıkıntısı/May Clouds, which walked off with big prizes at the national and international film festivals. Uzak took the Grand Prize of the Jury and the award for best actor at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003, İklimler/The Climate the Fibresci prize at Cannes in 2006, and Üç Maymun/Three Monkeys (2008) the award for best director, again at Cannes. With his film Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da/Once Upon A Time in Anatolia (2011), which won the Grand Prix at Cannes the same year, and, most recently, Winter Sleep (2014), which took the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, Ceylan has become Turkey’s top prizewinning director at home and abroad.

     

Event

  • Kidzania Children’s Republic

    Opening its sixteenth branch worldwide in Istanbul, KidZania gives children aged 4 to 14 the opportunity to experience the occupation of their choice by playing at many different locations from hospital and fire department to bank and pizzeria. There are more than 90 different occupational units at the giant entertainment center which was built on a 10,000 square-meter indoor area. “Zupervisors” selected from among college students are on hand to support the children. The children seek the answer to the question, “What are you going to be when you grow up?”, by learning occupations through entertainment at KidZania.

  • Equestrian Enthusiasts Meet In Aachen

    The world’s leading equestrian event, CHIO Aachen is taking place this year July 11 to 20. The event, with top-level Turkish Airlines sponsorship, is playing host to upwards of 360,000 spectators. The top competitors in equestrianism will be competing for ten straight days in categories such as vaulting, jumping, dressage, dressage eventing and dressage for four-in-hand drivers.
    CHIO Aachen is not just a sports event but a folk festival at the same time. Spectators come from all over to follow the competition on the one hand while strolling around the town of Soers on the other, enjoying good food and drink and communing with nature. The festival also includes a number of musical events like Horse & Symphony with the Aachen Symphony Orchestra.
    Some 800 reporters from 30 countries will be covering CHIO Aachen, Germany’s highest- paying event with prize money totaling 2.76 million Euros, which will also be broadcast live in 140 countries. Aachen, which has traditionally hosted equestrian competitions since 1898, also keeps up with the latest developments in technology. Thanks to the event’s emphasis on digital infrastructure, the races are safer, more transparent and more exciting to watch.
    Michael Mronz, General Manager of the Aachener Reitturnier GmbH, and Temel Kotil, Ph.D., President&CEO of Turkish Airlines, a top-level sponsor of the event, both expressed their delight in this collaboration between two long-standing institutions.

    For information: chioaachen.com

  • Rock Legends In Istanbul

    METALLICA BY REQUEST
    Coming to Istanbul for the fifth time, the legendary Bounty Hunters have created a concept different from that of their usual concerts in an interactive project they call “Metallica by Request”. The band, which at this concert will play songs requested by audience members when they purchase their tickets over the internet, is taking the stage at Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ) Stadium on July 13.

    NEIL YOUNG - CRAZY HORSE
    Eagerly awaited by Istanbul music buffs for years, rock legend Neil Young is finally coming to the city with his Crazy Horse band. Young, who has inspired many other musicians with his inimitable style, is performing at Küçükçiftlik Park on July 15, with organization by İKSV.

    DREAM THEATER
    One of the pioneer bands of progressive metal, Dream Theater is meeting fans in Istanbul for the fourth time on their Along for the Ride tour. Dream Theater, whose 30-year career has been crowned with multiple awards, will be regaling fans with their most popular songs from past to present.

  • For The Love Of Shopping!

    The Istanbul Shopping Fest continues to add spark to Istanbul by bringing shopping and entertainment together in the city. A festival jam-packed with concerts and entertainment as well as promotional campaigns and discounts awaits you June 7 to 29. The Istanbul Shopping Fest kicks off on the night of June 6 with a giant event to be staged in Ortaköy. Istanbul’s participating giant shopping malls and shopping streets will contribute to the festival excitement with entertainment and other surprises.

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Gastro

  • When Ears Of Grain Take Wing

    Wheat, whose homeland is the fertile soil of Anatolia, is one of the world’s most important foodstuffs. Nourishing, versatile and easy to store, wheat quickly became a staple all over the world.
    Central Asia and Anatolia have devoted their lives to the culture of wheat for millennia. And the Turks, who step by step achieved expertise in the use of wheat and its products, developed some impressive methods and techniques for rolling out dough in particular.
    The making of palace “serpme” beurek, so-called because it is tossed and spun in the air, is a spectacular skill demonstration one never tires of watching. The transformation of the ear of wheat into flour, the flour into dough and the dough into a paper-thin sheet lighter and more transparent than silk is a veritable culinary phenomenon.
    Techniques for rolling very thin dough arose mainly in eastern cultures. Such techniques are not employed in western cuisines today, but the Ottomans, through their relations in the Balkans, were inspired by the strudel of the Austrians. The equivalent of strudel in Turkey is “çarşaf” (sheet) beurek, which is rolled and stretched over a sheet of cloth, and palace “serpme” beurek is a form of çarşaf beurek made by tossing the dough without using a sheet.
    Consumed in copious quantities at “Sahur” tables in Thrace and the Balkans during the month of Ramadan, these Turkish beureks are being kept alive today in Istanbul’s beurek parlors.

  • Istanbul’s Summer Gardens

    The Turkish poet most sensitive to summer was, I believe, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, who begins his poem “The Whole Summer” by saying, “How delightfully it passed, the whole summer/Nights in the small garden… /You on an impulse/As shy and white as lilies...”
    Not only did every house, mansion and seaside villa in Istanbul have its garden, the sultans, the palaces, the pavilions and waterfront palaces all had big gardens as well, where fruit and vegetables were grown to supply their needs. The Chief Palace Gardener Corps was responsible for these gardens, known as the Privy Gardens. But the biggest garden of all was that in today’s district of Bostancı. Here, the unsalaried members of the corps raised the fruits and vegetables needed by the Imperial Palace Kitchens and sold the surplus to make a living. There were pools, ivied bowers, gazebos, fountains and water jets in the gardens, among which the tulip gardens, rose gardens and green meadows were the most beautiful. Architect Sedad Hakkı Eldem, who says that Istanbul’s gardens were still in place until the 1940’s, has described the garden architecture of the Ottoman capital to us as a visual feast.
    Istanbulites referred to the approach of the hot weather as eggplant season. See how it is described in Ahmet Rasim’s City Letters: “Turning more and more purple, the eggplants took on their velvet hue. Confident in his cry, with his pannier on his back, [the eggplant vendor] hawks his ‘fat eggplants’ in the street.  In truth, the eggplant is a beautiful vegetable; it regales guests. It’s a little hard to digest, but it’s filling and you never tire of it. It goes with everything. It can be stewed, stuffed and grilled on a skewer. It can be pounded to a paste. It appears as ‘Imam bayıldı’ but it is formidable fried. And how easy to prepare. Just a little brushwood, sawdust or wood chips, a hundred drams of oil from the grocer, a bowl of yoghurt from the milkman and you’re all set! The preparations commence immediately. The preferred places for summer picnics were those ‘with a breeze’. Among them Göksu (the Sweet Waters of Asia) with its prevailing northerly wind was the favorite. Eating corn and eggplant was an important custom at Göksu, whose waters were Ab-ı Hayat, “the water of life”. Corn would be boiled in big cauldrons and sold, especially to children. With its light dishes, summer used to be especially lovely…”

    BRAISED SUMMER VEGETABLES IN CASSEROLE
    INGREDIENTS
    10 g olive oil
    2 medium onions
    2 cloves garlic
    2 yellow peppers
    2 red peppers
    2 zucchinis
    2 eggplants
    2 tomatoes
    5 g fresh oregano
    5 g fresh rosemary
    A pinch of salt
    A pinch of black pepper

    PREPARATION
    Peel the onion and garlic, chop finely and saute over low heat for 20 minutes. Then spread these ingredients in the casserole. Cut all vegetables into flat rounds and arrange in the casserole on top of the onion and garlic mixture. Add the fresh oregano and rosemary and bake in a pre-heated 185° C. oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

    KEBAB OVER TOMATO-PEPPER SAUCE
    INGREDIENTS
    20 g ground veal
    10 g ground lamb
    5 g tail fat
    20 g tomatoes
    3 long, thin hot green peppers
    1 clove garlic

    PREPARATION
    Knead the ground veal and lamb together with the tail fat and season with salt and pepper to make a kebab. Roast the tomatoes and peppers whole either on a grill or in a skillet, then peel and chop finely. Melt some butter in a skillet and sauté the finely chopped garlic, then add the tomatoes and peppers. The kebab may be either grilled or cooked in the oven. Spread the sauce on a platter, arrange the meat on top, and drizzle with a spoonful of melted butter.

    MILK PUDDING WITH STRAWBERRY SAUCE
    INGREDIENTS
    3 cups milk
    1 1/2 tbsp rice flour
    4 tbsp granulated sugar
    1 packet of vanilla

    FOR THE STRAWBERRY SAUCE:
    1 1/2 fresh strawberries
    2 tbsp granulated sugar

    PREPARATION
    Cook the milk, sugar and rice flour together to make the pudding. When it is cooked, turn off the heat, add the vanilla and pour into individual bowls. Let cool for half an hour. Place the strawberries in a deep pot, add the sugar, then mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour over the cooling pudding and chill in the refrigerator. Serve cold. 

  • Flavors Of İzmir

    Izmir at the far edge of west central Anatolia is uniquely placed geographically, linking both the western Mediterranean and the northern Aegean to the Anatolian trade routes. Thanks to these advantages, the city has been a vital port and commercial capital for millennia and has never ceased to be a major center of attraction for the peoples of the Mediterranean. Its temperate climate has also ensured that it produced food on its on soil. At the same time, the city’s gastronomic culture has also been enriched by both the sea and the countryside. But the main factor that makes Izmir so original and colorful gastronomically speaking is migration.  Different ingredients and ways of cooking have endowed Izmir cuisine with a rich variety. The predominance of olives and olive oil, for example, is palpable. Finds uncovered in excavations carried out at Clazomenae in today’s Izmir province, one of the twelve cities of Ionia mentioned by Herodotus, show for how long the processing of, and trade in, this magnificent foodstuff has been practiced in the region. Boasting dishes made with hundreds of different fresh herbs as well as influences both from the Anatolian hinterland and from the Balkans and the Mediterranean through migration, Izmir cuisine is a school unto itself.

    ÇALKAMA
    INGREDIENTS
    3 zucchini
    6 potatoes
    1 bulb of garlic
    2 tbsp fresh rosemary
    2 tbsp fresh oregano
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp black pepper
    1/4 cup olive oil

    INGREDIENTS FOR THE ÇALKAMA SAUCE
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    1 tsp red pepper flakes
    A pinch of salt
    1/3 cup flour
    1/4 cup olive oil

    PREPARATION
    Wash and peel the zucchini and potatoes and cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Slice both the zucchini and potatoes lengthwise into 1-2 mm wide strips and arrange in a baking dish in layers starting with the zucchini. Arrange the garlic cloves among them, sprinkle with the salt, pepper, rosemary and oregano, and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for about 40 minutes in a pre-heated 200° C. oven. Mix the ingredients for the çalkama sauce in another bowl, pour over the baked zucchini and potatoes and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve hot.

    LAMB AND ARTICHOKE STEW WITH EGG-LEMON SAUCE
    INGREDIENTS
    200 g lamb
    100 g fresh artichokes
    2 medium onions
    4 cloves garlic
    20 g butter
    10 g olive oil

    PREPARATION
    20 g yoghurt
    5 g flour
    Juice of half a lemon
    1 egg
    A pinch of salt
    A pinch of black pepper

    PREPARATION
    Melt the butter with the olive oil in a deep pot. Add the onions, garlic and diced lamb. When the meat is tender, add the diced artichokes. Mix the ingredients for the egg-lemon sauce together in another pot and pour over the meat. Garnish with flat leaf parsley before serving.

    CHEESE-STUFFED SQUASH BLOSSOMS
    INGREDIENTS
    4 squash blossoms
    30 g string cheese
    10 g fresh basil
    100 g oil for frying
    10 g flour
    10 g cornstarch

    PREPARATION
    Clean the squash blossoms. Mix the finely chopped fresh basil with the string cheese in a bowl, shape into balls and fill the squash blossoms. In another bowl, mix the flour and cornstarch with a little water to make a batter. Heat the oil in a pot. When it is red hot, dip the stuffed squash blossoms first in in the batter, then fry quickly in the hot oil. Drain well and serve.

    WHITE BEANS WITH BABY’S TEARS
    INGREDIENTS
    250 g dry white beans
    2 medium onions
    3 cloves garlic
    4 long, thin hot green peppers
    2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
    2 g baby’s tears, aka hairgrass (Helxine soleirolii)
    10 g butter
    A pinch of salt
    A pinch of black pepper

    PREPARATION
    Soak the beans overnight and boil the next day. Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the onions and garlic. When the onions begin to color, add the peppers. When the peppers are tender, add the boiled beans, baby’s tears and diced tomatoes and cook over high heat until boiling. Lower the heat and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, then serve.

  • A Mediterranean Plant Capers

    From time immemorial, people have made culinary use of the herbs and spices that grow in their environment, and the capers that grow in Turkey are no exception. The Caparis bush, which sends roots down as far as 12 meters especially in poor, dry soil with high salt or limestone content, are used not only in food and medicine but also in the paint industry. Before being consumed, capers must first be pickled in brine. The name “caper”, for this small berry that was used to enhance the taste of food in regions without mustard or spices, is derived from the Aramaic word, “qapar”. Known by a number of different names around Turkey, capers today have settled into the language as “capari” under the influence of their use in western cooking. Nevertheless, in Ottoman cuisine, capers are known to have been pickled in vinegar and mandrake root as far back as the 14th century. Based on Ottoman palace kitchen records, capers and pickled caper blossoms were procured from the town of Osmancık in Çorum province. The sources mention a dish called caper soup but little is known as yet about how it was made. Considered by the experts to have therapeutic value, capers are used in local dishes all along the shores of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey is also a leading producer of capers.

Music

  • Sultans Who Composed Waltzes

    When Sultan Abdülaziz arrived in London in 1867 as the guest of Queen Victoria he was greeted by the Queen’s military bands playing La Gondole Barcarolle, one of His Imperial Majesty’s own compositions. The European press at the time was rather surprised that the Ottoman Sultan had composed such a lyrical gondolier song and that his music, along with one of his other compositions, Invitation à la Valse, was published in piano score in Italy. 

  • Europe, Keeping Its Traditions Alive

    The festival, where numerous folklore groups from Croatia and other European countries are represented, is taking place in the capital Zagreb, July 16 to 20. In its 49th edition, the festival this year is dedicated to the people and traditions of the Medimurje region in northern Croatia, a tiny area that is home to several forms of traditional culture including folk music and dancing. Besides dance and musical performances, workshops, exhibitions and a fair selling traditional handicrafts are all part of the festival. Visit the website at www.msf.hr for information about the festival program.

  • Festival Season Is Upon Us

    PITCHFORK
    One of America’s most prestigious festivals, Pitchfork is taking place on July 18, 19 and 20. The festival, organized by music news website Pitchfork Media, is hosting its visitors at Union Park in Chicago. Beck, Grimes and Tune-Yards are among this year’s headline bands.

    ROSKILDE
    Eagerly anticipated by Scandinavia’s young people, the Roskilde Festival is Northern Europe’s biggest. The festival, which has been taking place since 1971, kicked off this year on June 29 and ends on July 6. The legendary British rock band, The Rolling Stones, is among those taking the stage at this festival in Copenhagen’s neighboring city of Roskilde.

    EXIT
    A horde of music buffs from Turkey descend every year on the Exit festival, held in the Serbian city of Novy Sad. Queens of the Stone Age are this year’s main band at the festival, July 10 to 13.

  • Rock Legends In Istanbul

    METALLICA BY REQUEST
    Coming to Istanbul for the fifth time, the legendary Bounty Hunters have created a concept different from that of their usual concerts in an interactive project they call “Metallica by Request”. The band, which at this concert will play songs requested by audience members when they purchase their tickets over the internet, is taking the stage at Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ) Stadium on July 13.

    NEIL YOUNG - CRAZY HORSE
    Eagerly awaited by Istanbul music buffs for years, rock legend Neil Young is finally coming to the city with his Crazy Horse band. Young, who has inspired many other musicians with his inimitable style, is performing at Küçükçiftlik Park on July 15, with organization by İKSV.

    DREAM THEATER
    One of the pioneer bands of progressive metal, Dream Theater is meeting fans in Istanbul for the fourth time on their Along for the Ride tour. Dream Theater, whose 30-year career has been crowned with multiple awards, will be regaling fans with their most popular songs from past to present.

Tour

  • Istanbul With Kids In Ramadan

    Ramadan has always been one of the year’s most enjoyable times for children. These days, when efforts are under way to revive the open air shows, shadow puppet plays and traditional entertainments of Ramadans of old, families can spend a delightful month with their kids. Come. Set aside more time for your kids this Ramadan, which is also a month of unity and togetherness, and take part with them in activities that will transport you back to your own childhood.

  • Kahramanmaraş Afşin Seven Sleepers Mosque Complex

    But soldiers erect a wall at the mouth of the cave to trap them inside, and the seven youths end up sleeping here for centuries. Thinking they have slept just one night, they are unaware when they wake up that a very long time has passed. Only when one of the youths leaves the cave to go in search of food, does he realize that everything has changed.
    Legends are rife regarding the location of the cave of the seven sleepers, a story common to both Christian and Islamic belief. Scores of caves in Europe, Asia and Africa are known as Ashab al-Kahf (Companions of the Cave), four of them in Turkey in the towns of Selçuk, Tarsus and Afşin. Although each one of these towns claims the cave, the actual finds point to Afşin, aka Efsus.

  • Münster / Osnabrück

    CUISINE
    If you're in Münster on a Wednesday or Saturday, you could also go to the farmer's market at the Domplatz and discover some fresh local bread, cheese and sweets.

    SHOPPING
    Shop and bask in the historic ambience on the Prinzipalmarkt, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, jam-packed with authentic old buildings.

    CLIMATE
    Winters mild with no snowfall, summers warm.

     

  • Vibrant Latin City

    - As well as discovering how nature works at Museo Participativo de Ciencias, an interactive science museum based on the slogan, Don’t Touch, your kids will also enjoy the puppet museum.

    - Go to a match at the Boca Juniors Stadium in football nation Argentina and give yourself and your children an unforgettable experience. There’s even a museum beneath the stadium where you can learn all about the history of the game and see some of its most spectacular goals.

    - Head for Parque 3 de Febrero to hike, picnic, rent a bike or play sports with your kids. Closed to traffic on weekends, the park is also home to Planetario Galileo Galilei, where you can watch astronomy shows.