Europe

Istanbul’s Mediterranean Sister Naples

Article: Aslı Ulusoy-Pannuti Photo: Haluk Çobanoğlu Date: Monday, 31 March 2014

CITY ON THE SEA... JUST LIKE ISTANBUL. JUMBLE OF SOUNDS AND SMELLS… JUST LIKE ISTANBUL HEART-STEALER… JUST LIKE ISTANBUL. THAT’S NAPLES!

“Europe’s most beautiful city”, in the words of the great Cervantes, it was a fount of inspiration for Goethe as well: “One may write or paint as much as one likes, but this place, the shore, the gulf, Vesuvius, the citadels, the villas, everything, defies description.” It’s not for nothing that the capital of Italy’s Campania region is also a Unesco World Heritage. They call it the “cradle of civilization” and so it is. Neapolis, “the new city”, founded by a Greek colony in the 6th-7th century B.C.  Where the nymph Parthenope, tossed in the water by Ulysses, landed and came to!
Toledo, where military garrisons were established to quell possible uprisings in the time of Spanish rule, is the city’s liveliest, and perhaps most “Neapolitan”, quarter today. Laundry draped on lines stretched over narrow streets, pepper plants dangling from window sills, women shouting out to their neighbors, street vendors hawking their wares, and the aroma of food cooking wafting over it all - how like Istanbul! No wonder my central Italian husband - who doesn’t understand a word of the Neapolitan dialect - describes his feelings in this noisy city as “alienation”, echoing my own sentiments when I roam the streets of my beloved Balat in Istanbul. A Neapolitan woman doctor’s son who has traveled in Turkey hit the nail on the head when he exclaimed upon setting eyes on Istanbul, “Wow! This is Naples!”.
But there are also things like no other, the things that make Napoli Napoli. For one thing, the Neapolitan songs, famous all over the world, a wistful blend of sadness and longing. Ruberto Murolo, “the singers’ singer”, and Sergio Brunin are the kings of this business. And the theater, the cinema, and the actors the city has given the world, like the unforgettable comedian Toto, or the great actor Eduardo de Filippo and his family. Not to mention the dark-eyed beauty Sophia Loren, who grew up near Naples. And then the cuisine, starting with pasta and pizza…
Pizza cannot be said to have originated in Naples, but the city is the home of the world-famous Margherita. A pizzaiolo by the name of Raffaele Esposito made a pizza of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves - to represent the red, white and green of the Italian flag - for Queen Margherita in 1889. The Queen loved it and the name stuck. Once regarded as “poor people’s food”, pizza is made best here. According to my Neapolitan teacher Natale, “People in northern Italy people eat pizza with a knife and fork, but real pizza is folded in four and eaten with the hands, just like in Naples!”
One of the first things that springs to mind at the mention of Naples is the magnificent Galleria Umberto I shopping mall with its soaring glass dome. And the opulent Salone Margherita di Napoli with its chic shops, historic cafes and cabaret, easily comparable to Paris’s “Moulin Rouge”. This dance cafe, whose opening was attended by princesses, countesses, and prominent politicians and journalists of the day, is a symbol of Italy’s early 20th century cultural flowering. The colorful Pignasecca market place with its rows of artisans’ workshops is yet another side of the city. For Naples is city of a thousand faces. People, streets and utter pandemonium on the one hand, capital of historic kingdoms on the other. The Royal Palace of 1836 stands on Piazza Plebiscito in the heart of the city. Another palace, Capodimonte, this one from 1738, is home to southern Italy’s finest art museum, boasting works by painters from Raphael and Goya to Botticelli and Bruegel.
And then Castel dell’Ovo, Naples’ oldest castle. This so-called “Castle of the Egg” stands guard over the nearby fishing village of Marinaro. Why “egg”, you ask? Here’s the story: According to legend, an egg hidden somewhere - nobody knows where - inside the castle is what keeps it standing. If one day the egg breaks, the castle will come crashing down, and the city of Naples will be destroyed in the natural disasters that ensue. There is also a seaside castle, Maschio Angioino, aka Castel Nuovo, harking back to the rule here of France’s Anjou dynasty. A medieval classic, it forms the backdrop today for newlywed photos at its location on the town square. Housing the Local Historical Society and the city museum, it is the protector of Naples. In short, there’s a lot to see and talk about in this city, so how about a tour plan?

NAPLES GUIDE
POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM
Frozen in time in a disaster that occurred some 2,000 years ago. See Pompeii, buried under the lava and ash spewed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., and the homes, theaters, bath, main square and administrative buildings at Herculaneum, which was engulfed by a river of lava in the same disaster. There are trains to both from Naples.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
Considered one of the world’s best. On exhibition are pristine murals, mosaics and an extraordinary collection of sculptures, transported here from Pompeii and Herculaneum when the museum opened at the end of the 16th century.

NOT WITHOUT SEEING CAPRI!
If you go to Naples, don’t come back without seeing the rich and famous Isle of Capri right off the coast. Just fifty minutes away by seabus, an hour by ferry, Capri becomes the “isle of flowers” in springtime.

EVENTS CALENDAR
May 1 to 30: Monuments Month. All museums are open every day, and admission is free of charge for one week of the month.
May 1 to 4: Naples Comicon, International Comics Festival. For information: www.comicon.it
May 4 to 7: Capri Art Film Festival. A festival held on the Isle of Capri with world-famous Hollywood stars in attendance. For information: www.caprihollywood.com

GETTING THERE
Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Naples-Istanbul flights every day of the week. Departure times are at 11:45 a.m. from Istanbul and 1:55 p.m. from Naples. For information: www.turkishairlines.com

City Of Castles

Date: Sunday, 30 March 2014

WITH ITS HISTORIC CITY ICONS, ITS EXTENSIVE GREEN AREAS AND ITS MYRIAD CULTURAL EVENTS, EDINBURGH IS A GREAT CITY FOR FAMILIES WITH KIDS.

PORTOBELLO BEACH
If you go to Edinburgh in summer, be sure to spend a day at Portobello Beach with the family. While you savor the sunset from a beach cafe, your kids can eat ice cream and explore the old-fashioned amusement arcades.

PRINCES STREET GARDENS
You can pick up your edibles in one of the local markets when you go to this park, an ideal spot for a picnic in spring and summer. Lounge on the benches and bask in the view of Edinburgh Castle while your kids play in the park.

MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD
With its collection of children’s toys and playthings, this is the world’s first museum devoted to “childhood history”. Your kids will get an idea about the past when you tour this venue, and you can revisit your own childhood.

Packing Istanbul’s Movie Theaters

Date: Sunday, 30 March 2014

THE COUNTDOWN HAS BEGUN TO THE 33RD ANNUAL ISTANBUL FILM FESTIVAL, MOUNTED BY THE ISTANBUL FOUNDATION OF CULTURE AND ARTS (İKSV).

No doubt about it, the Istanbul Film Festival is the first event that springs to film buffs’ minds come April. As in previous years, the program for this major film event that reaches audiences of around 150,000 in Turkey every year is again jam-packed. Featuring workshops, film classes and interviews with master filmmakers, not to mention the upwards of 200 films in more than 20 different categories, the Istanbul Film Festival will take place at six theaters around the city from April 5 to 20.

Basel In 48 Hours

Article: Melih Uslu Date: Friday, 28 February 2014

SWITZERLAND’S CITY OF CULTURE, BASEL DAZZLES WITH ITS MUSEUMS, ART GALLERIES AND ARCHITECTURAL WONDERS. WE HAVE PUT TOGETHER A 2-DAY TOUR PROGRAM FOR YOU IN THIS CITY THAT IS AT ITS MOST COLORFUL DURING THE FASNACHT FESTIVAL, MARCH 10 TO 13.

DAY ONE
9:00 A.M
The popular quarter of Grossbasel in the Old Town is an ideal spot for starting a tour. Here stands the 11th century Basel Münster (cathedral), which also boasts the tombstone of the renowned renaissance scholar Erasmus, who died in Basel in 1536. The medieval monarch Lälle Keenig meanwhile is depicted sticking out his tongue in a statue that is another Grossbasel trademark. From here you can also explore the historic quarter of Kleinbasel, which stretches along the banks of the river.

12:00 NOON
We are standing on the Mittlere Rheinbrücke (Middle Rhine Bridge) in port city Basel, which connects Switzerland to the sea via the River Rhine. It’s fun to watch, even photograph, the reflection of the medieval buildings in the river here. Strolling along the riverbank, we come to the Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts), founded in the 17th century, where a rich collection of everything from Picasso paintings to Jean Tinguely designs is on display.

9:00 P.M
We have included Basel, which is home to Switzerland’s oldest university, in our night tour, because this place is as beautiful by night as it is by day. Be sure to witness the stunning play of light on the elegant fountain and water jets. The Fasnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) is another of the city’s must-see fountains. Completed in 1977, this fountain is decked with unusual

DAY TWO
4:00 A.M
During the Fasnacht Festival, which kicks off on March 10 this year, all the city’s lights are extinguished towards four in the morning and people come outside carrying lanterns. You have to go to the Marktplatz to see the street shows and fantastic costumes. The Rathaus (Town Hall) on the square known for its open-air markets is itself a 16th century Renaissance palace. One of the city’s main shopping avenues also runs into this square.

9:00 A.M
This city, which offers countless alternatives from art galleries to theaters and cinemas, is justly proud of its museums as well. Starting with the Tinguely Museum, literally dozens of them await you with everything from dolls and antiques to history and culture. What’s more, you can visit Basel’s museums very economically by purchasing a Museum Pass Card.

12:00 NOON
And now for Basel’s quintessential art complex: Schaulager. A staggering diversity of shows is mounted throughout the year in this extraordinary building in minimalist Stone Age style, designed by the architecture duo Herzog & de Meuron..

6:00 P.M
Next is the Beyeler Foundation, where the Beyeler family’s personal art collection has been exhibited since 1997. An extensive collection from Van Gogh to Miro is on display in the galleries of this museum, which also boasts restaurants and shopping areas as well as works by Rodin in the sculpture section.

9:00 P.M
Choose a restaurant on the banks of the Rhine for dinner. In addition to international cuisine, you can also find local dishes in Basel. Fondue served with tiny new potatoes, grilled game meats and wild berry tortes are just some of the delicacies that await you here.

GETTING THERE
Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Basel-Istanbul flights daily. Departures are at 11:55 a.m. from Istanbul and at 3:05 p.m. from Basel. For information:turkishairlines.com

Rotterdam

Date: Thursday, 27 February 2014

PLACES TO SEE
01_  Visit the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s rich art collections.
02_  Be sure to see the Cube Houses with their interesting architecture in the heart of Rotterdam.

SHOPPING
Shop at Lijnbaan, one of Europe’s first shopping centers. For bargains, wait until evening and catch the discounts.

CUISINE
Sample the seafood in this port city but try the Indonesian and Far Eastern tastes too.

CLIMATE
Rotterdam has a temperate climate with warm summers and damp, cold winters. The average year-round temperature is 17 degrees Celsius.

LANGUAGE
Dutch, a dialect of Flemish, is spoken in Holland.

LOCAL CULTURE
The city’s countless art and music festivals are proof positive that Rotterdam is one of Europe’s entertainment capitals.

THINGS TO DO
01_  View the city from Euromast Tower, the city’s highest observation point.
02_  Photograph the gaily colored tulips in the Haarlem tulip gardens.

TIME ZONE
GMT + 1

WHERE IN THE WORLD
In southwest Holland, in Europe.

FLIGHTS
Turkish Airlines has Istanbul-Rotterdam-Istanbul fights on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. For information: www.turkishairlines.com

To Another 600 Years!

Date: Thursday, 27 February 2014

A PORTION OF THE OTTOMAN TURKISH ARCHIVES ARE ON EXHIBIT IN WARSAW.

The Yunus Emre Institute Warsaw is mounting an important event in collaboration with the Polish Central Archives of Historical Records (AGAD) on the 600th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Poland. Documents from the Ottoman period in the Polish State Archives have been catalogued and are being presented in the Venetian style. The 1,471 Ottoman documents from the years 1455 to 1792 also have the distinction of being the largest collection of documents in European archives. Among the documents, which are being made available for researchers, are firmans and treaties as well as letters written by sultans and their wives, including correspondence between Hürrem Sultan (Roxelana) and her daughter Mihrimah, as well as letters of viziers, governors, sanjak governors, ambassadors and other envoys. Twenty-five of the Ottoman Turkish documents in the Warsaw Central Archives can be seen at the AGAD building in Warsaw for a month starting from March 12.

Culture And Entertainment All In One

Date: Monday, 27 January 2014

CANAL CITY AMSTERDAM PROMISES FAR MORE THAN A BIKE RIDE TO FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN.

ARTIS ROYAL ZOO
Set smack dab in the center of Amsterdam, this is also Holland’s oldest zoo. Marvel at the tropical fish in the Aquarium, follow the movements of the countless birds in the Bird House, and travel through time in the Planetarium at this zoo where nature and the cultural heritage meet.

HORTUS BOTANICUS (BOTANICAL GARDEN)
With its lush greenhouses and exotic plants, Amsterdam’s botanical garden has been popular stop for families with children for years. One of the world’s oldest botanical gardens, it was opened in 1638 to supply medicinal plants to doctors and pharmacists.

TROPENMUSEUM JUNIOR
Focused on non-western cultures, Tropenmuseum was set up specially for children aged 6 to 13. The interactive exhibitions introduce children to new cultures and enable them to follow their curiosity and learn while having fun. The museum received the “Children’s Museum” award in 2012.

A Storybook City

Date: Monday, 27 January 2014

A STORYBOOK LAND WITH ITS ARCHITECTURE AND VIBRANT LIFESTYLE, LUXEMBOURG IS PART OF THE UNESCO WORLD CULTURAL HERITAGE.

See the fabric of history in the stunning architecture of the 16th century Ducal Palace and view the city from a different angle from Luxembourg Castle (the bock), a symbol of Europe’s past. Witness a whole different aspect of the city as you explore the Petrusse Casemates underground defense tunnels dating back to 1644.

Purchase a Luxembourg Card and easily tour museums like MUDAM, Europe’s leading museum of modern art, and the Museum of Natural History with its displays reenacting the development of life on earth and many other museums.

Don’t miss a classical music concert by the philharmonie orchestra.

Sample the city’s finest coffee and pastries at the local coffee shops during the day and cap off the evening with an Italian meal at the Michelin star restaurants overlooking the Alzette River.

All Cinéphiles To Berlin!

Date: Monday, 27 January 2014

HELD ANNUALLY SINCE 1951, THE BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, OR BERLINALE, IS OPENING ITS DOORS TO FILM BUFFS THIS YEAR FOR THE 64TH TIME.

One of Europe’s leading film festivals along with Cannes and Venice, the Berlinale goes a long way toward warming up the cold month of February with its spectacular program. Welcoming upwards of 300,000 viewers as well as close to 20,000 professionals from 124 countries and 3,700 journalists, the Berlinale continues to be one of the premier events of the European cultural world and the international film industry. Slated to take place this year between February 6 and 16, the festival brings audiences an unforgettable film experience in 15 different movie theaters in city-of-culture Berlin.

The Girl With A Pearl Earring Is In Bologna

Date: Monday, 27 January 2014

THE MYTH OF THE GOLDEN AGE EXHIBITION FEATURING “VERMEER’S GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING”, IS OPENING IN BOLOGNA ON FEBRUARY 8.

The count-down has already begun in Bologna, one of Europe’s most elegant medieval cities. The long-anticipated exhibition, The Myth of the Golden Age from Vermeer to Rembrandt, is finally opening on Saturday, February 8.  The hands-down highlight of the show, which runs through May 25, is The Girl with a Pearl Earring. After Bologna and the U.S., the exhibition, which brings together outstanding works by the 17th century Dutch Masters, is gearing up now to greet art lovers in Bologna. The venue for the show is the Palazzo Fava on Bologna’s famous Piazza Maggiore. Surrounded by Bologna’s quintessential “portici” arcades, the square is known for monuments like the Fountain of Neptune, the Palazzo Re Enzo and the Basilica of San Petronio. For information: www.bolognawelcome.com

Ukraine’s Capital Of Culture

Date: Wednesday, 01 January 2014

LISTED AS A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE, LVIV PROMISE VISITORS AN EXPERIENCE JAM-PACKED WITH HISTORY AND CULTURE.

-Rynok (Market) Square boasts 44 stunning buildings from the 16th to the 20th century as well as four fountains adorned with sculptures and the Town Hall with its observation tower. You'll encounter fascinating things everywhere you go on this square, also an ideal place to start your city tour.

-Lviv Theater of Opera and Ballet is named for Solomiya Krushelnytska, one of the 20th century's finest opera singers, who lived in Lviv. The theater, whose interior decor and splendor inspire awe, exhibits professionalism and harmony as well in the productions it stages.

-Lviv Handmade Chocolate Factory, where all the products are handcrafted, is one of the Ukraine's most famous. You can watch the chocolatiers at work and enjoy and coffee and sweets on the terrace at this factory in a large building at the city center.

The City That Exudes Happiness: Bologna

Article: Melih Uslu Photo: Erbil Balta Date: Wednesday, 01 January 2014

WITH ITS ELEGANT ARCHITECTURE, MOUTHWATERING CUISINE AND STRESS-FREE SHOPPING, BOLOGNA BRINGS A SMILE TO VISITORS’ FACES. AND NOW THE CITY IS GEARING UP TO HOST A SPECTACULAR EXHIBITION THAT INCLUDES THE GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING.

Cultural, gastronomic and education capital of Italy’s Emiglia Romagna region, Bologna is all keyed up these days. The countdown has already begun to the painting exhibition, “The Myth of the Golden Age from Vermeer to Rembrandt”. Set to open at the Palazzo Fava on Saturday, February 8, it will run through May 25. In fact, there are many reasons to see Bologna, for this is one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities. Known as “La Rossa” for the red bricks and tiles used in the construction of its mostly 17th century buildings, the city is old but it’s spirit is new. The dynamic and cosmopolitan atmosphere of this city, which is home to close to 100 universities, is immediately palpable. Founded in the 11th century, the University of Bologna is the oldest in Europe. The names of just a few of its graduates suffice to indicate the magnitude of this city’s treasure trove of science and culture: Dante, Copernicus, Erasmus, Albrecht Dürer, Umberto Eco…

THE MAJESTY OF NEPTUNE
It’s almost impossible to get lost in Bologna. Just head for the Two (leaning) Towers, Asinella and Garisenda, which are visible from almost all over the city, and you’ll arrive at the city center. For a bird’s-eye view, you have another alternative: Torre Prendiparte. A little shorter than the Two, this 59-meter tower was built in the 12th century.
Piazza Maggiore is literally the heart of Bologna. Surrounded by buildings such as the City Hall, Enzo Palace, the Biblioteca Sala Borsa, and the Basilica of San Petronio, the square also boasts on one corner a Fountain of Neptune, one of the city’s icons. You can even tour almost the entire Old Town from the square without once exposing yourself to the elements. All thanks to the ornate colonnades known as Portici. These intriguing porticos, which extend for 42 kilometers lining almost every street and connecting all the historic squares, were built to protect the city’s people from the summer sun and winter rain.

Donatella Piatti’s Milan

Date: Tuesday, 31 December 2013

WRITER AND JOURNALIST DONATELLA PIATTI IS CURRENTLY WRITING HER SEVENTH BOOK. WE ASKED HER ABOUT MILAN, WHICH SHE CALLS HER REAL HOME.

Q:Do you go to Milan often?
A:I lived in Istanbul for 36 years. For the last three I’ve been in Verona. I go to Milan at least twice a month, because my house and part of my family are there.

Q:What does Milan mean to you?
A:In a nutshell, it means coming home. Like resting up after a long journey. Or maybe something like being spoiled like a child by my family...

Q:Milan in autumn. How is that?
A:Autumn is the best season in Milan if you ask me, because the fall colors and the things they make you feel really suit this beautiful city.

Q:What would you recommend to people traveling to Milan?
A:I’d recommend that they for sure take a bicycle tour around Sempione Park. People who go to Milan usually shop on Piazza Cairoli and neglect this beautiful park. The 15th century Sforzesco Chateau and its fascinating museums are also worth seeing. Plus, it would be a shame to miss Brera Art Gallery with its canvases by the famous Italian painters.

Special For Antique Buffs

Date: Tuesday, 31 December 2013

ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST PRESTIGIOUS ART FAIRS, THE BRUSSELS ANTIQUE AND ART FAIR CAN BE VISITED JANUARY 25 TO FEBRUARY 2.

This prestigious fair is hosting thousands of participants from numerous countries such as Canada, France, Germany, Britain and Holland, as well as host-country Belgium. Silver, jewelry sets, furniture, china, drawings, old graphic novels, sculptures, carpets and art works from the Middle Ages to the 21st century are just some of the pieces featured. Located at Thurn&Taxis, a magnificent example of Belgium architecture in the heart of Brussels, the fair is spread over a total area of 15,400 square meters. This fair, which welcomed 48,000 visitors in 2013, is expecting attendance to be even higher this year.

Prinz Eugen Str. 40: Turkey

Article: Gökçen Ata Date: Monday, 30 December 2013

ONE OF THE MOST PRESTİGİOUS EMBASSİES İN VİENNA, THE TURKİSH EMBASSY STANDS OUT FOR İTS HİSTORİC BUİLDİNG AND THE FURNİSHİNGS İNSİDE. THE EMBASSY, OFFİCİALLY OPENED İN 1798, WAS, ALONG WİTH LONDON, PARİS AND BERLİN, ONE OF THE FİRST PERMANENT EMBASSİES TO OPEN DURİNG THE OTTOMAN ERA.

The embassy is in the city’s elite fourth district. And Prinz Eugen Strasse where the building stands is famous for the Schwarzenberg Palace and the Belvedere Palace with its magnificent gardens.
The building that houses the Turkish Embassy was constructed in 1879 and purchased by the Ottoman government in 1916. The four-story structure is filled with rare antique furniture, frescoes, decorative objects, china, historic chandeliers, antique Turkish carpets, Ottoman firmans and canvases by Turkish painters from the Foreign Ministry collection. Portraits of the 44 ambassadors going back to the Ottoman period hang on the first floor walls.
The late-Baroque Rococo style decorations on the doors to the main hall and the goldleaf-on-wood motifs on the ceiling are stunning. The embassy’s rare “Boulle” furniture is decorated with copper on tortoiseshell or mother-of-pearl marquetry, a technique invented in the 17th century by André Charles Boulle, chief cabinet-maker of the Louvre Palace.
One of the most valuable pieces in the embassy building is a 200-year-old Uşak carpet, measuring 25.4 by 14.8 meters, whose special story bears witness to Austrian history. After the Second World War, the Founding Treaty of today’s Austrian State was signed in the Belvedere Palace in 1955. In a painting by Robert Fuchs depicting the signing ceremony, men of state, government ministers and ambassadors are shown seated around this carpet. You can see reproductions of this painting in many public buildings in Austria.

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