Sky Europe Magazine - My Istanbul

Words by Catherine Quinn

The city that famously straddles two continents is adored by visitors – but it’s the locals who enjoy it every day. We talk to three of them about the place they call home.

Nurdogan Senguler


“Istanbul is a really unique place, because on the one side you have Europe, and on the other Asia. Plus you have influences from Russia and the Middle East. A lot of different influences shape the city, making it very creative.”

With this in mind, Nurdogan’s artistic space aims to offer a supportive outlet for all forms of art native to Turkey and Istanbul. “About eleven years ago we decided we wanted to form something where all different types of people could find out about and enjoy Turkish arts,” explains Nurdogan.

In a slow but steady process, Les Arts Turcs’ tiny and well-concealed shop attracted increasing numbers of visitors from outside Istanbul, eager to find out about ‘real’ Turkish culture. “We have people who come here to find out about the whirling dervish, oil wrestling or Turkish art, which you don’t find in the touristy places in the city,” says Nurdogan. “People want to learn about Suficulture, too,” he says, “and Turkish music.”

So what are his favourite places to enjoy the local side of Istanbul life? “If you want to go out in Istanbul, it is an amazing city for nightlife. You have every kind of club, bar and restaurant. I like Galip Dede Caddesi (Istanbul’s central road in the Taksim area), which houses so many different bars.”

“My favourite area is the Sultanahmet,” he adds, referring to the scenic district that houses the city’s iconic mosques, as well as the Arts Turcs shop. “This is the old part of the city, and it’s beautiful.”

During his well-earned time off, Nurdogan escapes to nearby Princes’ Islands to soak up the local culture. “There are some five-star places there, but they don’t interest me,” he says. “I like to meet local people who have something to say.”

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