Istanbul International Music Festival
Istanbul has always been a cultural melting pot and is traditionally known as the gateway to Asia, where East meets West. Throughout June the city truly lives up to this reputation by playing host to one of the major events in the cultural calendar, the International Istanbul Music Festival. The festival is a summer extravaganza that straddles every genre from opera and ballet to classical and traditional Turkish music.
Ever since the festival was created in 1973 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, the event has aimed to provide a platform for the finest examples of creativity in all of the art forms from Turkey and abroad. Since then, the event has spawned separate film, jazz, contemporary art and theatre festivals that also occur in the city around this time.
Over the years the festival has played host to internationally renowned names such as the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mariinsky Theatre. Concerts take place at a number of historic locations across the city, such as the beautiful 1920′s Sureyya Opera House and the converted Eastern Orthodox Church of Hagia Irene. A major part of the festival is dedicated to dance, and you can expect to see the Bolshoi Ballet on one evening, followed by a concert by Turkish whirling dervishes the next. If you’re looking for something more thought provoking then there are a range of talks and seminars at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum and the Halic Convention Centre.
While many British tourists may not be familiar with the city, Istanbul’s remarkable cultural heritage ensures that it ranks alongside Paris and Rome as a city that every tourist or traveller must visit at least once in their life. Under its previous name of Constantinople, it was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, and during the Middle Ages it could lay claim to being the largest and wealthiest city in the western world. Its unique character is a combination of these years of Roman Christian and Muslim Ottoman influence and the International Music Festival is a modern celebration of these diverse cultural elements. Istanbul was named the joint European capital of culture for 2010 and the Music Festival is a perfect chance to experience this vibrant, cosmopolitan city for yourself.
Flythomascook organise flights to Turkey from a number of UK destinations.