Istanbul’s cultural activities, both traditional and contemporary, is rich and varied, although not well
publicized. Corresponding the city’s increasing youth population, is the growing number of festivals,
galleries, new music venues, and film centers within the last decade.
Artists have begun to make international impact, introducing more their unique culture. There are now
a number of independent record companies in the city, releasing experimental works that combine
traditional artists with contemporary groups and new venues where this new music is showcased. In
particular, however, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Art, the Istanbul Kultur ve Sanat Vakfi
(IKSV), puts on an impressive series of international festivals. The French Culture Centre, Istiklal Caddesi
often has French film screenings, and dance performances. All these to highly promote, showcase and publicize Turkish culture.
The private sector has helped take the load off Istanbul’s government-supported venues, by opening
specialized arts events and private galleries, many of which can be seen on Istiklal Caddesi and the
Taksim area. Among the most adventurous is the Borusan Center for Culture and Art, 421 Istiklal
Caddesi which alternates ‘conceptual’ Turkish and international exhibitions, plus an enormous music
library and concert space. The Aksanat Cultural Centre, Istiklal Caddesi, near Taksim Square The annual
Contemporary Artist Istanbul Exhibition celebrates the work of young local artists, many of whom
progress to being internationally renowned.
Other prominent cultural activities include the Edirne Oil Wrestling Championships typically held in June,
the Mevlana Commemoration (Whirling Dervish) Festival in Konya which takes place in December and
the Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival.
Among the other annual cultural festivals of Turkey are the Traditional Mesir Festival in Manisa, the
International Music and Folklore Festival in Adana, the Cesme Music Festival in Cesme, the Ceramic
Festival in Kutahya, the Hittite Festival in Corum, the GAP Culture and Art Festival in Gaziantep and the
Kemer Carnival in Kemer.