Istanbul Travel Guides

January

New Years Day: is a national holiday throughout the city, with most businesses and shops being closed. It is a day for families to spend time together.

The Feast of the Sacrifice (Kurban Bayram): is a religious holiday and one of the two Eid festivals that Muslims throughout the world celebrate. It is in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son for Allah. It also marks the end of the pilgrimage for the millions who make the trip to Mecca each year.

April

Istanbul International Film Festival: celebrates the art of filmmaking. International actors and film-makers from across the world gather for this world famous annual festival and many films covering every gender are shown throughout the city.

May

International Theatre Festival: offers performances of classical and experimental theatre, musical and dance theatre and theatrical concerts. Two lifetime achievement awards are presented at this festival, one international and one national. Each year, the festival sees audiences in excess of 20,000 people.

Fujifilm World Music Days: is one of the most important music festivals held in Istanbul. It sees a number of artists performing to very excited crowds at different venues across the city.

Conquest Week and Ataturk’s Commemoration Day: this week marks the run up to Ataturk’s Commemoration Day and sees many celebrations throughout the city. Commemoration Day itself is a national holiday across the city.

June

International Istanbul Music Festival: is a cultural event held every year in June and July. It offers performances of international classical music, ballet and opera and also performances of traditional local music. Musicians from all around the world arrive to perform for audiences. The festival is organised by the Istanbul Foundation of Arts and Culture, and was first held in 1973.

International Jazz Festival: is held in various locations around the city and offers a wide selection of performances by top jazz musicians from across the globe. The festival was first held in 1986 and is organised by the Istanbul Foundation of Arts and Culture.

July

Rumelihisari Concerts: open-air concerts are held at the Rumelihisari fortress throughout the summer, attracting audiences of thousands.

August

Victory Day (Zafer Bayram): another national holiday in the city. It recognises a battle that began in August 1922 against the Greeks, who tried to invade Turkey. The battle lasted four days and the Greeks were defeated.

October

Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayram): a national holiday celebrating the announcement by Ataturk of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

Ramadan: is the name of the 10th month in the Islamic calendar. The most prominent event in this month is the fasting, but Muslims are also expected to refrain from violence, anger, greed, lust, envy and gossip, allowing people to get along better. The end of the month is marked with a three-day festival and national holiday.