Istanbul - Culture

Culture

Main article: Culture of Istanbul

Istanbul was historically known as a cultural hub, but its cultural scene stagnated after the Turkish Republic shifted its focus toward Ankara. The new national government established programs that served to orient Turks toward musical traditions, especially those originating in Europe, but musical institutions and visits by foreign classical artists were primarily centered in the new capital. Although much of Turkey's cultural scene had its roots in Istanbul, it was not until the 1980s and 1990s that Istanbul reemerged globally as a city whose cultural significance is not solely based on its past glory.

By the end of the 19th century, Istanbul had established itself as a regional artistic center, with Turkish, European, and Middle Eastern artists flocking to the city. Despite efforts to make Ankara Turkey's cultural heart, Istanbul had the country's primary institution of art until the 1970s. Furthermore, when additional universities and art journals were founded in Istanbul during the 1980s, artists formerly based in Ankara moved in. Beyoğlu has been transformed into the artistic center of the city, with young artists and older Turkish artists formerly residing abroad finding footing there.

Modern art museums, including İstanbul Modern, the Pera Museum, Sakıp Sabancı Museum and SantralIstanbul, opened in the 2000s to complement the exhibition spaces and auction houses that have already contributed to the cosmopolitan nature of the city. Still, these museums have yet to attain the popularity of older museums on the historic peninsula, including the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, which ushered in the era of modern museums in Turkey, and the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum.

The first film screening in Turkey was at Yıldız Palace in 1896, just a year after the technology publicly debuted in Paris. Movie theaters rapidly cropped up in Beyoğlu, with the greatest concentration of theaters being along the street now known as İstiklal Avenue. Istanbul also became the heart of Turkey's nascent film industry, although Turkish films were not consistently developed until the 1950s. Since then, Istanbul has been the most popular location to film Turkish dramas and comedies. While the Turkish film industry ramped up in the second half of the century, it was not until Uzak (2002) and My Father and My Son (2005), both filmed in Istanbul, that the nation's movies began to see substantial international success. Istanbul and its picturesque skyline have also served as a backdrop for a number of other Turkish and foreign films, including Topkapi (1964); Hamam (1997); Harem Suare (1999); Head-On (2004); Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul (2005); Mission Istaanbul (2008); Three Monkeys (2008); The International (2009); and three James Bond movies: From Russia with Love (1963), The World Is Not Enough (1999), and Skyfall (2012).

Coinciding with this cultural reemergence was the establishment of the Istanbul Festival, which began showcasing a variety of art from Turkey and around the world in 1973. From this flagship festival came the International Istanbul Film Festival and the Istanbul International Jazz Festival in the early 1980s. With its focus now solely on music and dance, the Istanbul Festival has been known as the Istanbul International Music Festival since 1994. The most prominent of the festivals that evolved from the original Istanbul Festival is the Istanbul Biennial, held every two years since 1987. While its early incarnations were aimed at showcasing Turkish visual art, it has since opened to international artists and risen in prestige to become among the elite biennales, alongside the Venice Biennale and the São Paulo Art Biennial.

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