After a pickup from your Istanbul hotel, meet your guide by the prestigious Galatasaray High School in the neighborhood of Galatasaray. Then, set off to discover the city’s modern Turkish art scene on your leisurely paced walking tour. Stroll down Istiklal Street, a pedestrianized avenue thronged with shisha cafes, Turkish tea houses and, most importantly, some of the city’s leading art institutions: Galeri Zilberman, SALT Galata, Borusan Contemporary and more.
Exhibitions at the popular galleries often change, so your guide will select the most interesting places to visit on the day. Learn of the evolution of Turkey’s art world from the 19th century to the present day, and hear of Abidin Dino, Ara Güler and other notable Turkish artists who have made names for themselves in recent years.
Having explored select Istiklal Street galleries, continue through the meandering streets of Beyoğlu to scout out artistic gems in the Tophane and Karaköy neighborhoods. Although away from the beaten tourist trail, Tophane is gaining attention with its pop art culture and quirky exhibitions that cover a range of media from video to print. Likewise, Karaköy is a boho paradise, and its contemporary galleries and vintage-inspired art shops are helping to stamp Istanbul firmly on the artistic map.
As with Istiklal Street, the 30 or so galleries in Tophane and Karaköy are constantly changing, so let your guide select a number of exciting places to visit on the day. Having seen some of the areas’ most interesting works, visit the Istanbul Modern Art Museum on the shores of the Bosphorus Strait.
Step inside to view the expansive selection of artwork with your guide. Focusing on the work of Turkish artists, the large museum is spread over two floors of a converted warehouse and boasts a range of temporary exhibitions as well as a cinema and arts library. Hear little-known facts about its standout features from your guide, and admire highlights such as the permanent art history exhibition. Your tour finishes inside the museum, and you can stay inside for longer, if you wish, to view the works at your own pace.