Tag Archives: İstanbul


Aug 08, 2013 By Tags:,

Amazing shots of Istanbul urban growth


Like many of our students, is based in Istanbul. As residents of Istanbul, sometimes we feel like the city is growing before our eyes. Below is a collection of amazing shots documenting Istanbul urban growth. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Istanbul Urban Growth: Population density in Istanbul – 1300, 1950 and 2008


(Tepav 2011)

The figure above, in which the black dots represent the urban population density, reveals that in the twelfth century, the population centered around Sultanahmet and that the density did not increase significantly for 650 years. By 2008 the city has grown monstrously. Istanbul is the fastest growing city among all OECD metropolises in the period after the 1990s.

Istanbul Urban Area: 1950 to 2010


(New Geography, 2012)

In the picture above, we can see the immense growth that has taken place in Istanbul over the last 60 years. The red line shows the urban population boundaries in 1950, centered around the golden horn and the lower Bosphorus. The green line shows the extent of Istanbul urban development by 2010. Below are some population statistics (notice the immense rate of growth post 1980):


(New Geography, 2012)



(New Geography, 2012)

Istanbul Urban Growth: Satellite Images from Above



(The Atlantic Cities, 2013)

NASA’s Landsat satellite system has been orbiting and taking pictures of the earth since 1972. To celebrate its 40th birthday, NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey have released a set of images showing how 11 world cities have changed over that time, click here to take a look at the complete set. In the Istanbul shots above, red is vegetation, gray is urban and water appears black. The density change in Istanbul is striking.


(the Atlantic, 2011)

Istanbul is one of the world’s great cities with a population of 15 million spread out over 700 square miles of land. The Turkish city has been growing and spreading rapidly over the past few decades. The city has tripled in area over the last 35 years. In this false color satellite image taken by the German space agency, the DLR, the yellow areas reflect human buildings.

Are you a resident of Istanbul? What do you think of Istanbul’s urban growth and projections for the future? Let us know!

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Jul 20, 2013 By Tags:

İngilizce Türkiye’de: Kydonia

Welcome to the fifth post in our İngilizce Türkiye’de series. Today we would like to highlight a newly opened Bosphorus balık lokantası,  located in Kuruçeşme, Kydonia.


In our İngilizce Türkiye’de series we highlight establishments across Turkey that offer great service and command of the English language. On a recent trip that made to Kydonia, we were thoroughly impressed with the views, the food and the service.

Kydonia is an Agean fish restaurant specializing in mezze dishes and cooking styles from the island of Crete. The restaurant originally opened in the port of Alacatı. The Istanbul location (which we visited) opened last November. The setting is truly spectacular with a commanding view of the Bosphorus including the Kuleli Military High School, the first military high school (lisesi) in Turkey, founded in 1845 by Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid I. Needless to say, the beautiful building makes a lovely backdrop at night when it’s lit up in multicolor LED effects. The defining feature of Kydonia is that the entire restaurant becomes an open air terrace in the warmer months, as the roof is completely retractable.


On our visit, the dishes were all extremely tasty and fresh, but the highlights were the cold mezes including grilled artichoke hearts, girit ezme, stuffed zuchini flowers and fried Greek cheese. The hot appetizers that followed were also very well prepared, including grilled octopus and fish kokorec (similar to the lamb version but prepared with a hard white fish instead). The wine list is impressive and the service is impeccable. Our server knew the English translation of every meze in the restaurant, and there were over 30 on display that evening! Kydonia is not a cheap night out, but it’s reasonably priced considering the quality of the ingredients, the inventiveness of the dishes and the view and setting of the restaurant.

Here are some Turkish to English translations of some of our favorite dishes at Kydonia:

  • Izgara Lorlu Börek … white cheese rolled in pastry and grilled
  • Sıcak Yatırma Peyniri … fried white cheese
  • Izgara Ahtapot … grilled octopus
  • Cevizli Kalamar Dolma … stuffed squid (with nuts and meat)
  • Ahtapot Yahni … octupus stew

As always, if you know of any establishments that we should highlight in our İngilizce Türkiye’de series please do let us know!




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Jul 17, 2013 By Tags:, ,

İngilizce Türkiye’de: Muze de Changa

muze-da-changaWelcome to the fourth post in our İngilizce Türkiye’de series. Today we would like to highlight a wonderful cafe / restaurant located in the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Muze de Changa.

In our İngilizce Türkiye’de series we highlight establishments across Turkey that offer great service and command of the English language. On a recent trip that made to the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, we decided to stop in to Muze de Changa for breakfast. We were very impressed with the quality of the food, the setting and the wonderful service we received in English.

Muze de Changa is a well established Istanbul restaurant that opened its doors back in 2005. The restaurant is located in the Emirgan district. The restaurant is housed on the top floor of the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, overlooking the property’s beautiful gardens and the Bosphorus. The restaurant is well known for its high end dinner menu. On our last visit we discovered that the restaurant makes a wonderful breakfast on weekends. The breakfast service is largely unadvertised on its website, yet is extremely popular with locals.


If you have ever wanted to visit the restaurant but are put off by the expensive prices for dinner, we certainly suggest visiting for breakfast. Prices are reasonable and the restaurant prepares wonderful twists on the classic Turkish kahvalti. Delicious börek with non-traditional ingredients, tasty menemen and a wide selection of traditional Turkish breads were a highlight. The kahvalti menu is short but it delivers enough choice to keep all your diners happy.

Combining a visit to the museum with a meal at the restaurant, and perhaps a walk to Emirgan park (which is located just a five minute walk up the Bosphorus), makes a perfect day out. For any visitor to Istanbul, the upper Bosphorus location of the restaurant is also a fabulous and often-skipped district. Be sure to call the restaurant ahead and a book a table on the terrace, which can be a bit crowded on the weekends, with many visitors celebrating birthdays or other special occasions.

For our Muze de Changa review, here is a small amount of vocabulary about museum collections:

  • Kitap Sanatları ve Hat Koleksiyonu   Callıgraphy collectıon
  • Resım koleksiyonu   Paıntıngs
  • Arkeolojık ve taş koleksionu   Archeological collectıon
  • Mobilya ve dekoratif koleksionu   Furnıture and decorative arts
  • Yeni alımlar   Recent acquisitions

As always, if you know of any establishments that we should highlight in our İngilizce Türkiye’de series please do let us know!


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Jul 15, 2013 By Tags:, ,

İngilizce Türkiye’de: SALT Galata


Welcome to the third post in our İngilizce Türkiye’de series. In our second post, we introduced a great Agean mezze restaurant called Eleos. In our third post we will highlight SALT Galata, a wonderful cultural institution in the heart of Istanbul.

In our İngilizce Türkiye’de series we highlight establishments across Turkey that offer great service. SALT Galata is the second installment of the not for profit SALT. The other two locations are SALT Beyoğlu (also in Istanbul) and SALT Ulus (in Ankara). SALT Galata is a wonderful multipurpose venue, with a museum, art gallery, archive, cafe and restaurant! For any resident of Istanbul or visitor, it is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening. For the most part, SALT Galata is much less visited than the nearby Beyoğlu location.

SALT Galata opened November 22, 2011. Originally designed by Alexander Vallaury as the 19th century Imperial Ottoman Bank headquarters. SALT Galata is comprised of four main elements:

  • The Ottoman bank museum (wonderful display of financial records and archives set in the vault / basement of the original bank)
  • SALT Research, which offers access to print and digital resources, exhibitions and a conference hall
  • Ca’d’oro cafe, a lovely cafe which serves light snacks and has a strong internet connection and large tables for all day projects
  • Ca’d’oro restaurant, a more upscale restaurant serving lunch and dinner on a terrace overlooking the Golden Horn

In honor of SALT Galata and its Ottoman bank roots, here are some words related to art and exhibitions!

Sanat… art

Sergi… exhibition

Gösterim… presentation or screening

Konuşma… speech, public lecture

Atölye… (artist) studio


As always, if you know of any restaurants or attractions in Turkey that have a strong command of the English language, please recommend them to us for our İngilizce Türkiye’de series!

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İngilizce Türkiye’de: Van Kahvaltı Evi


In our İngilizce Türkiye’de series we highlight establishments across Turkey that offer great service as well as great command of the English language.

We think the series is a good way to discover great restaurants, destinations, attractions and services, as well as highlighting establishments in Turkey where English speakers can get service in the global language.

On a recent morning walk in Cihangir, myself and my co-founder found ourselves very hungry. Both of us are big fans of an Aegean breakfast. As we walked towards Taksim we noticed a Kahvaltı Evi that was packed at 9 am on a Thursday. We decided to check it out.

Van Kahvaltı Evi is not an Aegean kahvaltı but hails from the eastern parts of the country. The Kurdish regions of Turkey take their kahvaltı very seriously. There are many similarities to an Aegean Kahvaltı with some key differences including Van cheeses, tangy cacık (thick yogurt spread) and murtuğa, a heavy wheat flour porridge. Of course, you will find the typical tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and white cheese of an Aegean kahvaltı. The food at Van Kahvaltı Evi is generous in portion, very fresh and reasonably priced.

What we were most impressed with is the service. Both of our waiters, and the man who brought us our bill spoke a great level of English. Additionally, both had commanded some of the finer elements in translation of Turkish service to English.

One of the more difficult aspects to learning English is wordy question forms:

While in Turkish it’s quite acceptable to simply use a single noun in isolation, such as ‘bread?’, ‘tea?’, ‘bill?’ for example, it usually grates on the ears of a native English speakers as it can border on rudeness.

English, requires a more expansive question. Not too hard to learn but at a minimum service staff are better off using:

  • Would you like anything else?
  • Would you like more tea / bread…
  • Can I get you anything else?

It’s a small thing but these couple of phrases make such a difference to the quality of service.

Whether you are a foreigner visiting Turkey or a Turkish resident, we hope that you will check out Van Kahvaltı Evi for a great breakfast and great service in English (if required). Details:

Address: Defterdar Yokuşu No: 52.A, Cihangir
Telephone: 212-293-6437

As always, if you know of any establishments that should be commended for their İngilizce Türkiye’de, please let us know.


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Müzekart ve Museum Pass nedir?

If you’re Turkish, then you should know that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism offers the fantastic Museum Pass and Müzekart to visit historic sites and museums in Istanbul and across the country…

…And if you have foreign friends living in Turkey or visitors coming for a short visit, here’s some advice you can give to them so they can visit as many sites as possible for a great price!

Here’s a post to help your foreign friends and visitors get the cards!

First, a bit of language for you:

cardholder… kart sahibi

to wait in queue… kuyrukta beklemek

to allow access… izin vermek

upgrading… yenilenme, tamir

unlimited… sınırsız

to reside… oturmak

discount… indirim

So… easy to obtain and even easier to use,The Müzekart and Museum Pass Istanbul are perfect for visitors and foreign residents in Istanbul to access many of the city’s historic sites and museums.

The cardholder does not have to wait in queue, possibly one of the greatest motivations to buy one in a city that attracts more and more visitors each year!

Museum Pass

For short-term visitors and tourists.

The Museum Pass allows you access to a large number of Istanbul sites, for 72 hours after the first time the card is used. The card costs 72 Turkish lira.

You can use the card for one visit to each site only.

Currently you can gain access to the following sites:

Chora Museum, Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapı Palace Museum, Istanbul Archaeological Museums, Istanbul Mosaic Museum, Galata Mevlevi House Museum, Yıldız Palace Museum, Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam.

Note: The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is also on the list, however the site is closed for upgrading until the end of 2013.

There are also a number of other places where the card can be used for a discount, such as the Archeological Museum Cafe.

Müzekart and Müzekart+

For your foreign friends who live in Turkey.

The Müzekart allows you access to a large number of sites across the entire country, for a period of one year. You can visit each site only once.The card costs 30 Turkish lira.

However, the best value of all is the Müzekart+. It allows entry to the same sites as the Müzekart, but it allows for unlimited entries during the card’s validity! It’s the logical choice for anyone living in Istanbul, as for 50 lira you have unlimited access for 12 months to the best sites in the country!

First, which card is available to me, the Museum Pass or Müzekart?

The Müzekart is available only to Turkish citizens, or non-Turkjsh citizens holding a Foreign Resident Permit.

The Museum Pass Istanbul can be purchased by anyone.

What do I need to get the card?

For the Museum Pass:

Passport with valid Turkish tourist visa

Credit card or cash

For the Müzekart and Müzekart+ (for non-Turkish residents)

Foreign Resident Permit

Foreign Resident Number (this is not your Tax Number. The Foreign Resident Number is a number starting with ‘9’ and contains 11 digits. If you do not have it, you can get it easily here.. The İkamet Tezkere number is on page 1 of the permit. It is not the Seri number at the bottom of the same page!)

Credit card or cash.

You do not need a photo.

Where do I get the card?

Currently, you can get the card from the following sites in Istanbul:

Topkapi Palace, Haghia Sophia, Chora Museum, Istanbul Archeological Museums and the Istanbul Mosaic Museum.

That’s it. The card is prepared in a few minutes and you can use it immediately.

Our tip. Grab the card from the Mosaic Museum. Few people visit it and it’s only a 5-minute walk from the extremely busy Aya Sofia! The staff who helped us that day were also smiling and cheerful and spoke enough English to assist foreign visitors.

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