Tag Archives: galata

Travel Istanbul: Best Contemporary Design Shops Istanbul (Beyoglu / Sishane / Galata )

While not known to many outsiders of the design world or non-locals of this sprawling metropolis, Istanbul is a small yet strong hub of international design. With growing leaders of contemporary design furniture such as  AUTOBAHN, traditional Ottoman design with a luxurious modern flair in  HAREMLIQUE, and the multi-disciplinary design studio SUPERPOOL , Istanbul has a burgeoning design scene.
From graphic arts to contemporary sculpture, galleries are infusing exhibitions with the modern touch of Turkish designers.
A  handful of designs shops have cropped up and maintained a strong hold in this small category for the past few years. Here is a list of a few to search for while you are in the Galata area of Beyoglu.

Hic Contemporary Craft and Deareast Design
Lüleci Hendek Sok No:35
Tophane- Galata Beyoğlu -İstanbul
hiccrafts.com /  press the word GIRIS

Owned by an Istanbul native Hic Contemporary has settled in a multi story store front just down from the Galata Tower. Here you find modern dish ware, spun rugs and kilims, pillows of traditional flair and even sofas and chairs.


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IKSV Design Store
Nejat Eczacıbaşı Binası(Bldg)
Sadi Konuralp CaddesiNo:5
Şişhane 34433İstanbul

Home store to the Istanbul Arts and Culture Foundation.
Modern Turkish design trinkets, accessories, posters etc.. the foundation creates limited edition items with well known Turkish Artists. Changing often you’re  able to find seasonal design objects perfect for showing off modern design from Istanbul and Turkey.

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Magnolia Culture Book Shop
Lüleci Hendek Caddesi, No.49B

A small bookshop with some excellent novels based on Turkish culture and history. occasionally a great design find but we worth the visit to the area. Next door is an equally tiny coffee shop.

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Mavra Cafe and Design Store
Serdari Ekrem Sok. No:31/A
Galata, Beyoglu

More of a cafe and small restaurant where the locals go, here you can check in for weekly design workshops, browse small trinkets, books and other knick knacks while enjoying coffee and passer-bys on one of Istanbuls most favored backstreets.


Milk Gallery and Design Store
Şahkulu Mh., Balkon Çk
No:8, 34420 Istanbul

Counter cultured and forward thinking like their progressive youth market, the Milk Gallery exhibits contemporary art from Turkish and International artists, while offering vinyl toys, handbags, limited edition t-shirts and more from the online shop.


Self Estate Concept Shop
Küçük Hendek Cd No:7
34420 İstanbul

The fashion avant garde hibernate on this block between the ParisTexas fashion boutique and self estate. Included dude to abnormal finds that the owners tend to select on random occurrences. Sure it is fashion forward, but you definitely have the opportunity to catch something special.

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photos courtesy of websites and facebook


Travel Istanbul: Best Hidden Neighborhoods of Istanbul

Istanbul the exotic city of Europe, nestled within continents, on the treacherous Bosphorus straight, European, Asian and Ottoman all at once. Just like balancing all these conundrums is a city so vast it stretches beyond the senses enveloping all in a mix of food, culture, and hundreds of neighborhoods that can seem generations apart.

Inhabitants seldom travel far afield into the abyss of neighborhoods deep within , while visitors stick with the pack, visiting eternal tourist destinations over and over including restaurants, shops, and people supported by them. Of course here you can get communication for the cheapest price, no translator needed, and aeasoned veterans in tourist sales.

There is however an immersive, thought provoking neighborhood culture existing steps from traditional touist areas where one can communicate with simple gestures of the heart, through hands, smile, and laughter. Don’t miss the opportunity to jump into at least one of these enclaves that hearken back to the slower times of Istanbul, before train, taxi, and plane.

Scattered accross the edges of the Golden Horn are a handful of neighborhoods well worth the trek, where even for a moment you can taste life from Ottoman Istanbul to well-educated westerners.






From the site of the ancient palace and dungeons of Blachernae, where the walls of Constantinople meet the Golden Horn is the historic neighborhood of Balat. The sephardic jews from Spain began to settle here in the late 15th century safe from religious persecution and able to practice trade.

Blachernae_dungeons_Istanbul_Turkey_palace_Daily_life_Jeff_Young_in_the_cutHere you can find the Chora(Kariye)Monastery, ruins of the Palace of Porphyrogenetus aka Tekfur Palace containing the dungeons of Blachernae.
While Chora is a popular attraction, hardly anyone enjoys its near neighbors with a simple walk down towards the Golden horn. Crumbling, dilapidated wooden homes, are scrunched between, distasteful modern apartments , while various late ottman jewels are dotted throughout the neighborhood.

Enjoy a walk in the daylight, as you’ll find Ottoman fountains, street kids playing football, picturesque  backstreets and the average retirement cafe filled with men playing backgammon. Head towards Mahkeme Alti Cadessi for excellent local fare including fish, kebap, and lahmacun(lah-ma-joon).

The Ahrida Synogogue one of two remaining of 100+ synogogues in Istanbul is located on the edge of Balat as you walk east on Mahkeme Alti Cadessi. Notice the Ottoman Baroque architecture and look for various Stars of David above the entrances to houses along the roads.



Fener and Balat are so intertwined its hard at times to figure where one ends and the other begins. The Intersection of Mehkeme and Vodina Cadessi seems to be an agreeable point. It is also the location of the synogogue mentioned previously.

In the hills and backstreets of Fener and Balat is where you can find some of the most colorful Ottoman homes now favored by the working class citizens. Don’t hesitate to wander these backstreets, during the day and get an exceptional feeling of daily life in Istanbul while kids run all over and the beauty of these homes takes your breath away. Visit Little House Cafe on Vodina Cadessi for a down to earth espresso and snack.




This historic dockside has been looked over for the past 100 years and only in the last few has started to seen a revival. Tourists by the millions would wander straight through Karakoy, never looking in the old shops, or finding the old greek churches, they preferred the bold sites.

Today this is not to be missed on any itinerary throughout Istanbul Many young local creative inhabitants have found this to be their second home with retaurants and cafes popping up throughout the tiny backstreets while icons of Istanbul dinner scene such as Meze and flourish on the main street.

True rustic buildings,  built brick by brick and huge flat iron doors are a few of the leftovers of times gone pass including symbols above doorways meant to signify what kind of trade each building took part in. From wine merchants, to fisherman, and dockworkers this neighborhood hosted many of the sea faring working class that made Istanbul so rich in trade and culture throughout the Ottoman reign.
In The Cut Pinterest board for Karakoy


Situated above Karakoy, at the edge of a bluff stretching  towards Taksim is the now eclectic, artsy neighborhood of Cihangir. A disrespected jewel with stunning views at the intersection of Sea, straight, estuary and the historic penninsula Cihangir has many flavors of modern life in Istanbul.

From Cihangir cafe the anchor of social life for artists, actors and  bohemian celebrity, traditional Turkish food at Datli Maya and Van Kahvalti Evi to Journey Cafe and White Mill Cafe with  full liquor cabinets Cihangir is place to catch the vibe of the laid back artistic life
In The Cut Pinterest Board /  Cihangir


The nighttime playground of the city s drinking and socializing youth, mixed with travellers and well known meyahanes, Asmuli Mescit is a packed labyrinth of youthful energy. Over 30 bars and restaurants are stacked within a handful of tiny backstreets connected and crisscrossing an area roughly the size of a football field.

Within the streets early 20th century buildings peer over while protecting the secrets of many youth from disdainful eyes of the religious public. All night music venues like Babylon and Ghetto bring in international Djs, while bar / restaurants Hardal and Lokal are staples of youth culture. Outside of any club this is where you will find the streets packed until early morning with revelers of all kinds.
InThe Cut Travel Pinterest Board


Steps away from the Galata tower is Serder-i-ekrem Caddessi a street which very few tourist actually wander down unless the are staying at the George or one of the small boutique hotels on the block. This small street has quietly blossomed into a top destination for the young design creative, with shops, upscale boutiques, furniture and lighting to a few  cafes lining the street. Here is a small oasis of locality located on one of the most picturesque streets in all of Galata.


In the backsteets between Cihangir and Galata is a small area known for its antiques and photography studios. Walk all around these streets looking for late Ottoman Era architecture influenced by local French, Italian and Eastern European builders. Cobblestone streets and overhanging balconys create a sense of wonder in quaint quarters.
In The Cut Travel Pinterest Board

Self Estate Concept Shop. Istanbul


Over the last few years wonderful concept and design shops have begun to pop up #inthecut. Sprinkled throughout the streets of Galata, Cihangir, Cukurcuma and Tophane have come an international flare for design.

Self Estate is one such place.

Founded by the folks that produce Bone Magazine, where they have earned their chops, highlighting Art, Culture, Design, and Fashion. Self Estate is the home to a selected few of Turkish and International cult fashion designers.

American Retro, Adidas SLVR, Jott  and Lastik Pabuc hold their weight in urban street wear while Selim Baklaci, and Nihan Peker among others, focus on the high end seasonal fashion crowd.

The space outlined in wood floors and exposed brick houses a small back room cafe where they serve beer, wine and coffee, providing a surface the aptly named ‘Bone Table’, where you can pick your bone of contention with any of the regulars dropping through.

If you don’t have the chance to experience this spaceyou can also check out their online self estate store.