Author: Haldun Dinccetin (Finn Partners) | Date: 14 June 2017
NEW YORK – Still thinking of where to spend your summer vacation? If you’re a cultural enthusiast and looking to experience a diverse range of music, art or dance, then look no further as summer in Turkey is set to excite, with a wide array of events and festivals to delight and entertain.
In Istanbul, there is the Music Festival and the Jazz Festival, in Bodrum, the 8th International Opera Festival and the International Ballet Festival, or in Antalya, the Sand Sculpture Exhibition. The revered national sport of oil wrestling also forms part of the exhilarating events to witness while visiting Turkey during the summer.
Here’s a sampling of Turkey’s most iconic events and festivals:
Antalya Sand Sculpture Festival
May 1 - November 15
The Antalya Sand Sculpture Festival, is considered one of the largest sand events in the world, by the size of its sculptures and the area they occupy. Each year, thousands of people visit the exhibition. Every year, a group of sand sculptors from all over the world join to give shape to 10,000 tons of sand in an area of 10,000 square meters. Sandland as the festival is known also incorporates a playful dimension with a space for sand sculpture activities, where each day, adults, teens and children may experience and show their creative abilities in this form of artistic expression. http://www.sandlandantalya.
Istanbul Music Festival
May 29 - June 21
Now in its 45th year, this world-class festival features big names in classical music, opera, and ballet. Past artists have included La Scala Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Tokyo String Quartet, Itzhak Perlman, Idil Biret, and Burhan Öçal. The theme of this year’s festival is “Unusual”. The music festival grants Lifetime Achievement and Honorary Awards to distinguished musicians and music professionals in recognition of their great contributions to the world of classical music. This year’s recipient will be music writer and academic Evin İlyasoğlu. To learn more about the festival, visit http://muzik.iksv.org/en.
8th International Istanbul Opera Festival
June 13 - 23
Organized by the Turkish State Opera and Ballet, the International Istanbul Opera Festival, which began in 2009, integrates opera with the city’s historical venues and urban locations. This year’s festival will kick off with W. A. Mozart’s “Abduction From The Seraglio” at the Archaeological Museum Garden in Istanbul. www.istanbuloperafestival.gov.
Istanbul Jazz Festival
July 4 - 20
The Istanbul Jazz Festival, now in its 24th year, will offer a festival experience full of discoveries with more than 50 concerts including veterans and new discoveries of jazz, well-known ensembles of world music and new horizons of contemporary music. The festival program includes a range of jazz, funk, world music, blues and rock performances, with highlights including “Beyond The Memory” concert where famous stars will pay tribute to the cult flamenco guitarist and composer Paco De Lucia, the young star of vocal jazz Kandance Springs, masters Jacky Terrasson & Stephane Belmondo, one of the legendary names of European jazz Nik Bärtsch, and two delightful voices from Africa Fatoumata Diawara and Hindi Zahra. The "JUNUN" project, which had been initially led by Radiohead's guitarist Jonny Greenwood, is among the guests of this year's festival. To learn more, visit http://caz.iksv.org/en
Cappadocia Music Festival
July 5 - 9
Cappadocia Music Festival is a music festival that takes place at multiple locations in Cappadocia. The inaugural festival will feature a variety of choirs, orchestras and acoustic ensembles. Cappadocia is the ancient name of a large region in the center of Anatolia, although when we speak of Cappadocia today we refer specifically to the valleys of Goreme and Urgup, with their natural pinnacles and rock churches.
Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Tournament
July 10 - 16
Featuring a uniquely Anatolian sport where oiled athletes in villages across the country vie for the title of last man standing, the Kırkpınar oil wrestling festival is a major national event that has been held in the start of summer since the mid-14th century. Hundreds of Turkish oil wrestlers compete in a variety of categories in what is the oldest continuously running, sanctioned sporting competition in the world. In addition to holding the Guinness World Record for being the longest running sports event in history, the Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival was also added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2010. This revered national sport involves the fittest of Turkish youth and astonishing amounts of olive oil to prevent the opponent from getting a good grip. https://www.everfest.com/e/
International Bodrum Ballet Festival
July 18 - August 12
The annual festival in Bodrum, organized by the Turkish State Opera and Ballet is now in its 15th year and presents the finest examples of world-renowned ballet repertoire as well as original works of art of Turkish ballet. The festival raises the same high levels of excitement and emotion every year as each performance achieves a quite high occupancy rate, proving that Turkish audiences and tourists are hungry for this stunning art event. Performances are taking place during July in Bodrum’s historic castle of the Knights of St John. The festival is held in Bodrum, one of Turkey's top vacation destinations, well known for its beauty. http://www.effe.eu/festival/