Istanbul. Two Worlds, One City

Temporary exhibitions

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  • Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 6:00 PM - Sunday, September 2, 2018

New Rome and a pearl of the Orient – here antiquity meets modernity, Christianity intertwines with Islam and Asia shares a space with Europe. Istanbul is one of the world’s most extraordinary metropolises. It has fascinated voyagers and artists since time immemorial, and their ranks were later joined by authors and photographers, immortalising it in their diaries, novels, sketches, paintings and celluloid.

Over the centuries the multicultural atmosphere of the centre of Islamic world was shaped by Turks, Armenians, Greeks, Jews and Romani people. In the late 19th century, the district of Pera (now Beyoğlu) became home to luxury hotels for tourists arriving on the Orient Express. Agatha Christie penned her most famous Hercule Poirot novel Murder on the Orient Express in room 411 at the legendary Pera Palace Hotel. The Art Nouveau building of the former Bristol Hotel is now home of the Pera Museum, created by the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation. The exhibition Istanbul. Two Worlds, One City at the International Cultural Centre features a wealth of exhibits – archival photos, postcards and posters – from the foundation’s collections. The exhibition transforms us to the “city of cities” during a period of a major change: the final years of the Ottoman Empire and the dawn of the republic. We will explore the historic city centre, the dazzling Art Nouveau Pera district, the bustling Golden Horn waterway, the serene arcs of the Bosporus, and the Levant districts on the Asian side. There will be street vendors selling boza and luxury department stores, fezzes and hats, and we will head from the court of the last Sultan straight to a lesson on the new alphabet. The portrait of Istanbul at the turn of the 20th century is complemented by paintings and drawings from Polish collections. (Dorota Dziunikowska, „Karnet” monthly)

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