Istanbul Travel Guide

Events in Istanbul

  • Jazz Festival

  • Republic Day

  • Efes Pilsen Blues Festival

  • Victory Day

  • Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling

  • Music Festival

There are different events in Istanbul in different months. People go these events to have fun. Artists come different countries for these events and you can witness some national sport events of Turkey.

International Istanbul Music Festival. This world-class festival features big names in classical, 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. For schedules and tickets, contact the Istanbul Foundation for Culture & Arts (Phone 0212/293-3133; Mid-June to mid-July.

Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Tournaments: These tournaments take place in Edirne and villages around the city. 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. Wrestlers struggle in the field of contest during 3 days.The event is usually accompanied by a colorful market and fair. Late June to early July.

International Jazz Festival, Istanbul. Performances are held at various locations around the city. For schedules, dates, and tickets, contact the Istanbul Foundation for Culture & Arts (Phone: 0212/293-3133;

Zafer Bayrami (Victory Day). This national holiday commemorates the decisive victory over the invading Greek armies during the War of Independence in 1922. Due to this victory, ceremonies are performed and acrobat pilots demonstrate shows of flight and parades run through the main streets.

International Istanbul Biennial. The Istanbul Foundation for Culture & Arts ( puts on this major visual-arts event organized around a current political or philosophical theme. Artists are choosen from over 45 countries, whose innovative exhibitions are displayed around town, in clever venues such as 500-year-old warehouses, deconsecrated churches and synagogues, and even commuter ferries. Mid-September to early November 2011.

Akbank Jazz Festival. This 2-week-long festival brings the blues simultaneously to Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. Now in its 17th season, the festival hosts world-renowned performers in the cities' most atmospheric venues. It becomes last 2 weeks in October. (phone: 0212/252-3500;

Cumhuriyet Bayrami (Republic Day): Republic was announced in 29 October, 1923 and management of country pass in national will. This day is important for Turkish people, it is celebrated every year in 23 October. Everywhere is decorated with flags. Parades, public speeches, and fireworks displays are just a few of the organized events, but individual Turkish families do their own celebrating as well.

Anniversary of Atatürk's Death. Turkish people stand in silence at exactly 9:05am, when the population pays its respects to the father and founder of the Republic. Rather than a moment of silence, the streets and waterways echo with the blare of car horns and foghorns. Activities are planned related to Ataturk for this day, such as conferences, speeches, and exhibitions, in addition to a memorial concert at the Atatürk Cultural Center. November 10.

Efes Pilsen Blues Festival. In its 20th year as of 2010, this touring blues extravaganza transports Turks to America's deep South -- at least in spirit -- by way of performers that in past years have included John Lee Hooker, Bernard Allison, John Primer, Adolphus Bell, and Luther Johnson. Shows are scheduled for Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Çanakkale, Kayseri, Denizli, and Konya, in addition to a number of other cities. First week of November through second week of December. Phone: 216/444-3337-3337;