Istanbul will launch its year as European Capital of Culture on January 16, with an all-night party throughout the city. Musicians will perform at six different public squares, museums will be free and open until dawn, and fireworks will sparkle over the city’s fabled waterways.
Turkish pop star Tarkan will perform at Taksim Square in the center of town starting at 8:30 p.m., following a fireworks show. In the historic district of Sultanahmet, the city’s Ottoman Military Band will play at 7 p.m., followed with a performance by Mercan Dede, one of Turkey’s most renowned fusion artists.
The artistic program for the whole year includes university theater festivals, visiting artist workshops and new museum initiatives such as plans for a museum of island history on Buyuk ada, the largest of the Princes’ Islands, just offshore Istanbul in the Marmara Sea.
A tally of major concerts are coming to Istanbul in 2010. If early trends are any indication, 2010 may be the best year for concerts in Istanbul yet.
Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood will perform on June 13 at Santral Istanbul, a venue on the Golden Horn campus of Bilgi University.
U2 360 Tour Istanbul will be held this summer at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium on Sept. 6.
Lady GaGa is coming to Istanbul this year to perform on June 15th at Kurucesme Arena in Istanbul.
Getting around has also become easier. Last year the city abolished a 50% surcharge on taking taxis at night. Yet visitors should be mindful of standard charges, such as 15 lira between Sultanahmet and Taksim Square, or 35 lira for an airport run from the center of the city.