Events in Istanbul


There’s no shortage of arts and music festivals taking place in Istanbul throughout the year, with many promoted by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts.

The city’s main arts festival, Istanbul Biennial, takes place in a variety of historic buildings and venues across the city. Taking place every two years in September, this showcase for contemporary art alternates with the springtime International Istanbul Theater Festival, providing an opportunity to see Turkish theatre alongside international performances.

Fans of cinema gather in April for the International Istanbul Film Festival, which features screenings of a large selection of Turkish and foreign language films, as well as awarding prizes in various categories.

Travelling families may enjoy the International Istanbul Puppet Festival, which also takes place in spring. Puppetry was incredibly popular in Ottoman times and Istanbul still has a strong connection with this art. Many of the puppet, marionette and shadow theatre shows are silent making them suitable for an international audience and children.