So many reasons exist to book Istanbul city breaks, from the intriguing ancient architecture and the spirituality of the city’s people to the thriving bars and clubs and… well, those alluring belly dancers also don’t hurt. But if there’s one thing that you’ll soon realise on your own visit to the city, it’s that Istanbul is a feast of contradictions, where the historic and modern and the east and west sit cheek by jowl.

 

Istanbul is, for example, one of the leading lights of the global 21st century contemporary art scene, and there are certainly some intriguing venues to be found here. If you don’t want to restrict your artistic appreciation on your next city break here to the fusty paintings of the distant past, then you may decide to head to the city’s most prominent contemporary art gallery in a large former warehouse on the shores of the Bosphorus – Istanbul Modern.

 

This particular art gallery is widely credited with inspiring the emergence of so many smaller spaces nearby, and it’s the perfect place to discover the history of Turkish art, alongside international shows of increasing renown. The gallery’s restaurant may be its biggest attraction of all, though, given the astounding view of the old city that it offers across the water.

 

But of course, modern art fans on Istanbul city breaks have plenty of other options. Step inside Galeri Manâ, for instance, and you could be forgiven for thinking that you’d been teleported to Brooklyn, given the exposed red brick walls of what used to be a wheat mill. The gallery is the brainchild of highly regarded Turkish-American curator Suzanne Egeran, with its inaugural show showcasing the idea-led art of the likes of Robin Rhode and Sol LeWitt.

 

We could go on and on, listing some of Istanbul’s best-known contemporary art venues. They include Galeri Nev, which combines the very latest Turkish art with volumes of art history and catalogues, while another fine place to periodically see the historic and the modern in close company is the Pera Museum. Orientalist paintings, old weights and Ottoman tiles may make up the principal collection, but the institution has also been known to serve up some fine travelling exhibitions by the likes of Botero, Picasso and Chagal.

 

Istanbul city breaks don’t get much better for the contemporary art fan in you, and here at Direct Traveller, we can put together a package that perfectly appeals to you as a discerning holidaymaker in this most fascinating part of the world.

 

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So many reasons exist to book Istanbul city breaks, from the intriguing ancient architecture and the spirituality of the city's people to the thriving bars and clubs and... well, those alluring belly dancers also don't hurt. But if there's one thing that you'll soon realise on your own visit...