Consistently ranked among the world’s best cities, Istanbul has wooed
travellers for millennia, drawn by its impressive cultural sites,
phenomenal shopping opportunities and delectable cuisine. And now, a
number of new openings are providing additional incentives to visit the
Here’s what to know about Istanbul travel in 2022.
Galataport: A new cruise port and tourist destination
One of the most exciting new openings for 2022 is Galataport, Istanbul’s transformed historic city harbour.
Extending about 1.2km along the Bosphorus in the trendy Karakoy
district, the US$1.7 billion project has been opening in stages since
August 2021. The grouping of new and restored buildings contains 250
restaurants, retail stores and cultural venues. On one side of this is
an attractive waterside promenade, and on the other is Clock Tower
Square, a refurbished public space revolving around the 174-year-old
Tophane Clock Tower.
Beneath this is the world’s first underground cruise ship terminal,
which will welcome passengers for the 2022 season. Making use of
groundbreaking technology and an innovative hatch system, the
29,000-square-metre terminal has the capacity of serving three ships and
15,000 passengers per day. The Galataport complex, as a whole, is
projected to receive 25 million visitors per year, including 7 million
The world's first underground cruise ship terminal sits in Galataport. Photo Credit: Gettyimages/necati bahadir bermek
Galataport also hosts two new museum buildings: Istanbul Modern and
the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSGSU) Istanbul Museum of Painting
Originally founded in 2004, the new building of Istanbul’s Museum of
Modern Art was conceived by renowned architect Renzo Piano, the designer
of Paris’s Centre Pompidou and New York’s Whitney Museum of American
Art. Scheduled to open this summer, the museum will display works by
both Turkish and international modern and contemporary artists.
Meanwhile, located on the roof of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University at
Galataport, the MSGSU Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture houses a
notable collection of late Ottoman to late 20th-century Western art.
After a 10-year refurbishment, the Istanbul Archaeology Museums
unveiled its new exhibition space in December 2021. Originally
established in 1869 in a collection of buildings near the Topkapi
Palace, the museums feature new displays created with modern technology
to better engage with visitors. Back on show are famed Roman-era
masterpieces the Sarcophagus of Alexander and Sarcophagus of the Crying
Women, restored to their previous glory.
Cutting-edge arts and culture venues
Facing Taksim Square is the renewed Ataturk Cultural Center.
Originally opened in 1969, the building was reinvented by Murat
Tabanlioglu, the son of its original architect, and began reopening in
sections as of October 2021. Combining traditional Turkish craftsmanship
with contemporary technology, the vast complex features a theatre, an
arts library, a music museum, cafes, restaurants and a dazzling new
2,040-seat opera hall.
The Serefiye Cistern should also be on visitors’ lists. Built in the
mid-5th century, the well-preserved, columned water cistern was
rediscovered beneath modern buildings in Sultanahmet in 2010. Restored
and opened to the public in 2018, it recently inaugurated a new 3D sound
and light show created with 360-degree projection mapping technology
and projected throughout the space hourly.
Watefront dining at Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus. Photo Credit: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
New and enhanced hotels in Istanbul
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group opened its second Istanbul hotel —
sitting on the banks of the Bosphorus — in August 2021. In addition to
its 100 rooms and suites, Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul has
several waterfront dining facilities, bars, garden terraces and a
on the Bosphorus, The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul has undergone an US$8.5
million renewal project. Updates to the modern tower include a
refurbished Club Lounge and a new look for its 243 guestrooms (including
23 suites) blending traditional Ottoman design and contemporary style.
Over in the historical peninsula district, Four Seasons Hotel
Istanbul at Sultanahmet is going through a complete overhaul, scheduled
for completion in August 2022. Set within a 100-year-old building, the
hotel’s refurbishments will freshen up its 65 guestrooms while retaining
an elegant, classical decor well-suited to the historic structure.
New on the boutique hotel scene is the Ecole St. Pierre Hotel, which
occupies a former 19th-century French school a short distance from the
Galata Tower. Rooms surround a picturesque interior courtyard
overlooking the hotel’s stylish Italian restaurant, Il Cortile.
The Michelin Guide will rank Istanbul's top restaurants
On 11 October 2022, Istanbul will become the 38th destination to be
classified by the meticulous judges of the Michelin Guide. In the
lead-up, the city’s top chefs will be operating at their highest level
in order to be ready for the unannounced visits of the guide’s
undercover investigators. Therefore, there’s no better time to enjoy the
city’s leading restaurants and make guesses as to who will earn the
highly coveted stars.
Source: TravelAge West