Events and Festivals in Istanbul

Istanbul has a full calendar of festivals throughout the year. Here you will find information and a description of the events, with links to their websites where available...

Istanbul hosts more than 100 special events throughout the year including music, film, dance and theatre festivals, trade fairs, exhibitions and sports events. Most of the events have international importance and attract spectators and performers from all over the world.

Istanbul International Film Festival (Uluslararas? ?stanbul Film Festivali): This began as a film week during the International Istanbul Festival in 1982 and aims to encourage the development of cinema in Turkey. It consists of a thematic international competition and Turkish film showcases. Held every year in April.

Akbank Jazz Festival (Akbank Caz Festivali): First held in 1990, this festival provides more than 50 concerts in nine cities with a variety of Turkish, European and world jazz music. It is accompanied by various workshops, panel competitions and brunches. Held every year at the end of October or beginning of November.

International Istanbul Music Festival (?stanbul Uluslararas? Müzik Festivali): Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, this festival showcases contributions from many world-renowned artists, conductors and performers in the fields of music, classical ballet, contemporary dance and opera. Held every year in June.

International Jazz Festival of Istanbul (?stanbul Uluslararas? Caz Fesivali): Also organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Art, this festival hosts many world-renowned jazz music artists. Concerts take place in the Open Air Theatre (Aç?k Hava Tiyatrosu). Held every year in July.

International Istanbul Opera Festival (Uluslararas? ?stanbul Opera Festivali): Organised by the Directorate General of State Opera, this festival has hosted world-famous opera artists and companies. It takes place every year in July at historical venues such as Y?ld?z Palace, Topkap? Palace, Rumelian Castle and Hagia Irene. Operas about Turkish culture and life are also performed during the festival.

Istanbul International Ballet Competition (?stanbul Uluslararas? Bale Yar??mas?): First held in 2010, this competition aims to promote Turkish classical and modern ballet to a professional level with the contributions of both Turkish and international choreographers. The semi-finals, final and award ceremony are open to the public. Held every year in June.

International Contemporary Dance and Performance Festival - iDANS (Uluslararas? Ça?da? Dans ve Performans Festivali): First held in 2007, this dance festival encompasses contemporary art, dance, theatre, music and performance art events. It includes discussions and workshops. Held in October every year, with performances at venues across the city.

International Efes Pilsen Blues Festival (Uluslararas? Efes Pilsen Blues Festivali): Turkey’s longest running music festival, providing over 20 concerts by blues music artists in 20 different cities. Held in October every year.

International Istanbul Short Film Festival (?stanbul Uluslararas? K?sa Film Günleri): Screenings of short films selected from over 800 applications from around the world. Takes place every year in November.

Istanbul Biennal (?stanbul Bienali): Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, and aiming to bring together contemporary visual artists from diverse cultures. It takes place every two years from mid-September to mid-November. Every festival has a different theme.

Istanbul International Theatre Festival (?stanbul Uluslararas? Tiyatro Festivali): This festival brings together Turkish and international theatre companies and dance groups for classical and contemporary performances. Held every two years in May.

Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon (K?talararas? Avrasya Maratonu): The Eurasian Marathon is unique in that it takes place over two continents; starting in Asia and ending in Europe. It is open to both professional and non-professional athletes. Held every year in October.

Istanbul International 1001 Documentary Film Festival (Uluslararas? 1001 Belgesel Film Festivali): Documentary filmmakers from around the world gather in Istanbul during this festival to present work on a given theme to the public and fellow film-makers. Held annually in September and October.