Festivals and Events
As Turkey's cultural capital the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul is host to a number of arts festivals throughout the year while the coastal resorts are home to fun events including sand sculpture competitions and kite contests. Here's our selection of the best.
Istanbul Film Festival
Originating in 1982 this 10-day-long event celebrates the best of national and international film with awards given to documentaries made in Turkey amongst others. It's the largest film event held in Turkey with over 200 titles appearing in the programme. The festival takes place in April each year.
National Sovereignty and Children's Day
Back in 1920 on the 23rd April Turkey's Grand National Assembly first gathered with Ataturk supposedly dedicating the Turkish Republic to the children of the country. For this reason children take seats in parliament with a president elected to address the nation on TV. Festivals are held throughout the country with schoolchildren invited from around the world to spend a week with a Turkish family.
Sun Splash Festival
This music festival started in 2009 and is held in Bodrum showcasing international jazz, soul, funk and bossa music artists and DJs. Previous artists include Gilles Peterson and the festival's location in Bodrum means it can easily be combined with a beach break.
International Sand Sculpture Festival
Beginning in 2006 this annual festival sees hundreds of sand sculptures created by sculptors from across the globe. Occupying a large area at Lara Beach in Antalya the exhibition is one of the largest sand events in the world. The theme changes each year with previous themes including wonders of the world and Hollywood films.
The Side Culture and Art Festival
Showcasing a number of world famous orchestras, musicians and dancers, this summer festival takes place in the city of Side with free, open-air concerts performed in the ruined amphitheatre and temple of Apollo.
Antalya International Folk Music and Dance Festival Competition
This festival usually kicks off in August and runs through until the following January with various performances of folk music and dance from across Turkey and around the world. Local traditions and folk heritage are promoted with colourful performances taking place across multiple venues in Antalya.
Every year thousands of visitors flock to Gallipoli to pay their respects to those that died during the fateful ANZAC campaign. The day begins with a dawn service where veterans and their families would stand in silence for two minutes with the remainder of the day spent visiting the battlefields.
Istanbul Music and Jazz Festivals
Over the summer two separate festivals are held in Istanbul for the appreciation of classical and jazz music. Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, the two festivals have seen some of the world's most prestigious orchestras, ensembles and jazz performers play across a variety of venues from open-air stages in public parks to museums and concert halls.
As a predominantly Muslim country Turkey observes the Islamic holy month of Ramadan with 30 days of fasting during daylight hours and a carnival atmosphere in the evenings when people are able to eat and drink again.
Commemorating the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 on October 23rd, this day is a public holiday with traditional processions held to celebrate. Flags are carried through the streets accompanied by marching bands with performances held in local stadiums and fireworks at night.