local info for visitors

Dear partners of Trans-making!

Welcome to Istanbul… We wish you a pleasant stay and hope that you make fruitful acquaintances in terms of your profession. amberPlatform team has prepared this guide to help and guide you during your stay in Istanbul.

What is included in this guide?

    • Brief information about the city
    • Venues
    • Accommodation
    • Where to go for dining or party
    • Art locations to visit
    • English bookstores and music stores
    • Emergency numbers
    • Other related and useful information

This is an exclusive guide meant to orient you about the places to eat, drink, visit and hang out in the larger Beyoglu, Sisli, Beşiktaş and Kadıköy regions that include Gümüşsuyu, Taksim, Istiklal Street, Cihangir, Karakoy;  Harbiye, Feriköy, Bomonti, Pangaltı; Türkali; Osmanağa, Caferağa, Rasimpaşa neighborhoods. In many ways, the areas are central ones loved and frequented by many Istanbulites with lots of opportunities to eat, drink, listen to music and to go out and have fun. This guide is by no means exhaustive and reflects the preferences and experiences of the organization committee. You are equally welcome to explore the city on your own.

Should you have any further questions please feel free to contact Zeynep. She will be glad to assist you!

Brief information about Istanbul

Beyoglu and Taksim are relatively young neighborhoods compared to the old parts of Istanbul, which are located on the other side of the Golden Horn. To visit the old city, you take the short subway ride from Taksim to Kabatas and take the tram that travels through the old peninsula, as we call it here and continues onto the outskirts of the city. If you want to see the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace, your stop is Sultanahmet.

As for the larger and newer Beyoglu area where the festival takes place, you will notice many 19th century buildings. These neighborhoods were mostly inhabited by the non-Muslim subjects of the Ottoman Empire i.e. Greeks, Jews, and Armenians. In the course of Turkey’s modern history, these neighborhoods experienced ups and downs in terms of popularity and safety.

Istiklal Street used to be the hippest, most chic neighborhood at different points of the 20th century, the place where bourgeois urban modernity first arose. Nowadays it is not as posh as some other parts of Istanbul but is considered a cultural and political center. In addition to many embassies, churches, synagogues etc. it houses many bars, cafes, restaurants, clubs as well as bookstores, music stores and the like. It is also home to more than a hundred NGOs and other organizations that operate in Turkey.

For further readings:
Çağlar Keyder, Doğan Kuban

To do research:
Atatürk Kitaplığı
Beyazıt Devlet Kütüphanesi
Alman Arkeoloji Enstitüsü Kütüphanesi
İstanbul Araştırmaları Enstitüsü Kütüphanesi
Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Kütüphanesi
Kadın Eserleri Kütüphanesi
İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi Mustafa İnan Kütüphanesi
SALT Araştırma
Yapı Kredi Sermet Çifter Araştırma Kütüphanesi

Tips around research topics:


time bank

shared gardens in the city: 
Yedikule Bostanları
Roma Bostanı
Kuzguncuk Bostanı

alternative education

independent art scene
please find the contact list here

İTU Architecture Department
Herkes için Mimarlık

istanbul Design Bienale
İTÜ Industrial Design Department: Mehmet Erkök

urban planning:
Zeynep Günay
Sokak Bizim
Kent ve Çocuk

cultural theory:

digital technologies:

Siyah Bant

human rights:

social justice:
Mekanda Adalet Derneği
Hrant Dink Derneği

fair food
Kadıköy Kooperatifi

Zeynep Günay
Hafıza Merkezi
Kara kutu

Oral history:
Arzu Öztürkmen : ozturkme@boun.edu.tr

List of visits:
Pages Bookstore 
Hamish (Syrian Cultural House in Istanbul)
AD.DAR Community Centre for Syrian and Palestinian Refugees
Keleemat Art Gallery
Project Lift

Yiğit Ozar (Arkeologlar Derneği İstanbul Şubesi)

cultural politics
Bilgi Üniversitesi KPY

cultural planning:
İKSV – https://www.iksv.org/en/reports/cultural-planning-for-local-authorities

Enis Rıza Sakızlı http://data.bnf.fr/
Yeni Film Fonu http://www.yenifilmfonu.
Beykoz Kundura
Başka Cinema

a corner in the world

gender studies

Kadının İnsan Hakları-Yeni Çözümler Derneği /Women for Women’s Human Rights
Kadın Eserleri Kütüphanesi ve Bilgi Merkezi Vakfı


Boysan’ın Evi

who cares





We live mostly in the districts Kadıköy (asian side) and Beyoğlu (european side). These are two centers of two sides of İstanbul, european and asian.
We would like to recommend you to stay in Yeldeğirmeni or in Moda, two neighborhoods of Kadıköy / Cihangir or Galata, 2 neighborhoods of Beyoğlu. 
There are also many other options like Karaköy, Tophane etc. But comparing to Yeldeğirmeni, Moda and Cihangir, the other neighbourhoods like Galata, Karaköy and Tophane are more chaotic and crowded. But of course more diverse and multicultural.
Yeldeğirmeni and Moda are the districts where live and work peple from creative sectors: there are artist studios, local little theatre scenes, makers, designers, academicians etc… Amberplatform’s office is at Yeldeğirmeni too. 
On the other hand  European side has all the history of the city. It’s more mixed with many people from different social and educational background. That’s why many people prefer to live in that side. The transportation is much more easier… And there’s still much more things to see and visit in the European side. Exhibitions, big concerts etc. are primarily organized in the European side. But you can always go there whenever you want, of course.
Travelling is not that difficult but if you live in the Asian side (Moda and Yeldeğirmeni are the districts of Kadıköy and are in the asian side) it takes at least one hour to go to somewhere in the European side. You walk to the pier, take the ferry, sometimes you miss the ferry (there is a boat every 15 minutes), you take off the boat, you walk again, maybe take the metro or minibus: it takes time. You have to be well organized not to miss the meetings etc. And of course to return, you do the same way back. (in addition you can take the car, bus, subway etc to change continents)
Restaurant/Café/Bar/Club List 

Here you will find a list of some restaurants/cafés/bars/clubs. Most restaurants serving Turkish food will be equally suitable for vegetarians. The category “zeytinyagli” stands for light dishes without meat cooked with olive oil, served cold or lukewarm and the selection will be satisfactory. Meat eaters will of course have no problem!

Cafés, Restaurants and Clubs

EspressoLab Right next to the ferry station at Karaköy
Tips:Take first floor. There is a lovely view

Kuçe Food Collective
Şehit Muhtar Mahallesi, Öğüt Sk. No:18, 34435 Beyoğlu
$ – no alcool
Tips: Not only the food but also solidarity will feed your soul.

Zencefil (Vegetarian)
– very near to Taksim square –
Şehit Muhtar Mahallesi, Kurabiye Sk. 8-10, 34435 Beyoğlu
Tips: Lovely terrace, good environment. A bit expensive though.

Hayata Sarıl Lokantası
– very near to Taksim square –
Şehit Muhtar Mahallesi, Kurabiye Sokak No:1 D:No: 3, 34435 Beyoğlu
$ – no alcool
Tips: This place hosts every evening homeless people or people in need.

Ek Biç Ye İç
– 12 minutes walk away –
Gümüşsuyu Mahallesi  İnönü Cd. No:9, 34437 Beyoğlu
Tips: Do you need bio? Here it is.

– 24 minutes walk away –
Bozkurt Mahallesi, Eşref Efendi Sk No:44, 34375 Şişli
Tips: The neighborhood is still multicultural. Mind the hills!

Places near Mimar Sinan Fine Arts Univertsity
– 12 minutes walk away –
Lovely café with photo books.
Tips: Good coffee, lovely books.

– 12 minutes walk away –
Tips: A café, a bookstore, an exhibition place, an open space for meetings.

Karaköy Çorba Evi
– 14 minutes walk away –
Tips:It’s not a fancy place, but offers really good quality (and quantity 🙂 ) of soups.

– 13 minutes walk away –
Tips: It can be a good option for vegetarians and vegans.

– 14 minutes walk away –
Tips: Turkish “lokanta” with a modern touch

Places near Yeldeğirmeni:

Küff Yeldeğirmeni 


Levent Pide borek salonu

Benazio Coffee


Yeldegirmeni Sandviccisi

Emergency Numbers

AMBULANCE: 112 (all over Turkey)
International Hospital AmbulanceTel: +90 212 663 30 00

On Arrival

You are allowed to buy things at the Duty Free shop on arrival, e.g. 3 boxes of cigarettes. The Duty Free in Istanbul is cheaper than the ones in Western Europe.
Transportation From the Airport to the Hotel Havatas shuttle buses frequently travel between the airports and Taksim. They cost 12TL from AHL (Ataturk Airport-European side) and take off every half an hour from AHL. (www.havatas.com.tr)


Citizens of some countries are required to obtain a visa before arrival and some may obtain it at the airport upon arrival. There is a counter at the airport, before you pass the passport control, where you can buy the visa (a stamp in your passport). You can find the most updated visa information on the website



Turkey is 1 (one) hour ahead of GMT.


The electric current is 220V AC with a frequency of 50 Hertz. European standard plugs with two round pins are used.

Money and Credit Cards

TL is the currency in Turkey. Approximate Exchange rate in August 2018:

1 € =  6,56TL.

In the city centers you will find many banks and cash machines where you can get money with your bank card or credit card. There are many exchange offices as well. Major credit cards like VISA, MasterCard are accepted in most of the hotels, restaurants and shops.


Istanbul is a relatively safe city compared to cities of its own size but a word of precaution about being street-smart seems necessary. It is not that we mean to teach you how to be one; just a few points about the specific aspects of our city. Please do not follow anyone oering to lure you away from a main street under the pretext of selling something or inviting you into a club or other joint. The exception to this is the ordinary shopkeepers who have a habit of talking to and inviting tourists to their shops. What you want to do is up to you if the establishment looks respectable and the people decent. If you don’t want to deal with sellers or anyone for that matter, polite ignorance is the best way. Just say no and keep going on.

Please beware that like in any other metropole, people inviting you for a drink or dinner may seem friendly but there is always a chance that you end up paying a huge bill…

Note that all taxis have taximeters installed (either right beside the gear box or reflected on the rear view mirror). The meter starts standard at 4 Turkish Lira (TL) and charges 2.5 TL per km. The minimum amount they charge is 10 TL.There is no night rate.