istanbul-mosquesLeading American daily newspaper, The New York Times announced “The 31 Places to Go in 2010”. Two Turkish destinations;  Istanbul  and Çeşme are in the list.

New York Times says,

Istanbul

The reputation of Istanbul’s contemporary art scene has been steadily growing in recent years, with the Web site ArtKnowledgeNews.com recently calling it “one of the most innovative in the world.” That reputation is bound to be burnished even more this year, now that Istanbul has been named the 2010 European Capital of Culture (a designation it shares with Essen, Germany, and Pecs, Hungary).

There will be a series of events, gallery shows and stage performances throughout the city to mark the occasion. (A complete list of events can be found at en.istanbul2010.org/index.htm.)

But one of the best ways to get a crash course in what Istanbul’s leading artists are up to right now is to spend some time wandering around the Misir Apartments (311/4 Istiklal Cadessi), right on the busy pedestrian thoroughfare that cuts through the trendy Beygolu neighborhood. Inside this elegant, early-20th-century building are some of the city’s most cutting-edge art venues, like Galerist (http://www.galerist.com.tr/) and Gallerie Nev (http://www.galerinevistanbul.com/)

Afterward, head to the rooftop terrace and have a drink at 360 Istanbul, a stylish bar and restaurant that offers stunning views of the city’s skyline (360istanbul.com). – Stuart Emmrich

cesme-ilicaÇeşme

The next Bodrum? While revelers continue to descend upon that seaside retreat, another corner of Turkey‘s Aegean coastline has begun to emerge as a stylish alternative: the once-sleepy villages of the Cesme Peninsula. The main draw is Alacati, a sheltered beach town that last summer was the site of the Professional Windsurfers Association Slalom World Cup. Scheduled to open in the spring, the seven-room Hotel Nars Alacati (http://www.nars.com.tr/), set in a converted 19th-century mansion, promises to become the popular weekend gathering spot for Istanbul’s smart set, along with the adjoining garden restaurant, MesaLuna. – Andrew Ferren