festivals in Türkiye
Art, Music, Dance, Theater, and Film Festivals
Türkiye offers a wide range of festivals in different genres. Whether it is art, music, dance, theater, or film festivals, Türkiye can add something special.
The İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) is an institution and member of the General Assembly of the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO. The İKSV regularly organizes the İstanbul Music Festival, the İstanbul Film Festival, the İstanbul Theatre Festival, the İstanbul Jazz Festival, the İstanbul Biennial, the İstanbul Design Biennial, the Leyla Gencer Voice Competition, the autumn film week Filmekimi, and realizes one-off events throughout the year.
The İzmir Foundation for Culture Arts and Education (İKSEV), which has brought important festivals to İzmir, organizes the International İzmir Festival and the İzmir European Jazz Festival every year.
Art lovers can easily find numerous outstanding performing arts festivals in different cities of Türkiye. Some of the prominent festivals that are organized by the Turkish State Opera and Ballet include the İstanbul International Opera Festival, the International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival, the International Ephesus Opera and Ballet Festival, the Bodrum International Ballet Festival, the Gaziantep International Opera and Ballet Festival, the Trabzon Opera and Ballet Days, and Eskişehir Opera and Ballet Days.
Art enthusiasts and film industry professionals can also discover film festivals in Türkiye. Türkiye’s oldest film festival, the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, which celebrated its 57th anniversary in 2020, is regarded as the “Oscars of Turkish Cinema.” Other prestigious and long-established film festivals that bring cinephiles together in Türkiye are the İstanbul Film Festival, the Ankara International Film Festival, the International Adana Golden Boll Film Festival, and the !f İstanbul Independent Film Festival.
Türkiye is also a popular destination for international music festivals and concerts. Numerous popular music festivals focusing on genres from jazz to electronic music are organized all around the country. The İstanbul Jazz Festival, the Akbank Jazz Festival, the İzmir European Jazz Festival, the International Ankara Jazz Festival, the Bozcaada Jazz Festival, the Bodrum Jazz Festival, the Urla Jazz Festival, the International Akra Jazz Festival, and the Kaş Jazz Festival welcome Turkish and international jazz performers annually. Chill-Out Festival, Electronica Festival, Sónar İstanbul, SunSplash, One Love Festival, and Cappadox are other pioneering music festivals that take place in Türkiye’s holiday destinations like İzmir, Bodrum, Antalya, Cappadocia, Bozcaada as well as in İstanbul all year long.
Turkish traditional festivals and events are very popular in the cultural life of Türkiye and attract the attention of locals and visitors alike who are curious about the country and its customs. Some of these unique festivals that take place in different regions of the country are:
The Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival is a 600-year-old traditional sports competition held in Edirne annually each June.
The Hıdrellez Festival is the celebration of the arrival of spring and takes place annually on May 6 in many different cities of Türkiye.
The Whirling Dervishes Festival (Şeb-i Arus) is held to celebrate one of the world's greatest philosophers and the father of the Mevlevi sect, Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi. The festival is organized in Konya each December and offers a great spiritual experience through the music and dance performances of the dervishes.
Camel Wrestling Festivals have been organized over the ages in many different Aegean and Mediterranean cities of Türkiye. The Selçuk Ephesus Camel Wrestling Festival is one of the most famous festivals and takes place each January. Camel wrestling has its origins in the nomadic tribes of Anatolia where camels were a part of daily life.
Manisa’s Mesir Paste Festival celebrates the recovery of Hafsa Sultan, the mother of Süleyman the Magnificent. It is believed that the sultan’s mother was cured by a paste that comprised of 41 different spices and herbs. Soon afterwards, the sultan ordered the distribution of the paste among the public to promote the people’s well-being.
Gastronomy is considered one of the main aspects of Turkish culture and tradition. Türkiye has a splendid gastronomic history and the Turkish cuisine is one of the most varied and rich in the world. Türkiye’s unique location combined with the migration of Turks over the centuries from Central Asia to Europe has shaped the identity of its gastronomy. The great diversity of fauna and flora in Türkiye have also contributed to the great variety in regional cuisines. Almost every region in the country has its own traditional cuisine, and novel gastronomical experiences await to be discovered and celebrated at the many inviting and exciting festivals.
Türkiye’s rich gastronomic offerings reach another level at festivals such as, the International Adana Festival of Taste in Adana; the GastroAntep International Gaziantep Gastronomy Festival in Gaziantep; the Bodrum Tangerine Harvest Fest and Slow Cheese Bodrum in Bodrum; the İzmir Gastrofest, the İzmir Coffee Festival, the Alaçatı Herb Festival, the International Urla Artichoke Festival in İzmir; the Bozcaada Calamari Festival and the Bozcaada Grape Harvest Festival in Bozcaada, Çanakkale; the GastroAntalya International Antalya Gastronomy Festival and the International Antalya Street Food Festival in Antalya; the 24Kitchen International Food Festival, the 101 Tastes of İstanbul Festival, and the İstanbul Coffee Festival in İstanbul; and the Ürgüp Grape Harvest Festival in Cappadocia.
Lifestyle Festivals and Events
Aside from the artistic and cultural events and festivals, there are also plenty of lifestyle festivals and events in Türkiye. From fashion weeks to boat shows, shopping fests to gastronomy conferences, countless events take place in Türkiye yearly.
Some of the major lifestyle festivals and events in Türkiye are the İstanbul Fashion Week, the İstanbul CNR Eurasia Boat Show, the Tuzla Boat Show, the International Bodrum Yacht Show, and the Marmaris Yacht Charter Show.
Mega Sporting Events and Competitions
Thanks to their pleasant climate, suitable geography, and infrastructure, many cities in Türkiye, especially İstanbul, host various international sporting events and competitions such as the Turkish Grand Prix – F1 Race, the International Presidential Yacht Races, the Bodrum Cup Yacht Race, the Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim, the Salcano Cappadocia Cycling Festival, the Salomon Cappadocia Ultra-Trail, the Veloturk Çeşme Granfondo, the Tour of Antalya, the Gallipoli Marathon, the İstanbul Marathon, the Lycian Way Ultra Marathon, the Marmaris International Race Week, the Presidential Cycling Tour of Türkiye, the TEB BNP Paribas İstanbul Cup, the Turkish Airlines Open, and the World Rally Championship.