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Pazartesi, 5 Aralık 2022
Pazartesi, Aralık 5, 2022
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THE ROUTE
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🗺 Soli is at the 17th Istanbul Biennial: Zeytinburnu

Six neighbourhoods to host the 17th Istanbul Biennial: Balat, Çemberlitaş, Sıraselviler, Tophane, Yeldeğirmeni, and Zeytinburnu. We are wandering the city we live in as travellers. Today the route takes us to Zeytinburnu
Together with Koç Holding x İstanbul Bienali

Koç Holding welcomes art enthusiasts to the 17th Istanbul Biennial Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) since 1987 and sponsored by Koç Holding since 2007, the 17th edition of the Istanbul Biennial continues. The Biennial, which will be open to public visit until 20 November , is prepared with a different approach in this edition due to the pandemic precautions as well as its one-year delay. The 17th Istanbul Biennial meets its viewers in various spots of the city such as bookstores, hospitals, nursing homes, cafes, metro stations, and Açık Radyo. An avid supporter of culture and arts, Koç Holding is happy to sponsor the Istanbul Biennial by 2036. To find the short film focusing on the healing and transformative qualities of art, you may visit this link.

Learn more

Between 17 September and 20 November, we stroll around Balat, Çemberlitaş, Sıraselviler, Tophane, Yeldeğirmeni and Zeytinburnu for the 17th Istanbul Biennial. This year’s Biennial takes its inspiration from compost, a natural fertilisation method in which many different organic wastes are brought together and decomposed. We stroll around these neighbourhoods one more time, but this time for the Biennial, we enter streets we frequent less and peek through the doors of the buildings whose names we have just heard of. This time, we let our eyes roam over the city we are native of, like travellers. When our feet get tired, but not our minds, we catch our breath in a café where locals sit. It is the curiosity that makes our feet stand back up again. We feel homely and then unhomely again. We swing around the authentic and the cliché, the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, the nostalgic and the futuristic, between the black and the white of the six neighbourhoods where the 17th Istanbul Biennial is spread. 

‘Can the streets be audible and/or silent narrators of the neighbourhood at the same time?’. This question is on our minds as we traverse the streets again and again. We continue on our route through artisan and artist workshops, streets, parks, restaurants, shops, and cultural centres to better understand and read the neighbourhoods and become a participant in their everyday culture.

Our new friend at Zeytinburnu Medicinal Plants Garden


Today, we discovered Zeytinburnu Medicinal Plants Garden and we were mesmerised by its plants. We ordered ourselves blackberry ice cream at Rumeli Tatlıcısı. But the day is not over yet. We will buy turmeric sourdough bread from Merkez Efendi Fırını, and we will set the sun in the International Peace Park (Uluslararası Barış Parkı).

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Soli team

THE ROUTE

The Zeytinburnu route from the animal shelter to the ice rink

We started the day with the essential and fixed oils and fresh scent produced from the plants in the Medicinal Plants Garden.

Biennial venues

Zeytinburnu Medicinal Plants Garden (Tıbbi Bitkiler Bahçesi)Located in Merkez Efendi District and open to the public, the Medicinal Plants Garden has a total of 700 medicinal plants originating from Turkey and other countries. It is open every day and admission is free. It’s a non-commercial garden. It offers courses for preschool children above 2 years of age, professional groups, herbalists, art institutions, schools and pharmacists. It is also a garden for festivals and animal lovers take courses here. Designers and photographers also frequently visit the garden. In short, whatever and whoever you are looking for is here. The oils extracted by the garden’s plants are waiting for you at the entrance. You can also learn more about the benefits of the oils from the staff, do not hesitate to ask them.

Who knows what this is called?


Cultural centres

Cocoon by CIF: Contemporary Istanbul — Art, Culture & Education Foundation. Lastly, it hosted Ebru Ceylan’s photography exhibition entitled ‘Dünyanın Gecesi (Earth’s Night)’. We are looking forward to the next one to be hosted here.

Yedikule Hisarı Museum: If you want to walk through Ottoman and Byzantine history, this museum is for you. You can get on and off Marmaray on a Saturday and treat yourself to an open-air museum.

It's looking splendid


Yedikule Animal Shelter: Watery eyes, high-pitched voices, and paws coming over you. We know you want to adopt them all. But for today, it is more than enough to welcome one to your place.

Lokanta, cafés and eateries

Rahmi Usta: Piyaz and grilled meatballs await you right next to Merkez Efendi Millet Kıraathanesi. It sounds like the best menu ever for a break, doesn’t it?

Rumeli Tatlıcısı: Signature ice cream flavours in summer, tulumba in winter. Blueberry ice cream is our favourite but to be honest, we would not miss the chance to have their trileçe.

Crunchy on the outside, soft in the inside. This is called "tulumba"


Pidebank: Its pide (pita) with kasseri accompanied with tomato salad is too good to be true.

Ciğerhane: Thinly-sliced and fried liver with sumac onions. Mouth-watering, isn’t it? Our thoughts, exactly.

Shops

Merkez Efendi Bakery: Too hot to handle. Einkorn bread. But their speciality is turmeric sourdough bread. Grab one and take it to your loved ones.

Buildings

Monastery of the Life-giving Spring: Its original name is Zoodochos Pege, meaning ‘life-giving spring’. The Black and redfish in the pool are so beautiful that it is definitely a must-see. You can also get free water in small bottles on the stairs next to the pool.

Make a wish


Parks and greeneries

Zeytinburnu Ice Rink: You can have your free entry by giving away recycling materials to the municipality’s waste truck. Feel free to fall on the ice, we promise we will not laugh.

International Peace Park: It is one of the parks built by the International Peace Garden Foundations that was established 18 years ago in the United States. The country where the Peace Garden is opened determines the next country where another Peace Garden is going to be built. So Bosnia and Herzegovina is next. The benches in the garden look like they were built to enjoy the sea view and spend time reading. Another name, or to put it correctly, the old name of the garden renowned for its tulips is ‘Bulbous Plants Parks’. Do not be puzzled if someone tells you one of its older names as a meeting point, ay!

Click here to reach the map from Google Maps.

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Zeytinburnu Medicinal Plant Garden

A completely different production site, very close to central Zeytinburnu.

It is indeed healing to inhale the scent of the green and to walk through 710 different kinds of plants. After walking for a while, Tuğçe greeted us. We sat cross-legged while waiting to hear about the Medicinal Plant Garden, which has been healing the hood for 17 years, from Tuğçe who has been a local for 10 years.

What kind of garden is this?

As the very first garden of medicinal plants of both Zeytinburnu and Turkey, it is also an icon of the hood. There are 710 types of plants in this thematic park. We are open to all plants coming from outside and the gifted ones of course. We take everything, seeds, seedlings, and even pieces of branches. This is crucial to sustain plant diversity and contribute to the biogenetic cycle. We also have a seed bank here. We try to ensure the continuity of the plants with packing and safekeeping. First, we take the coming plants under preservation to heal, then we give a start to their journey by planting them to make sure they find their rightful place in the garden.  

Why is the garden in Zeytinburnu? 

Because here is the healing house of Zeytinburnu. Merkezefendi tomb, the mosque, the area to make mesir macunu (mesir paste), and the hospital all reside here. This is a spiritually strong place; therefore, it is therapeutic. Balıklı Rum Armenian hospital and its church are located here as well. The water of the church is said to be good for the eyes. When such healing places come together, I can’t help but think that establishing a medicinal plants garden somewhere else would be a misfortune.

Tuğçe


In what ways do Tıbbi Bitkiler Bahçesi and Zeytinburnu feed into each other? How does this relation in between take shape?

The garden has a collective structure. It expands and takes its shape along with the hood. Both the hood and the garden learn a lot from each other. For instance, we feed animals together. Too much sorrel (rumex acostella) and purslane (portulaca oleracea) grow here. If not collected periodically, they can lead to some problems for us. During plant collecting, locals volunteer to team up with us to collect the sorrel and purslane. Everybody takes their share home to use for cooking. Such collaborative activities are entertaining for children, too. 

Each and every part of the plants is healing. It is precious to examine and observe them. The garden’s diversity is turning it into a ‘practice garden’ where medical doctors are being educated. Being open to anyone and carrying out the process of learning with everyone are the main advantages here. There are about 140 different seminars, workshops, and courses offered in the garden. There are both paid and free educations for not only adults but also children. For instance, children can directly observe the plants they learn about in Angiospermae (flowering plants) and Gymnospermae (seed-producing plants) classes in high school. 

We have fixed and essential oils we acquired upon the recommendations of phytotherapy and aromatherapy professors. When purchased, we certainly provide information about how to use them because in fact, they are medicine and they need to be handled carefully. This garden is a source of sharing and healing in every aspect and it increases what it already has by sharing.

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Yedikule Animal Shelter


We are now drawing our next route with what we have collected in our pockets. The journey is long, we are cordially looking forward to meeting with you in other places, running into each other, and sitting around the same table. We have decided to have some essential and fixed oils from the Medicinal Garden to rest our souls and body to gather our energy for next week’s neighbourhood. Where do you think we are heading?

Today's sponsor

Koç Holding welcomes art enthusiasts to the 17th Istanbul Biennial


Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) since 1987 and sponsored by Koç Holding since 2007, the 17th edition of the Istanbul Biennial continues.

The Biennial, which will be open to public visit until 20 November, is prepared with a different approach in this edition due to the pandemic precautions as well as its one-year delay.

The 17th Istanbul Biennial meets its viewers in various spots of the city such as bookstores, hospitals, nursing homes, cafes, metro stations, and Açık Radyo. 

An avid supporter of culture and arts, Koç Holding is happy to sponsor the Istanbul Biennial by 2036. To find the short film focusing on the healing and transformative qualities of art, you may visit this link. 

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A weekly journal of neighbourhoods to dig into urban culture, people stories, and sociocultural dynamics. In every issue, we meet an inhabitant in their hood where they live, create or belong.

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