The year 2023 marks an important milestone for Türkiye and its people. The establishment of the Turkish republic in 1923 marked a significant turning point in Turkish history, as it brought about several significant political, social and cultural changes; Istanbul's Cervantes Institute continues to strengthen the cultural ties between the two countries with a meticulous selection of events, bringing together Spanish-speaking countries' culture with that of Türkiye.
Achieving their primary objective, which is to promote and teach the Spanish language and culture to people all over the world as well as to foster mutual understanding and cooperation between different cultures, the Istanbul branch has recently organized an event in Spanish with a simultaneous translation in Turkish, unfurling a dazzling relationship with the architecture and vineyard culture.
Going beyond the boundaries of Madrid and Barcelona, two iconic cities of the country that most people believe reflect the essence of Spanish culture, the event has highlighted the country's deep-rooted culture in its various regions, whistly taking the audience to the serene plains of Rueda to La Mancha, the setting of Miguel de Cervantes' novel "Don Quixote," where the story began.
The great architect, Diego Llorente Dominguez, prioritized the importance of context in the works during the presentation. Like analyzing vineyards and with great respect to the soil, an architect can make the best use of the opportunities available to them, ultimately influencing the outcome of their work. Building materials also play a significant role in creating the desired impression of a building. Materials such as gray concrete may evoke more relaxation, while wood or brick might bring to mind warmer tones.
He also mentioned some iconic Pritzker Architecture Prize winners, such as Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Zaha Hadid and their works in Spain.
Meanwhile, the other speaker of the conference, Diego Martinez Aroca, the commercial director of the Martinez-Bujanda family, also highlighted the deep relationship of the architecture and its delicate contribution to their factories, how this unique project is implemented, integrating the buildings with the soil, making their every factory a living museum.
As I had the chance to attend this unique cultural regale, Istanbul Cervantes Institute's recently appointed director Fernando Vara De Rey Irezabal, who served as the director of institutional relations at the Sephardic-Israel Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the director of the Cervantes Institute in Krakow, signaled that there are more fascinating events to come throughout to year.
"It is a special year for Türkiye, the 100th anniversary of the Turkish republic, and Spain wants to witness this story. As an institute, we want to be close to dynamic scheduling in that sense, always with the help of the Spanish Embassy. For that reason, we will be seeing many cultural interactions, such as cinema, music, literature and gastronomy, with the collaboration of other Ibero-America embassies. The symbol of Cervantes Institute "Ñ" (pronounced 'enye') embraces all the Spanish-speaking community, and we strive to strengthen this bond," he said.
Especially over the past six months that the director took over the organization of the institute, I have personally witnessed that the institute has shifted away from its "language course" identity and steered toward being a more cultural organization, fulfilling the three missions of the institute – diplomatic, academic and artistic, of course.
Culture specialist David Duperier Blanco elaborated on the goals of the Istanbul branch: "Our organization is named after Miguel de Cervantes, the famous Spanish writer who wrote Don Quixote. The institute is headquartered in Madrid, Spain, and has branches in over 90 countries. Being a worldwide nonprofit organization founded in 1991 by the Spanish government, our institute's Istanbul branch reaches all Turkish people deeply interested in this culture."
"We will be organizing events directed by women and various activities with the collaboration of Peru and Panama Embassies in Türkiye," he added.