Istanbul’s newest center for artistic and cultural activities welcomed on Friday its first visitors, including first lady Emine Erdoğan and Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.
Established by the Turkish conglomerate Kalyon Holding to support cultural productions of artists, Kalyon Kültür opened its doors in a historic mansion known as “Taş Konak” in the upscale Nişantaşı neighborhood in Istanbul's Şişli district.
Istanbul Gov. Ali Yerlikaya, Kalyon Holding Board Chairman Cemal Kalyoncu and Kalyon Kültür founder Sena Kalyoncu were among the distinguished guests from the business, culture and media scenes for the opening event.
Following a brief opening ceremony, participants toured the “Kökler” (Roots) exhibition by photographer Ahmet Polat, who was named “Young Photographer” at the 22nd Infinity Awards held by the prestigious International Center of Photography (ICP).
Born in southeastern Turkey’s Gaziantep province but currently living in the Netherlands, Polat traced his roots back to his native village in southeastern Gaziantep province through a journey he made with his father back in 2019. The exhibition will be open until June 21.
Dubbed a “social gathering venue,” Kalyon Kültür will host regular events starting March 9. The late Ottoman-era building was constructed on the behest of Sultan Abdülhamid II in 1889 and allocated to vizier Mehmet Raif Pasha. His daughter İhsan Raif Hanım (1877-1926), who wrote the lyrics of the Turkish classical cult song “Kimseye Etmem Şikayet” (I Don't Complain to Anyone), used the mansion for literature and arts gatherings for a long time.
During the Republican era, the mansion was used as the Şişli branch of “Halkevi” (People's House) cultural organization. It then served for many years as Şişli district's governorate headquarters. In 2013, the building was restored by the Istanbul Governorate and transferred to the Directorate General of Foundations, which rented the historic mansion to its current owner in 2019.
The five-story mansion includes Baroque adornment, and its backyard has been recently fitted with a demountable winter garden.
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