Coinciding with the country’s deanglicized rebranding of its name (which has been used by Turkish people since 1923), Turkiye’s most magical city is experiencing a renaissance of its own. Galataport, the result of a $1.7 billion harborside development in Istanbul’s historic Karakoy neighborhood, is home to the world’s first underground cruise terminal, where passenger services are tucked below a waterfront promenade, with shops and restaurants. Cruise ships departing or arriving at the new port include MSC Fantasia, with departures starting in September, Viking Sky, Seabourn Encore, and Seven Seas Explorer.
Right after the New Year, the highly anticipated new Peninsula Istanbul will open in the Galataport. Also new on the scene: the JW Marriott Marmara Sea, a seafront luxury resort in Istanbul. Marriott is betting big on Istanbul’s allure, opening several new properties this year: Adahan DeCamondo Pera, Autograph Collection; Sheraton Istanbul Esenyurt; the Westin Nisantasi DeCamondo Galata, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel; and Burdock Hotel Istanbul, which will also be part of the Autograph Collection portfolio.
The city’s first contemporary art museum, Istanbul Modern, will return to its original location in Karakoy as part of the regeneration—in new premises designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Renzo Piano. Late last year, the Ataturk Cultural Center resumed operations for the first time in 13 years, after its old building was closed in 2008 and subsequently demolished. The reimagined space holds concert halls, theaters, a gallery, and a library.
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