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Let’s face it – Istanbul is not among top literary cities, even if Turkish one and only Nobel Prize laureate in literature lives in it. That’s why anything related to books brings some of that special excitement to us who love them.

A few days ago, while rambling around the streets of Be?ikta?-Akatlar, a place that smelled of newly printed books and coffee caught my attention. I found myself in Minoa – a very, very special place for Istanbul because it so well combines interesting books, nice drinks, tasty food, and friendly staff.

Minoa – cafe bookstore in Akatlar

After only a few minutes, I felt at home, and hours passed with my laptop before I noticed it was time to go.

Yes, Minoa is becoming popular and it can easily get crowded, especially during the weekends. But weekdays are great if you want to have some work done, or just enjoy flipping through one of the books that are at display.

Please note that bringing books to your table is forbidden, which I welcome wholeheartedly. This is not a library in the end.

Bookworm’s heaven

They also have a rich English selection – a very encouraging detail for those English speakers who would like to go back to reading in this technology-dominated era.

All in all, it has a very pleasant atmosphere, and stimulating too!

I even dare to say that I enjoyed it more than Türk-Alman Kitabevi, my other favourite bookstore-café, which gets overcrowded at times.

Breakfast at Minoa

Let’s hope Minoa keeps its much-needed tranquility and ambiance.

Oh, and don’t forget to visit the downstairs section. Its book-filled brick walls will make you want to read them all at once.

Visit the downstairs section for more books

I wouldn’t mind if more of similar kinds of bookstores open their doors in this city that feels hungry for some soothing peace that only well-written words can give.

Until then, I will visit this one pretty soon again.


Text by Tanja Divjak

Photos by Billur Karabenli


When Billur moved from her hometown of Izmir to Istanbul at an early age, she immediately fell in love with its charm and uniqueness. Over the years, she became part and parcel of Cihangir – a zone heavily inhabited with expats and intriguing locals, where today she is known as the real expert of the neighbourhood. Also known as an animal rescuer, Billur currently owns two cats and one dog, all three of them saved from tough conditions on the streets.

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