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Over the previous three weeks, a festival of street art and graffiti Mural Istanbul has taken place in several different locations around Kadiköy.

Organized for the first time in 2012 as the first festival of its kind in Turkey, it has turned into an event that has adorned many walls with striking wall art, and made news all across the street art community worldwide.

Street art in Kuruçe?me, Istanbul

Since Mural Istanbul teamed up with the Kadiköy Municipality with the aim of revitalizing the somewhat asleep areas of Kadiköy – Yeldegirmeni area in particular – this neighbourhood sprung to life and became one of the creative hubs in the city.

Street art in Yeldegirmeni, Istanbul

Same initiatives have taken place in other now popular districts of Istanbul, mostly in Karaköy, Moda, and most recently Fener – Balat, where the combination of tradition and new art and lifestyle tendencies has yielded very creative outcomes. Today, Istanbul is increasingly becoming an ever growing street art gallery where you can enjoy original and often jaw-dropping pieces of wall art made by local and foreign street artists.

Street art in Çukurcuma, Istanbul

This year Mural Istanbul continued its tradition by hosting a famous Argentinian artist Chu whose playful mural you can see in Rasimpa?a Mahallesi, Halita?a Caddesi 57, and Turkish artists Ares and Lakormis stunning murals can be seen in Acibadem Mahallesi, Bedrettin Sokak 5, and Ismail Hakibey Sokak 39 (these are one next to another although technically in two different streets).

Street art by Lakormis (left) and Ares (right) in Kadiköy, Istanbul during Mural Istanbul festival

Tabone is still working as we are writing this in Osmana?a Mahallesi, Tulumaci Asim Sokak 10.

While foreign artists always bring a new spark onto our city walls, for us here, it is especially interesting to follow Turkish street artists and illustrators, who seem to be working around the clock lately, giving Istanbul streets a new look.

Turkey, and Istanbul in particular has seen an explosion of street art all over the city especially since the Gezi protests in 2013. Since then, many local street and graffiti artists have established themselves on the domestic and world street art scene.

Street art by HighHero in Karaköy, Istanbul

If you happen to see perfectly shaped circles crossed out with colourful lines, or inscriptions “This is my world”, most probably you have stumbled upon the work of Mr Hure

His easily recognizable geometric style street art can mostly be found in Cihangir, Balat and Karaköy areas.

Street art by Mr Hure and Rules in Cihangir, Istanbul


Leo Lunatic’s happy smiley faces, as well as impressively big murals of sometimes grumpy yet always cute pandas can hardly pass unnoticed.


Again, a lot of his street art can be seen around Karaköy, Cihangir and Galata areas.


Street art by LeoLunatic (left) and Mr Hure (right) in Karaköy, Istanbul


Istiklal street, Karaköy and Cihangir are adorned by playful cartoon style characters made by High Hero


Street art by High Hero in Cihangir, Istanbul


Gently imaginative and somewhat visionary world of Gamze Yalcin is at display mostly around Galata, Tophane, Karaköy and most recently Haliç coast.


And this is just to name a few from a growing pool of original and inspiring Turkish street artists who make our city more beautiful and more exciting every day.


Street art by Gamze Yalçin in Tophane, Istanbul


Therefore, do yourself a treat every now and then, and get lost in some of the less visited alleys of Istanbul neighbourhoods, where unexpected colourful surprises might brighten up your day in the most creative ways possible. Street art is huge and it is growing in Istanbul, and we are grateful to all the artists and organisations such as Mural Istanbul, who make our city walks more enjoyable.


Street art by Real Work in Karaköy, Istanbul











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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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