Berlin is a swamp: literally, figuratively, and etymologically (Brlo - old Slavic for swamp). It will suck you down if you are not careful - and sometimes you just need to escape to save your soul.  I have been plotting my escape for a while now, even without knowing it. Sometimes I think Belgrade would be a nice place to get ...

At five in the morning a wailing comes up from the valley below as one mosque after another broadcasts the call to prayer, a coagulating chorus joining up together in one unified lament – Allāhu akbar,  Allah, Ash-hadu an-lā ilāha illā allāh, Ash-hadu anna Mohamadan-Rasul ullāh……  It is weird and unearthly, and as I lay in my bed,  listening to this otherworldly ululation coming ...

Whenever I visited my grandmother in Istanbul, Aksaray, I simply had to check out the scene on Istiklal Caddesi.  Mostly, I walked there. Back then there was no tram and I didn’t really fancy taking the bus. So I walked past Istanbul University, where my mother studied, then either through Kapalı Çarşı (Grand Bazaar) or past the Sultan Ahmet Cami ...

**** The intimacy of hearing – and seeing - Baba Zula live has lately surpassed the experience of listening to some of their latest studio albums. As time has gone by the songs of Istanbul’s celebrated underground psyche band, seem to get less and less distinguishable from one another.  In all fairness, Baba Zula has always been against the traditional ...

It must be love! by @denizdenden This production is a utopia in dystopian times. Shantel & Cümbüş Cemaat's album “Istanbul” open up a utopian space between Frankfurt-on the-sea and Istanbul on the Bosphorus. Here a new attempt is being made to create – with respect and devotion – a  new dialogue between pop cultures.  “Dialogue of cultures”, that sounds a bit trite, ...

When it comes to Istanbul’s nightlife, many usually think of Taksim – that  stretch of European Istanbul, north of the Golden Horn, intersected by the Istiklal Caddesi  a pedestrian thoroughfare which slices  through the district of Beyoğlu from Taksim square in the north to Tünel in the south.   Here, and in its dozens of tributaries and small, dark side streets, was where – up ...