Capital of culture Istanbul marks year's halfway point and several successful festivals
Istanbul, one of the three European capitals of culture this year, has passed the halfway point of the year having attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors at a variety of festivals. The 29th International Istanbul Film Festival, which screened 218 films from 57 countries and held eight courses and cinema seminars during a two-week period, drew over 150,000 film lovers. Some 24,000 people also participated in the 17th International Istanbul Theater Festival, which saw performances by nine theater and dance groups from abroad and 30 plays from Turkey. The one-month festival featured 90 shows at 18 different venues, talks, and workshops. The 38th International Istanbul Music Festival also attracted some 20,000 people and featured 21 concerts from more than 600 Turkish and international artists. On July 1-20, the 17th International Istanbul Jazz Festival turned Istanbul into a city of jazz with more than 50 concerts and 300 musicians from Turkey and worldwide, attracting more than 45,000 jazz lovers. The festival also featured the Jazz Boat and Tunel Festival for the first time. In the first weekends of the festival, 21 concerts were held at eight different venues as well as on two main stages in Tunel and Galata squares. Drawing great interest from the people of Istanbul, the Tunel Festival entertained some 15,000 people until the wee hours of the morning.