Childhood
Entertainment for Adults
Sports
Celebrations/Festivals

Plays and Entertainment

“Childhood” is the first word that comes to mind when someone mentions “play.” However, 50-60 years ago, in the neighbourhoods and on the streets of Istanbul, it was possible to see not only the children but also young people jumping rope and playing ball games. While in some neighbourhoods of Istanbul it was unusual to see women outside their homes, in the beaches "boys and girls" used to play water polo or there were even women's football teams. Today, the plays of both the adults and the children are different and were replaced by computer games. The boys in a neighbourhood no longer take the daughters of their neighbours to dancing, the families do not go to open-air movie theatres. Some of the ball games are found to be only in personal narratives. The same is true for children who were taught to swim in the Bosphorus tied with a rope around their bellies, the swimming contests, clubs and tea gardens, open-air movie theatres, balls and dances, home parties, and other similar entertainment events. 

In early 19th century, theatre, cinema, and revues were the most popular performing arts in the entertainment life of Istanbul. By the second half of the 19th century, Istanbul began to have more of European style entertainment. Alongside the traditional a-la-turca coffee houses, there were modern cafes in Pera, bars and music clubs in Galata, as well as the early forms of today's nightclubs. Places such as Cafe Alkazar where pantomime shows were performed, and restaurants and pubs were opened in the Princes Islands and along the Bosphorus.

During the Republican era, artistic performances such as cinema, theatre, opera, ballet, concerts, music etc. and also restaurants, clubs, bars, cafes and pubs have come to occupy a central place in the entertainment life of Istanbul. In 1960s, the discos called "clubs" came to the limelight. From 1990s on, the entertainment life in Istanbul has been no different than the European metropolises: There were concerts and shows by world famous music bands, orchestras, and the celebrities of the world of arts and entertainment in Istanbul attended by thousands of people and cultural organizations such as Istanbul music and film festivals flourished. 

Traditional recreation and excursion spots that were central to the entertainment life in the past either diminished in size or disappeared altogether with the expansion of housing projects and industrialisation.      

Source: Istanbul Encyclopedia

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