Having spent some time abroad between Paris and San Francisco, Beyza’s journey with her jewellry pieces started in Italy, where she first created some for herself, but it later developed in Turkey - her homeland - that with its vineyards and culture is also a big source of inspiration for her artistry. Beyza will bring us around her favourite spots in Istanbul, a magical city which sits on the border between Europe and Asia.
Editor: Margherita Basso Photographer: Enrico Costantini
What makes Istanbul special to you?
Istanbul is a modern cosmopolitan city with a traditional touch, made of 16 million people. From Asia to Europe, it truly is a mosaic of history and people from different cultures. It’s a chaotic city but also fun, especially in the area where my atelier is located: the Grandbazaar. At Grandbaazar there’s a never-ending energy which makes it a unique place. I love its chaos; you have to love and know your way to work in Grandbazaar, otherwise you can get lost easily or feel out of place. Besides Grandbazaar, I love the areas of Bosphorus and Arnavutkoy, where I live and where Peracas store is located.
Where to find the best local artisans shops?
Grandbazaar, Cukurcuma, Kadıkoy and Beyoglu are my main favourite areas to find many local artisans and antique shops. I always like to go alone and discover cool new pieces for my house and the store. All the pieces that decorate the Peracas store are the objects which I collected from many of these places over years.
The perfect place to experience hammam and Turkish baths?
Kılıc Ali Pasa Hamamı is an old-time tradition but if you want to have more of a spa vibe and hammam experience, then Six Senses Kocatas has a great ambiance.
The most delicious restaurants for lunch and dinner?
I love traditional Turkish food so when I work at the Grandbazaar I usually go to Pandeli or to a more local and easier place: Aslan Restaurant. For dinner, my favourite is Aheste in Pera. Lately my Friday nights are spent at Arkestra which has a great menu but also a cool bar on the second floor. Cuma in Cukurcuma always offers delicious plates with a seasonal menu for lunch and dinner. My timeless favourite choice is always Karakoy Lokantası with a cosy ambiance and delicious Turkish mezes.
Tell us your favourite shops in the city
For shopping you should head over to Bebek, one of my favorite places in Istanbul. Midnight is a concept store in Bebek where you can find a beautiful mix of brands of clothes, jewels and home furniture. Selamlique Bebek is a small store where I always buy my chocolate covered almond, a Turkish delight I always keep at home and also bring as a gift to my foreign friends when I travel around. It's my little treat from Istanbul.
Ciragan Kempinski and Four Seasons Bosphorus are great and right next to Bosphorus. If you want to be closer to the "old city" in the heart of Istanbul, then I would recommend The Bank Hotel in Karakoy.
What are the best traditional experiences one cannot miss?
My first suggestion is to have a Turkish breakfast with a Bosphorus view, especially on a sunny day. One should also not miss a Hammam experience, which is the best treat after walking around the city for the entire day. Make sure you add to your notes Yerebatan Sarnici, also known as Basilica Cistern, it’s a magical place that gets me each time with its incredible ambiance. Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque are the not to miss signature places filled with history and architecture that anyone visiting Istanbul must see. Lastly, end your day with an aperitivo by the Bosphorus, followed by dinner and Turkish mezes, which is always the best way to end a beautiful day.
Give us some tips to taste the best street food
Around the Halic area there are many spots with fresh and delicious fish and bread. Doner kebab wrap is my all time favourite street food and you can easily find it in every neighborhood at a small canteen. Another Turkish dish to try is the Turkish bagel, the simit, paired with feta cheese and tomatoes.
We know you draw inspiration from your land for Peracas’ collections - are there any particular places in Turkey that come to your mind?
Not only places but the harem stories from the Ottoman period inspire me a lot. The Harem and Imperial Treasury at Topkapi Palace Museum is full of inspiration which is reflected also on Peracas pieces.
Your favourite escapes from the city?
Prince Islands are a group of 9 islands that lie southeast of the Bosphorus in the Sea of Marmara. It only takes 1 hour to get to them with a private boat or a ferry. My favourite is Burgaz. In Burgaz Island there is a restaurant called Kalpazankaya where you can watch the best sunsets while tasting amazing food. In summertime sometimes me and my friends take the boat during the day and end our day in Kalpazankaya, to get the feeling we are on vacation while still in Istanbul Province.
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