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Exciting array of events planned this summer in Turkey

June 30, 2017 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Summer is an exciting time in Turkey for the cultural enthusiast looking to experience a diverse range of music, art or dance. The destination’s summer events and festivals delight and entertain with the classics of jazz and ballet to the unique art forms of sand sculptures and oil wrestling.

Please find below a sampling of Turkey’s most iconic events and festivals. Let me know if you’d like any additional information on cultural happenings in Turkey or if the destination is a fit for anything you are currently working on.

Antalya Sand Sculpture Festival

Through November 15

The Antalya Sand Sculpture Festival, is considered one of the largest sand events in the world, by the size of its sculptures and the area they occupy. Each year, thousands of people visit the exhibition to watch as a group of sand sculptors from all over the world join to give shape to 10,000 tons of sand in an area of 10,000 square meters. Sandland, as the festival is known, also incorporates a playful dimension with a space for sand sculpture activities, where each day, adults, teens and children may experience and show their creative abilities in this form of artistic expression. 

Istanbul Jazz Festival

July 4 – 20

The Istanbul Jazz Festival, now in its 24th year, will offer a festival experience full of discoveries with more than 50 concerts including veterans and new discoveries of jazz, well-known ensembles of world music and new horizons of contemporary music. The festival program includes a range of jazz, funk, world music, blues and rock performances, with highlights including “Beyond The Memory” concert where famous stars will pay tribute to the cult flamenco guitarist and composer Paco De Lucia, the young star of vocal jazz Kandance Springs, masters Jacky Terrasson & Stephane Belmondo, one of the legendary names of European jazz Nik Bärtsch, and two delightful voices from Africa Fatoumata Diawara and Hindi Zahra. The “JUNUN” project, which had been initially led by Radiohead’s guitarist Jonny Greenwood, is among the guests of this year’s festival. To learn more, visit

Cappadocia Music Festival

July 5 – 9

Cappadocia Music Festival is a music festival that takes place at multiple locations in Cappadocia. The inaugural festival will feature a variety of choirs, orchestras and acoustic ensembles.  Cappadocia is the ancient name of a large region in the center of Anatolia, although when we speak of Cappadocia today we refer specifically to the valleys of Goreme and Urgup, with their natural pinnacles and rock churches. 

Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Tournament

July 10 – 16

Featuring a uniquely Anatolian sport where oiled athletes in villages across the country vie for the title of last man standing, the Kırkpınar oil wrestling festival is a major national event that has been held in the start of summer since the mid-14th century. Hundreds of Turkish oil wrestlers compete in a variety of categories in what is the oldest continuously running, sanctioned sporting competition in the world. In addition to holding the Guinness World Record for being the longest running sports event in history, the Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival was also added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2010. This revered national sport involves the fittest of Turkish youth and astonishing amounts of olive oil to prevent the opponent from getting a good grip.

International Bodrum Ballet Festival

July 18 – August 12

The annual festival in Bodrum, organized by the Turkish State Opera and Ballet is now in its 15th year and presents the finest examples of world-renowned ballet repertoire as well as original works of art of Turkish ballet. The festival raises the same high levels of excitement and emotion every year as each performance achieves a high occupancy rate, proving that Turkish audiences and tourists are hungry for this stunning art event. Performances are taking place during July in Bodrum’s historic castle of the Knights of St John. The festival is held in Bodrum, one of Turkey’s top vacation destinations, well known for its beauty.

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