Photo by Metin Oner
Salt Galata Art Center, IstanbulA multipurpose contemporary art center that opened in November 2011 in the Ottoman Bank building, Salt has a library with thousands of shelves of art publications—the most important, impressive collection in the city.—Sylvia Kouvali
AFAR Local Expert
over 3 years ago
Venture into Ottoman Vaults
SALT Galata, set in a restored 19th-century bank headquarters, has become a popular haunt for university students researching their latest assignment and cultural enthusiasts chasing art and photographic exhibitions. What attracts tourism to this ornate “Oriental meets neoclassical” building are the vaults of the former Imperial Ottoman Bank that now house the Ottoman Bank Museum. Founded in 1856, the Imperial Ottoman Bank functioned here from 1863 to 1924 when Istanbul was the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Today you can venture deep into the basement and wind your way through the labyrinth of corridors, rooms, and vaults to find displays representative of the Ottoman Empire’s 19th- and 20th-century economy. Bank notes, customer ledgers of Istanbul’s elite, and information about the Ottoman economy are all on show here for free. There are also views of the Gold Horn, as well as a chic research library, archives, a bookshop, a café, a rooftop restaurant, and exhibition spaces. Take a walking detour between Galata Tower and Karaköy Tram Station to find it, and combine the detour with a photo of the Kamondo steps, less than 70 feet away. The program of current events and exhibitions can be found on their website.
AFAR Local Expert
about 3 years ago
SALT operates two locations in Istanbul: Beyoğlu and Galata. Combined, they create an institution of innovation for art, research and experimental thinking with temporary and permanent exhibits, digital and print archives and cultural events open to the public. SALT Galata is housed in the former Imperial Ottoman Bank and has an intriguing museum displaying the relics of the Ottoman banking system in its basement. Cafés and bookstores in both locations offer respite from Istanbul’s hectic crowds.