Sounds of cymbals and jazz to rise from historic Samatya
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Istanbul’s old neighborhood Samatya is getting through a transformation process to draw more interest from local and foreign tourists. The festival is one of the parts of this process. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIKTo revive Samatya, an old and colorful neighborhood in Istanbul, the Fatih Municipality and the Research on Tourism Association (TURAD) has organized a festival in honor of famous cymbal maters, the Zildjian family, who migrated to the United States.
“Music in Samatya: Cymbal and Jazz” will be held in the historic neighborhood between June 6 and 8. It will feature Mercan Dede and the Istanbul Quartet on June 6, Erkan Oğur and Telvin on June 7 and Şevval Sam on June 8.
The Samatya project was initiated to support culture tourism and to revive the memory of some of Istanbul’s almost-forgotten historic areas, TURAD Chairman Bahattin Yücel said, speaking to Anatolia news agency.
Samatya pilot region
Yücel said new centers of attraction were necessary to increase Istanbul’s tourism revenues, and that they had chosen Samatya as the pilot region with the same goal, to highlight the neighborhood for local and foreign tourists.
He said they had designed a special logo for Samatya, renewed all restaurants in the neighborhood from their table sheets to service products, and also carried out improvement work for the famous Samatya Square. “Also, we have given education to artisans there to increase their service quality. We published a book on Samatya to give to restaurants and hotels in the area and established a web portal, www.samatyameydan.com, to promote the neighborhood,” he said.
Cultural tours to Samatya have been organized and food and beverage sectors in the neighborhood have been taken under the control of an international institution, Yücel added.
“In this point, we see that enterprises in Samatya are full not only at weekends, but also day and night on weekdays. This shows that revenue can be increased by increasing service quality without increasing prices. The revenues of enterprises there increased by 350 percent within two years,” he said.
Yücel said TURAD was not only working with enterprises in Samatya but also with families living there. “With the collaboration of Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts, we organized a bottle case and string bag design competition with the theme of Samatya last year. Thirty-five students took part in the competition and the winner, Sinem Aktaş, was employed as the project coordinator. In this way, low-income women from 12 families living in Samatya are producing bottle cases and string bags. These products will be sold at the festival and income will be donated to the Samaya Association and Samatya Sports Club,” Yücel said.
The festival, which was organized for the first time last year, was attended by nearly 20,000 people, said Yücel. “Also, the fact that the vice president of the U.S, Joe Birden, last year shopped in the neighborhood during his visit increased the international recognition of the area,” he said.