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Salt Galata: One Of A Kind

Salt is a former bank converted into a modern museum that features a gallery, a café, and a library, where you can admire the building’s beautiful architecture while sipping your coffee and completing work. This historic structure, however, is not only known for its beauty but is also frequently visited for its alluring activities and mesmerizing history, which are equally important.

Situated in Karaköy, the building was designed by French-born Levantine architect Alexandre Vallauri for the Ottoman Bank and was originally used as the headquarters building of the Bank between the years 1892 and 1999. The building underwent various structural interventions over time, and it was put into service as Salt Galata in November 2011, following the re-functional work that revealed its unique architectural structure.

What does Salt Galata offer to its visitors? First and foremost, it houses Salt Research, a specialized library that offers access to an archive of physical and digital documents and resources to its visitors. This library is complemented by the museum’s visual practices, social life, and economic history. At Salt Research, users and researchers have access to a collection of over 100,000 print resources, from art to architecture to even economy and design. The space on Salt Galata’s ground floor contains 90 seats, but if you’re looking to conduct more in-depth research, you may also register at the Ferit F. Şahenk Hall on floor -1, which has 40 seats. With all its amazing offers, it’s only the cherry on top that all of these services are free of charge. Between Tuesdays and Saturdays, it’s open from 11 a.m. to 19 p.m., and on Sundays, it’s open between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. While the museum is open for the majority of the year, the 1st of January (New Year’s Day), 1st of May (Labor Day), and the first two days of Ramadan and Eid are exceptions.

As we can see, Salt Galata is, therefore, a mesmerizingly enjoyable place, and it must be visited. The question may arise: “If Salt Galata is this beautiful, are any other Salt locations worth a visit?” We shall learn now.

Salt Beyoğlu is a six-floor building located on Istiklal Avenue, built in the second half of the 19th century, under the name Siniossoglou Apartment. At the time, the ground floor was functioning for trading purposes, while the upper floors were used as residences. From the early 1950s, Beyoğlu’s residential population kept decreasing. As a consequence the residents slowly started to leave their places got taken by commercial, political, and artistic activities. After serving as the Ottoman Bank Archive and Research Center between 1997 and 2000, and as Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center between 2001 and 2010; in 2011, the building was repurposed to its current state.

Salt has been the apple of everyone’s eye for a while now, as it has become one of the best go-to spots on Istiklal Avenue, with its extreme variety and diversity in all kinds of activities from research centers to meet-up spots. Also, both Salt Galata and Beyoğlu have a bookstore named “Robinson Crusoe 389” on their first floor which is open during Salt’s visiting hours.

From history to art, Salt Beyoğlu is no less than Salt Galata, and perhaps, some can even prefer it as a better alternative over the location in Galata or just see it as another great spot to go to if one of the two gets too crowded. The entrance of Salt Beyoğlu is located on Istiklal Avenue, and right as you enter the building, you arrive at the ground floor, which is, in addition to the second and third floors, used for exhibitions. The Walk-In cinema, which is also at the entrance, hosts talks, screenings, speeches, workshops, and performances. Also both Salt Galata and Beyoğlu have a bookstore named “Robinson Crusoe 389” on their first floor which is next to a café open during Salt’s visiting hours.

As we mention Robinson Crusoe 389, it would ebe a crime not to mention Neolokal which serves as a gourmet restaurant in the evenings in Salt Galata and while the kitchen in the mezzanine and the winter garden on the fourth floor don't serve food they are always reserved for collaborative programs such as workshops or interviews with educators focusing on food and ecology. The prototype of the winter garden was designed by architect and artist Fritz Haeg in 2011 and was transformed into a permanent Winter Garden by Aslıhan Demirtaş in 2018. It’s a perfect place to clear your mind with the relaxing atmosphere of being surrounded by all types of different plants.

Salt is clearly a diverse place that may catch your interest, so I would say it’s worth paying a visit when in Istanbul or if you’re a researcher or student living here. If you still have questions or just are curious about all the information the exhibitions that Salt contains don’t worry, you don’t have to look any further than here. You can look at Salt’s social media accounts or websites to get more detailed information about the workshops and activities hosted there. In the heart of Beyoğlu, in Salt, history, art and culture converge, creating an unforgettable and captivating experience. Salt awaits!

Works Cited:

Salt Online, Salt Galata, Accessed 27 Nov. 2023

Salt Online, Salt Research, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023

Salt Online, Salt Beyoğlu, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023Salt Galata: One Of A Kind


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