Ataturk Cultural Center (AKM): Istanbul's Iconic Arts Venue

Istanbul is a city that stands out with its rich history and culture. It bears the traces of many civilizations throughout its thousands of years of history. This long and diverse history has made Istanbul one of the most important cultural centers in the world. The city contains artifacts from different periods on every corner. In particular, being the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empire has given the city a unique cultural touch. Buildings, museums, and works of art from these periods constitute the cultural heritage of Istanbul.

The city is one of the centers of its historical texture, modern culture, and art. International festivals, biennials, concerts, and exhibitions held every year make Istanbul a dynamic and vibrant cultural atmosphere. These events unite local and international artists, enriching the city's cultural life. The streets of Istanbul are full of modern galleries and art workshops with traditional artisans. These places keep the interest of both local people and visitors in art and culture alive.

Cultural events held in Istanbul include theatre plays, concerts, exhibitions, and festivals. These events attract locals and international visitors. The city's cultural dynamism brings together professionals in different artistic fields, art lovers, and cultural intellectuals. An essential part of Istanbul's dynamic cultural environment is the Ataturk Cultural Center, which plays a critical role in the city's cultural life. In addition to being a historical building, it hosts modern cultural events. This cultural complex, named after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was opened in 1969 and is located in Taksim Square. Considered one of the symbols of modernism, many famous artists and groups have used the Ataturk Cultural Centre over the years.

The Istanbul Tourist Pass® is a benefit pass designed for city visitors. It offers visitors a wide range of exploration opportunities by providing free or discounted entry to more than 100 of Istanbul's most popular tourist attractions. With various validity periods from 1 day to 10 days, the pass is economical and easy to use. It can save up to 80% compared to regular entrance fees. Istanbul Tourist Pass®, Istanbul's experienced tourist pass provider, has proven its quality with high customer satisfaction and user comments. Offering ease of planning, the pass allows visitors to explore the city's most popular attractions with a single pass. Istanbul Tourist Pass® is ideal for visitors who want to discover the city's cultural and historical riches. It is the best way to discover Istanbul. Thanks to this Pass, users can visit the city's major tourist attractions, enter museums, participate in tours, and enjoy special benefits. Istanbul Tourist Pass® is generally valid for a certain time and offers access to many different tourist spots for the convenience of its users. So let's get back to the Ataturk Cultural Center, or AKM as Turkish people call it.

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About Ataturk Cultural Center


Standing out in Taksim Square, in the heart of Istanbul, the Ataturk Cultural Center (AKM) is one of the centers of the city's cultural and artistic life. With its modern architecture and rich activities, it offers unforgettable experiences to its visitors. This place has become an indispensable stop for everyone who wants to discover Turkey's cultural richness. Listen to a great FREE audio guide during your discovery around Taksim and Istiklal Street.


Ataturk Cultural Center is known for hosting various art events. Different events are organized, from concerts to theatre plays, dance shows to cinema screenings. Concerts of famous artists, world-class theatre plays, and international film festivals take place here. Visitors can have the chance to find an art event that appeals to every taste at Ataturk Cultural Center.

As you step into this magnificent building, you will be transported to a world where creativity and expression come alive. Our first stop is the Gallery, a space of 400 square meters dedicated to showcasing a diverse range of artworks. Here, you can explore paintings, sculptures, photographs, and various other forms of visual art, both from local Turkish artists and international talents. Take your time to immerse yourself in the colors, textures, and emotions conveyed by these masterpieces.

History of Ataturk Cultural Center

Ataturk Cultural Center has a history of being one of the symbolic buildings of Istanbul. The foundation of the building was laid on May 29, 1946, with a project drawn by architects Feridun Kip and Ruknettin Guney, but it could not be completed due to financial difficulties. Construction started again in 1956 with the project of architect Hayati Tabanlioglu, and it was finally opened as the Istanbul Palace of Culture on April 12, 1969. However, a fire soon destroyed the building during Arthur Miller's play "The Witch's Cauldron" on November 27, 1970. The building, which Hayati Tabanlioglu restored after the fire, was put into service again on October 6, 1978, and was used until the early 2000s.

The demolition of the Ataturk Cultural Center came to the fore in 2005 because it had completed its economic life. This proposal attracted great reaction, and the demolition was prevented with the intervention of the art and architecture circles. An attempt was made to restore the building, but during the 2013 Gezi Park protests, its roof was evacuated, and the police began using it as a logistics center. 2015, the vacant building was looted, and technical equipment was lost.


Ataturk Cultural Center was demolished in 2018, and construction of the new building started on February 10, 2019. The new complex has a total area of 95,000 m2 and consists of five sections: theatre, cinema, concert halls, exhibition center, congress hall, library, museum, art gallery, cafe, and restaurants. Hayati Tabanlioglu's son, Murat Tabanlioglu, designed the new building. The New Ataturk Cultural Center was officially opened on October 29, 2021.

Sections of Ataturk Cultural Center

Ataturk Cultural Center, which draws attention with its modern architecture and rich event program, opens its doors to art enthusiasts with its three separate halls: Multipurpose Hall, Grand Opera Hall, and Theater Hall. These halls, each with unique features, host various events, from music to theatre, from opera performances to conferences.

Multipurpose Hall

The Ataturk Cultural Center's first stop is the Multipurpose Hall, which is designed to host various events. This multipurpose hall hosts a wide range of cultural events, from music concerts to dance performances, film screenings, and conferences. It is the heart of dynamic cultural gatherings and offers visitors a variety of artistic experiences.

The Grand Opera Hall

Prepare to be awe-struck as we enter the grand Opera Hall. With a seating capacity 2040, this opulent venue is a testament to Turkey's appreciation of the performing arts. From breathtaking operas to symphony concerts, the Opera Hall provides an enchanting setting for unforgettable performances. The acoustics are carefully designed to ensure that every note resonates with perfection.

The Theatre Hall

Lastly, we have the Theatre Hall, capable of accommodating 781 eager spectators. This space is where the magic of theatre unfolds, bringing captivating plays, musicals, and dramatic performances to life. Whether you are a seasoned theatre enthusiast or a first-time attendee, you will surely be captivated by the compelling stories presented on this stage.

Events in Ataturk Cultural Center

Ataturk Cultural Center continues to be a center of attraction for those who want to discover the rich world of cultural events and art. With its historical building and wide facilities, it hosts people of all ages and cultures and offers unforgettable experiences.

Music and Concerts

Ataturk Cultural Center is filled with concerts of internationally famous artists and ensembles. A wide repertoire is offered, ranging from classical to contemporary music, from Turkish folk to world music. Concerts held every month offer music lovers a privileged experience.

Theatre and Performances

Turkey's leading theatre groups and independent theatre groups perform on Ataturk Cultural Center stages. Plays of different genres, such as drama, comedy, musical and experimental theatre, offer art lovers a wide range of options.

Exhibitions and Art Events

For those interested in visual arts, Ataturk Cultural Center hosts events showcasing works from different art branches, such as painting, sculpture, and photography. Works of local and international artists meet art lovers and create a cultural exchange environment.

Dance and Performing Arts

Modern dance shows, folk dances, and world dances take the stage at Ataturk Cultural Center and fascinate dance enthusiasts. Nationally and internationally recognized dance companies provide unforgettable moments to the audience with their masterful performances.

Fire of Anatolia Dance Show

One of the important events held at Ataturk Cultural Center is the Fire of Anatolia Dance Show. The rich culture of Anatolia inspires this show, which blends traditional Turkish dances with a modern approach. Colourful costumes, impressive music, and the performances of professional dancers give the audience unforgettable moments.


Fire of Anatolia is a world-famous dance show based on ancient mythology and cultural heritage. Founded in 2001, the group offers a unique synthesis of traditional Anatolian folk dances, ballet and modern dance. Their mission is to spread Anatolia's love, peace and cultural heritage to the world. Watched by over 50 million people in more than 100 countries, Fire of Anatolia has achieved great international success and has become one of the world's leading dance groups.

Fire of Anatolia is offered exclusively for Istanbul Tourist Pass® visitors and offers a privileged experience with discounted VIP tickets. Those who visit Ataturk Cultural Center to watch this unique dance show have the opportunity to spend an unforgettable night with this fascinating performance inspired by Anatolia's deep cultural roots.

Beyoglu Culture Route Festival

Every year, the Beyoglu Culture Route Festival is held in various venues in the Beyoglu district to celebrate the city's cultural and artistic diversity. Ataturk Cultural Center is one of the centers of this colorful festival. The festival includes concerts, dance shows, theatre plays, and many other events in the fascinating atmosphere of the Ataturk Cultural Center. Anyone who wants to discover the historical and modern texture of Beyoglu can experience the lively cultural life of the city by attending this festival.

At Ataturk Cultural Center, cultural exchange knows no boundaries. In addition to hosting events by established institutions, this venue opens its doors to joint and foreign productions. Artists and communities from Turkey and beyond celebrate art in various forms, fostering a spirit of unity and creativity that transcends borders. We encourage you to take the time to explore the Ataturk Cultural Center fully. Check the schedule for ongoing and upcoming events to maximize your visit. Whether you have a passion for visual arts, music, or theatre or appreciate the power of creativity, this cultural hub has something special in store for everyone.

We hope you enjoy visiting the Ataturk Cultural Center and have a memorable and enriching experience. Immerse yourself in the beauty of arts and culture in this extraordinary venue.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of experience can I have at Ataturk Cultural Center?

Ataturk Cultural Center is a unique cultural hub, offering visitors a diverse range of experiences. Immerse yourself in the visual arts, music, and theatre, with a 400-square-meter gallery showcasing a wealth of artistic talent, and grand opera and theater halls hosting unforgettable performances.

What artworks and performances are exhibited at Ataturk Cultural Center?

Ataturk Cultural Center hosts theatre plays, opera, concerts and dance performances. It also showcases paintings, sculptures, photographs and other visual artworks by local Turkish artists and international talents.

How to get to Ataturk Cultural Center?

Since Ataturk Cultural Center is located in the center of Istanbul, it can be easily reached by many public transportation options. Since it is located in Taksim Square, there are metro, bus and taxi options.

Are there activities for children at Ataturk Cultural Center?

Yes, Ataturk Cultural Center also organizes special events for children. These include children's theatres, interactive art workshops, and cultural events that the family can enjoy.


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