Lonely Planet Writer

'Music halls' set to be permanent features on ferries in Istanbul

Ferry commutes in Istanbul are set to become a lot livelier – because “music halls” have been introduced on ferries in which groups and singers can perform to passengers.

Music halls have been introduced on Istanbul's ferries.
Music halls have been introduced on Istanbul’s ferries. Image by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Istanbul’s public ferries are one of the loveliest ways to get between different parts of the city and musicians have long performed on board – but this is the first time they have been given an official spot from which to play. Music halls will open on Şehir Hatları [City Line] Ferry Services’ six routes – Beşiktaş to Kadıköy, Karaköy to Kadıköy, Eminönü to Kadıköy, Üsküdar to Eminönü, and Haliç to the Princes’ Islands.

Yakup Güler, the general manager of Şehir Hatları, said they received a large number of applications. Some 25 acts, comprising 63 musicians, now have the right to perform. They will be playing instruments including the guitar, the cello, the ney (reed flute) and classical kemençe (a stringed folk instrument). Güler told the Daily Sabah: “the musicians will represent Istanbul’s diverse cultural scene. We also respect passengers who wish to have a more silent trip, [but] the music hall is open to all passengers who want to enjoy music performance while travelling”. Musicians will be given a performance schedule and will take it in turns to entertain passengers.