• Explore an extraordinary museum with everyday ephemera curated by a Nobel laureate
  • Find a variety of vintage delights on the winding streets of Çukurcuma
  • Try a family-run lunch spot for tastes of the past or a 21st-century botanical café

The Museum of Innocence is an extraordinary melding of fact and fiction: while writing his eponymous novel, Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk scoured the antique shops of Çukurcuma for everyday ephemera from Istanbul dating from 1950 to 2000. These cigarette cases and hair clips, faded photographs and lottery tickets made their way into his book—and then into this museum, a poignant eulogy to a lost love and a changing city. But even today, Çukurcuma’s steep and winding streets are stuffed with vintage delights. Even the local lunch spot, Çukurcuma Köftecisi—a family-run diner dedicated to the humble meatball—seems to be from another era. But there are flashes of 21st-century Istanbul, too: At Muz, a “botanical café,” you can pick up a cactus with your cappuccino, while at Munferit, a sultry meyhane-speakeasy, owner Ferit Sarper’s family produces the triple-distilled Beylerbeyi raki (not for the faint of heart). We think it might be safer to stick to the passion-fruit martinis.

For this extraordinary experience, make your way to the Çukurcuma neighborhood. Find the museum where Palaska Sokak intersects with Çukur Cuma Caddesi. Follow Çukurcuma’s steep and winding streets to find the rest of the retro shops and cafés.

MUSEUM OF INNOCENCE: Çukurcuma Caddesi, Dalgıç Çıkmazı, 2; +90-(0)212-252-9738; en.masumiyetmuzesi.org

ÇUKURCUMA KÖFTECISI: Çukurcuma St. Hacıoğlu Sokak No: 1/A; +90-(0)212-245-0833; cukurcumakoftecisi.com

MUZ: 18/A Hayriye Caddesi; +90-(0)212-243-2262; muz.se

MUNFERIT: Yeni Çarşı Caddesi No:19; +90-(0)212-252-5067; munferit.com.tr​​​