Historic Istanbul dock now book-coffee-gift shop

Photo: Historic Istanbul dock now book-coffee-gift shop / Turkey

A building on one of Istanbul's historic docks, Katip Celebi, no longer functions as an aid to shipping. Instead, it now stands ready to receive visitors as a combined bookstore, coffee house and gift shop - the only one in the city dedicated to Istanbul, Anadolu agency reported.

The old building, which is in the district of Eminonu, has recently been turned into a book shop where people can enjoy a cup of coffee and a good read with a panoramic view of one of the most significant cities in history: Istanbul has served as the capital of four empires.

Local visitors and international tourists will find a broad range of souvenirs. All of them reflect the life, history, and beauty of Istanbul, and they are sold under the brand name Hediyem Istanbul -- My Gift Istanbul -- which was created in 2013 to promote the city with various gifts, including bags, cups, purses, notebooks, pens, magnets, bottles, and more.

"Let's imagine that you are planning a day out with your whole family," Fatih Yavas, Istanbul Culture and Art Products Inc. Co. Projects Manager, told The Anadolu Agency. "The father plans to read a book or a journal while drinking a cup of coffee; mother wants to move away from housework and buy some souvenirs; and children are eager to be busy with children's books accompanied by their parents. Well, there is just the place: Istanbul Kitapcisi located in the historical port of Katip Celebi."

"With a new concept, we created a place for the coffee and book enthusiasts where they can also enjoy the great scenes of Istanbul with Camlica Hill on one side and Galata Tower on the other," he said. "Our aim is to please people here surrounded by books, coffee, and Istanbul-designed gifts."

Istanbul Kitapcisi, or The Istanbul Bookshop, which started publishing in 2005 has been selling books related to the culture, history, literature, arts, and civilisation of Istanbul, Turkey's economic, cultural, and historical heart.

Among its publications is a remarkable series called "Hundreds of Istanbul," including such books as "A Hundred Fountains of Istanbul," "A Hundred Newspapers of Istanbul", "A Hundred Buildings of Istanbul," "A Hundred Villages of Istanbul," and "A Hundred Architects of Istanbul'.

Yavas said the series had attracted great attention and that work was underway to publish more books in the series.

"Istanbul Kitapcisi also offers many books in foreign languages which all tell something about this magnificent city, like 'Step by Step Istanbul: European Capital Of Culture,' 'The World Beneath Istanbul,' 'Istanbul: 8000 Years Brought to Daylight, Marmaray, Metro, Sultanahmet Excavations,' " he said.

Today, there are six branches of "Istanbul Kitapcisi" across the city, including the one in Istiklal Street of Beyoglu district, one in Kadikoy, another in the Panorama 1453 Historical Museum, two in Suleymaniye district -- and the newest one on the old Katip Celebi dock, which is the only one with coffee house and gift shop inside.

"A few new branches will be opened first in Besiktas port, later in Uskudar and Kuzguncuk districts," Yavas said. "We are now on the bottom rung of the ladder. There is a long way to go; we need to work hard to publish more books which will offer an insight into the history of Istanbul, which has been the center to many civilizations."

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