Salt Institution

Istanbul, Turkey | C.2011

Photo Credit: Yura Ukhorskiy

SALT is a Turkish cultural institution dedicated to objectivity that aims to provide an ideal environment for debate and learning. SALT also focuses on art, architecture, design and social histories. It largely functions as a museum featuring exceedingly thorough exhibitions on timely issues.

SALT has three different gallery locations in Turkey, the most prominent of which resides in the former Imperial Ottoman Bank building in Galata, Istanbul. SALT’s gallery spaces are all owned by Garanti Bank, the second-largest privately owned bank in Turkey.

Founded in 1856, when Istanbul was still called Constantinople, The Imperial Ottoman Bank was designed by French architect Alexandre Vallaury. The structure is cherished for its strangely distinct styles applied to opposite facades. One would expect the Neoclassical and Oriental designs to clash, but they instead maintain a stylistic balance.

This towering structure functioned as a state bank for nearly a century before it was privatized in 1952. Decades later, it was sold to the private conglomerate Dogus Group, and absorbed by its principle shareholder, Garanti Bank, in 2001.

Following renovations in 2009, Garanti Bank helped found the SALT institution and gave it a home in the restored Ottoman Bank. SALT opened its doors to the public in 2011, and offers a wide variety of exhibitions today, including the Ottoman Bank Museum, which documents the storied history of Turkey’s most prominent financial institution.

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