This is how Istanbul is Presented in Ask-i Memnu Cine Travel

Whenever we talk about the Turkish soap operas, there is always a debate as the content shown in it is suitable for the masses or not. However, if we leave this discussion behind, there is a significant aspect which makes these soap operas a treat to watch and that is there cinematography and the production quality.

The drama Ask-i Memnu in this regard is a perfect example in which the production team has beautifully presented the city of Istanbul. Ask-i Memnu (English meaning: Forbidden Love) is an adaptation of Halit Ziya Uşaklıgil’s 1899 novel Aşk-i Memnu,which originally went on-air between 2008 and 2010. The soap opera is set in the modern Istanbul instead of the novel’s late 19th-century situation, and therefore the production team ensured that the city’s various locations pleasingly compliment the storyline. The success of this drama is visible from the fact that when Urdu 1 in Pakistan aired this soap opera with the name of Ishq-e-Mamnoon, it became a major hit with 11.9 ratings on its last episode. This drama was aired twice in Pakistan, becoming the first foreign drama to grab such high ratings in the country.

For the shooting purpose, the first important location shown in the drama is a mansion on the shoreline of Bosphorus in the Sariyer District of Istanbul. Bosphorus is a narrow natural strait that separates Asian Turkey from the European Turkey, and connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. This stunning mansion belongs to a Turkish billionaire Rahmi Koc, and was built in 1895 having three floors and ten rooms. The area that was once a fishing town long time ago, is famous for the seafood provided in its restaurants, and is dwelling to some of Istanbul’s affluent residents.

The second location that overall made huge impact in this play is the Bosphorus Bridge. It is one of the three suspension bridges spanning the Bosphorus strait, hence connecting Europe and Asia. The bridge extends between Ortakoy (in Europe) and Beylerbeyi (in Asia). Upon its completion in 1973, the Bosphorus bridge had the 4th-longest suspension bridge span in the world, and the longest outside the United States. Upon visit to Istanbul, it is considered a must see construction artifact.

The third location is none other than the Ziyagil House. This house is brilliant in many regards, it’s beautiful sofas, luxurious bedcovers and the elegant view of the Bosphorus is something that adds great value to this soap opera.

The fourth setting in the play is the Emek Manti restaurant, which is very much seen in the background during Bihter and Behlul’s clandestine scenes. Opened in 1988, Emek Manti is renowned for offering innovative variations in its menu, such as manti with pumpkin or spinach, or sauces that are typically served with pasta such as carbonara and pesto.

In short, if you are a diehard Ask-i Memnu fan, then these places should not be missed if you are planning a trip to Istanbul, Turkey.

Ahmed Raza is a frequent traveler and loves cricket. He has completed M. Phil in Mass Communication and works as Travel Editor for