Santralİstanbul is on the site of the Silahtarağa power plant (Turkish: Silahtarağa Eletrik Santrali), the first electrical power station run by the Ottoman State, and was converted into a cultural and artistic center in 2007. Since opening it has hosted over 20 national and international exhibitions.
Affiliated with Santralİstanbul are the Museum of Energy(Turkish: Enerji Müzesi), which was built to preserve and exhibit the plant’s old power generators, as well as to host the Krek theater community, built with a special design in order to accommodate the site’s existing structures. In addition to these two buildings, a number of the plant’s former repair stations and storehouses have been turned into cafes and restaurants, as well as educational buildings for the Bilgi University.
With its large, well-groomed and grassy gardens the site is also home to some of Istanbul’s important festivals and concerts.
Except on holidays, there is always a free shuttle running to Santralİstanbul from the front of the Kabataş Ferry Dock (Turkish: Kabataş Vapur İskelesi).