The Istıklal Avenue or Street is one of the most popular places in Istanbul. The Istiklal lies between Galata Tower and Taksim Square. Until 1988, the street was a road, and then the street was pedestrianized by the local government. The Taksim area was where the non-muslims lived during the ottoman empire, and they also provided water. Through the 19th century, many foreign ambassadors and consulates moved to Istiklal and Taksim area then they made it a trendy place. It is said that Istiklal and Taksim were the first places where westernization began in Turkey. Today, Istiklal Avenue and Taksim Square have lost nothing from their popularity. There are many branded stores, street food, live music, million people, art galleries, whirling dervishes, Madame Tussauds Museum, Pera Museum, bars, and restaurants that are open until the late time all along the street.
Taksim: Beyoglu ( Grand Rue de Pera) is an interesting example of a district with European-influenced architecture from a century before. Europe’s second oldest subway, Tunel, was built in 1875; it must also be one of the shortest, offering a one-stop ride to Taksim. Near to Tunel is the Galata district, whose Galata Tower became a famous symbol of Istanbul, and the top of which offers a tremendous 180-degree view of the city. From the Tunel area to Taksim square is one of the city’s focal points for shopping, entertainment, and urban promenading: Istiklal Street is a fine example of the contrasts and compositions of Istanbul; fashion shops, bookshops, cinemas, markets, restaurants, and even hand-carts selling trinkets and simit (sesame bread snack) ensure that the street is packed throughout the day until late into the night. The old tramcars re-entered into service, which shuttles up and down this fascinating street, and otherwise, the street is entirely pedestrianized. There are old embassy buildings, Galatasaray High School, the colorful ambiance of Balik Pazari (Fish Bazaar), and restaurants in Cicek Pasaji (Flower Passage). On this street is the oldest church in the area, St Mary’s Draperies dating back to 1789, and the Franciscan Church of St Antoine, demolished and then rebuilt in 1913.
You can book Istanbul City Tour with Our Licensed Istanbul Tour Guides.