Karaköy, the modern name for the ancient Galata, is a commercial neighborhood in the Beyoðlu district of Istanbul, Turkey, located at the northern part of the Golden Horn mouth on the European side of Bosphorus.
Karaköy is one of the oldest and most historic districts of the city, and is today an important commercial center and transport hub. The location is connected with the surrounding neighborhoods through streets originating from Karaköy Square. The Galata Bridge links Karaköy to Eminönü in the southwest, Tersane Street to Azapkapý in the west, Voyvoda Street to Þiþhane in the northwest, the steeply sloping Yüksek Kaldýrým Street to Beyoðlu in the north, Kemeraltý Street and Necatibey Street to Tophane in the northeast.
The commercial quarter, which was originally the meeting place for banks and insurance companies in the 19th century, is today also home to mechanical, electrical, plumbing and electronic parts suppliers. Karaköy has been a port area since Byzantine times when the north shore of the Golden Horn was a separate settlement, walled across Golden Horn from the Old City. Around the year 1000, the emperor of Byzantium granted to the merchants of Genoa the permission to settle and do business at this location.
The district developed rapidly, and the Genoeses built sturdy fortifications to protect themselves and their warehouses. Fragments of the Genoese walls are still visible, but the Galata Tower, the highest and strongest point in the walls, is the most visible of all. In the 15th century, Galata looked just like an Italian city.
In 1455, right after the conquest of Constantinople, the district had three categories of inhabitants: temporarily sojourning Genoese, Venezian and Catalan merchants; Genoese of Ottoman citizenship; and Greeks, Armenians and Jews. The composition of the population changed in a short time, and according to a census of 1478, almost half of the district population was Muslim. From 1500 on, more Sephardic Jews settled here, who escaped from the Spanish Inquisition.
Karaköy experienced a second wave of Christian inflow when British, French and Italian forces of the Allies came to Istanbul to fight in the Crimean War (1854-1856). The lack of piers made the unloading of troops and military equipment difficult. A French company obtained 1879 the consession to build the quay in Karaköy, which could be accomplished in 1895 only.
In the last decade of the 19th century, Karaköy developed itself to a banking district. The Ottoman Bank established here its headquarter, European insurance companies opened branch offices.
With the increasing trade activity in the early 20th century, the port was extended with customs buildings, passenger terminals and naval warehouses. Karaköy became also famous for its Greek taverns located along the quays.
After 1917, thousands of White Russians fleeing the Bolshevik Revolution landed here and settled in the area
Scarf-watching in Istanbul
I don?t profess to be an expert after less than a week in Istanbul, but in the short time I was there, I found the whole ?fashion scene? tremendously interesting. People are always going on about how Istanbul is a blend of East and West. Well, that may be true to an extent, but I definitely felt that I was more in the East. Despite all the talk about Turkey banning headscarves, I saw them everywhere, on women young and old, including on the campus of Istanbul University.
These scarves added a vibrant splash of color, and while they did cover the women?s hair in keeping with Islamic ideas of modesty, they were clearly a fashion statement. Coming from Israel, where headcoverings for women are also very common, I noticed a difference in the way the scarves are worn. They don?t follow the contours of the head, but seem to bulge slightly in the back. My guess is that some kind of form is worn underneath to get that elongated shape. The most interesting thing was that many of these girls in headscarves were also wearing tight jeans and revealing tops. Some were walking hand in hand with their boyfriends.
Other women were swathed from top to toe in black abayas. Sometimes their faces were uncovered, and sometimes the black veiling was clipped tightly over their noses, leaving only their eyes visible. Incongruously, these same pious ladies were accompanied by men in sleeveless undershirts and fashionably torn jeans.
Turkcell Super Lig Tickets
I saw a Besiktas match in September. I bought a ticket from the box office a couple hours before kickoff and there were also quite a few being sold on the street. I also went to a sold-out Fenerbahce match and bought a ticket on the street just before the match for only a little over face value. Don't pay those prices online. I don't remember what the face value was but it was WAY less than 145 EUR.
The Aqueduct of Valens
The Aqueduct of Valens in just a short walk southeast of the Faith Camii. By no means is it one of the great remaining Roman aqueducts in existance but it is still pretty impressive. It stretches for about 500m and is flanked on one side by leafy parks. The aqueduct soars over the trees here. It was built in the 4th century A.D. and the Byzantine emperor Justinian the Great added a second tier in the 6th century. The aqueduct was used for transporting water between two hills to a cistern in Beyazit Square for more than 1500 years.
Spice Bazaar, or Egyptian Bazaar
The Spice Bazaar is often called the Egyptian Bazaar, since so many goods came from Egypt. The shops offer all kinds of spices, some hard to find elsewhere. It's called the Yeni Cami in Turkish.
Outside the Spice Bazaar is a huge street market. Strolling through the labyrinth of narrow streets lined with shops, you can find nearly anything. I purchased some saffron, at a cut-rate price. It would have cost ten times more in the US. This spice is used in many rice dishes, and it only takes a pinch. Some of it is still in my kitchen. Generally, spices cost less here than in the US.