Our hotel was at Beyoglu, near Istiklal Street, so we took our first walk there and we got shocked of the people that were there, it was late at night it looked like a parade or something! The amazing thing is that it is like that every night!
Istiklal is a big pedestrian street(almost 2km) that connects Taksim Square with the Tunnel. In fact, it’s the main street in the European Quarter and it’s full of shops, cafes, restaurants etc It is always full of people (day and night, locals and tourists) and can spend all your day going up and down if you stop to eat or shop. Although policemen patrol the cobble stone streets take extra care about pickpockets.
Don’t forget to use or just take pics of the picturesque nostalgic tram that runs up and down Istiklal from Taksim to Tunel.
My suggestion is not to shop the first day because you will return here many times as we did. So, starting from Taxim, check out some stores you find interesting, look for some Turkish liras at Exchange Stores, eat at one of the restaurants at Cikek Pasaji(it used to be flower market once, cicek means flower), buy sweets at Saray, admire the gates of Galatasaray School (pic 3), go into a small alley and enjoy a tea, most of the side streets hide small pubs or restaurants (pic 4) or visit the French district which is full of old but restored houses that now are cafes, restaurants etc. Now continue your way down to Galata Tower…
This is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, Turkey, visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day over the course of weekends. Located in the historic Beyoglu district, it is an elegant pedestrian street, approximately three kilometers long, except some interventions by perpendicular roads and the tram. You will always find it crowded even in the middle of the night. Lots of bars, cafes, restaurants and shops are located on this famous street. It starts from Taksim Square and ends at Tünel which is also the route of the tram. The busy part is between Taksim Square and Galatasaray. No tourist leaves Istanbul without visiting here at least once.
This passage runs off the Balik Pazar (fish market) that itself runs off the famous Istiklal Caddesi. The passage features some small electrical shops but is noted for its decorative statues and gallery-like glass roof.
Flower Passage is a famous, historic passage along Istiklal Caddesi. Opened in 1876, it can be described as a miniature version of the famous Galleria in Milan, Italy, and has rows of historic pubs, wine houses and restaurants. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, many impoverished noble Russian women, including a Baroness, sold flowers here. By the 1940s the building was mostly occupied by flower shops hence its name.
Balik Pazar is the fish market along Istiklal Caddesi. Here you'll find lots of stalls selling fish plus some selling fruit and vegetables along with some fish restaurants. I also saw one shop selling turkeys that were hung upside down at the front.
The Galatasaray Lycee is one of the most influential high schools of Turkey and is located along Istiklal Caddesi (meaning Independence Avenue). Established in 1481, it is the oldest Turkish high school in Istanbul and the second-oldest Turkish educational institution in the city after Istanbul University which was established in 1453.
Istiklal Caddesi (meaning Independence Avenue) is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul. Located in the historic Beyoglu district, it is an elegant pedestrian street, approximately three kilometres long, which houses exquisite boutiques, music stores, bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theatres, libraries, cafés, pubs, night clubs with live music, historical patisseries, chocolateries and restaurants. The avenue, surrounded by the unique nineteenth century Turkish architecture, starts from the medieval Genoese neighbourhood around Galata Tower and ultimately leads up to Taksim Square. Important sights include the Çiçek Pasaji (Flower Passage), Galatasaray Lycee and Church of San Antonio di Padua.
In the historic Karaköy district towards the end of the avenue, it is possible to see the world's second-oldest subway station, generally known and referred to as simply Tünel (The Tunnel) which entered service in 1875. A nostalgic heritage tram runs from the here to Taksim Square.
Once named Cité de Pera, this Beaux-Arts style building was one of the most luxurious addresses in Pera, as this area of Constantinople was known. It was built in 1874 with a Parisian-style passage containing luxury shops on its ground floor. With the decline of the area in the 20th century, the building was left to decay, but not before the arcade was turned in a flower market whose memory is now eternalised in its modern name, Çiçek Pasajı (i.e. Flower Passage). The building and the arcade were restored in the late 20th century, but the flower market was replaced by bars and cafés. Nowadays, it is a lively arcade, among many off İstiklal Caddesi, which stand as a reminder of a bygone era.
Istiklal Street is the main street from Taksim square running down to Galata Bridge. Spend a few hours walking down it shopping and eating as you go. Cath the train/tram to the top and walk down the hill.
Under its previous name "la Grande Rue de Pera", İstiklal Caddesi was the main thoroughfare of the neighbourhood once also known as Pera. During the Ottoman Empire, foreigners were not allowed to reside in Constantinople proper, which was the older part of the city around Hagia Sophia, so Pera (in today's Beyoğlu) developed as a separate suburb of the city for the various foreign communities. As European influence increased, Pera became inhabited mostly by Western Europeans who built their European-style residential buildings, churches and embassies. The result today is a district that is distinctively more European in character than the older part of Istanbul. Pera's importance diminished substantially when Atatürk transferred the capital to Ankara, obliging the embassies to follow. The sumptuous embassies are now mere consulates and the name Pera is fading into memory, though the churches, the beautiful architecture (see photos), and the Pera Palas Hotel all remain as a reminder of a bygone era. İstiklal Caddesi, which means Independence Street, now a pedestrianised street, has experienced a revival and is where everything hot and trendy in Istanbul occurs.
Istiklal Caddesi is one of the city's main arteries. It is mainly pedestrianised, but watch out for trams, police on scooters, delivery vans etc.
Start at Taksim Square and walk southwest. Eventually, if you go past the end of the street you'll come to the Galata Tower, and then the Golden Horn. Do it in daylight so it's not too busy and you can look around properly. Then go back and do it at night when its choc a bloc! I'm told it's busy all night.
You'll find routine clothes shops, small specialist shops (eg bookshops), coffee shops and restaurants.
Then you have the consulates (Greek, Russian, Swedish), the Mevlevi monastery and the Galatasaray lycee.
Istiklal Caddesi might be one of the busiest pedestrian streets in the world?
It seems that there is always something happening, it has a great atmosphere. This street is aligned with shops, cafes, restaurants etc.
There are some beautiful buildings along the street. It is also worth exploring some of the side-streets which is filled with restaurants, cafes etc.
Istiklal Caddesi is also where the old tram runs from Taksim Square down to the end of the street.
Istiklal Street may be the busiest in Istanbul. The only place we encountered crowds close to this was in the Grand Bazaar. You can find just about anything here on this street, from the simple "fast foods" like the Kumpi, to the fancy resturants and coffee shops frequented by the local Yuppies. All the name brand stores you can find here for the designer clothes as well as places galore to eat...also the surrounding streets on both sides seem to have been taken over by restaurants. There is also the Cicek Pasaji (the Flower Passage) which is a complete indoor dining area, a "passage" crowded with restaurants on both sides. We loved some of the small non touristy type restaurants that were found just off the street, such as the one shown in the last photo which put BUCKETS of bread on the table, not a typical tourist spot.
Also hidden behind a iron bar gate is the Church of St. Antoine, if you have time go take a look, we could not go in as they were having services when we arrived.
The entire length of Istiklal Street, from Taksim Square all the way to the "Tunnel" (just above Galata Tower) can be enjoyed by taking the vintage Tram. It travels on its track exactly down the center of the pedestrian street, people moving out of the way as it makes its slow approach (about twice the speed of walking). It gives you a perfect platform to see the street and watch the people. Take it twice and see both sides of the street at your leisure, we did this and also walked several times, both the main street and the numerous side streets.
Istiklal is probably one of the most famous Istanbul streets. It's a very hectic place with lots of energy. It's always full with people even in the morning. There are lots of shops and cafes. But not only shopping attracts people. Here you can also find a beautiful Catholic Church and old Embassy buildings.