The most commercial street in Istanbul, this is the place where everybody goes, because... everybody goes, I think.
Commerce and the few attractions in the area spread to the adjacent streets, the real interesting detail in the quarter.
I must confess that I was there six or seven times, but only because it was close to the hotel, and... where else should I go by night?
Flanking Istiklal caddesi, there are a few passages that function as small commercial galleries. Avrupa is particularly nice, with statues all along it.
Don't ask me what do they sell there, because I had no eyes for the shops, and that is, maybe, the greatest drawback for local merchants.
What is the centre of Istanbul? Most foreign visitors would say that it's Sultanahmet - the historic part of the city. Most Turks would point at Beyoglu, and especially Istiklal Caddesi. My Turkish friend says that this street has a special energy that attracts locals and visitors alike. It must be true because it's estimated that over the weekend it's visited by about three million people.
Istiklal Caddesi ( which can be translated as the Independence Avenue) was formerly known as the Grande Rue de Pera. In the 19th century it was inhabited mainly by European merchants, bankers and diplomats. It was a true cosmopolitan part of the city. This multinational population built different churches, such as Roman Catholic Church of St. Anthony, Greek orthodox Hagia Triada, the Armenian church and the synagogues. Also the buildings of embassies, like the ones of Russia or France, come from the 19th century.
The name of the street was changed into Istiklal Caddesi in 1923 with the declaration of the Republic. After the restoration in 1980s, the Independence Avenue links the historic charm of the past with the vibrant modernity of the present.
It is closed for traffic, the only exception being an old tramway that goes from Galata Tower to Taksim square. The street is lined with shops, both the international chains and local stores, restaurants, art galleries.. The passageways and arcades hide a multitude of attractions not visible from the main street, like a fish market, food stores, book stores, etc.
Summing up, Istiklal Caddesi is a must.
İstiklal Avenue or Istiklal Street (Turkish: İstiklâl Caddesi) is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day over the course of weekends. Located in the historic Beyoglu (Pera) district, it is an elegant pedestrian street, approximately three kilometers 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 late Ottoman era buildings (mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries) that were designed with the Neo-Classical, Neo-Gothic, Renaissance Revival, Beaux-Arts, Art Nouveau and First Turkish National Architecture (Birinci Millî Mimarî Akımı) styles; as well as a few Art Deco style buildings from the early years of the Turkish Republic, and a number of more recent examples of modern architecture; starts from the medieval Genoese neighbourhood around Galata Tower and ultimately leads up to Taksim Square.
Galatasaray Square is located at approximately the center of the avenue and is home to one of the finest educational institutions established in Turkey at the time of the Ottoman Empire; originally known as the Galata Sarayı Enderun-u Humayunu (Galata Palace Imperial School) and today known as Galatasaray High School.
In the historic Karakoy (Galata) district towards the southern end of the avenue, it is possible to see the world's second-oldest subway station, generally known and referred to as simply Tunel (The Tunnel) which entered service in 1875. Moreover, the German High School of Istanbul (Deutsche Schule Istanbul in German, Ozel Alman Lisesi in Turkish) is also located near Tunel.
The cosmopolitan avenue is surrounded by an array of historical and politically significant buildings, such as the Cicek Pasajı (Flower Passage) where small, intimate restaurants and taverns are found; Balık Pazarı (The Fish Market); the Roman Catholic churches of Santa Maria Draperis and S. Antonio di Padova; the Greek Orthodox Haghia Triada; the Armenian Uc Horan (among many other churches); several synagogues; mosques; academic institutions established by various European nations such as Austria, France, Germany and Italy in the 19th century; and consulates (former embassies before 1923) of several nations including France, Greece, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
A historic red tram in front of the Beyoglu station of Tünel (1875) at the southern end of İstiklal Avenue.
During the Ottoman period, the avenue was called Cadde-i Kebir (Grand Avenue) and was a popular spot for Ottoman intellectuals, also becoming a center for European foreigners and the local Italian and French Levantines who referred to it as Grande Rue de Péra. When 19th century travelers referred to Constantinople (today, Istanbul) as the Paris of the East, they were mentioning the Grande Rue de Péra (İstiklal Caddesi) and its half-European, half-Asian culture. With the declaration of the Republic on October 29, 1923, the avenue's name was changed to İstiklal (Independence) for commemorating the triumph at the Turkish War of Independence.
The avenue briefly fell from grace in the 1970s and 1980s, with its old Istanbulite inhabitants moving elsewhere, and its side streets – then stereotyped with their bars and bordellos – being populated by migrants from the rural areas of Anatolia. However, during the late 1980s and early 1990s, a massive restoration process took place (master-planned and executed by the Municipality; including the restoration of the historic buildings, new pavements for full pedestrianization, and the reinstallation of the historic trams), bringing the avenue its old charm and popularity. İstiklal Avenue once again became the center of fine arts and leisure in Istanbul, with real estate prices skyrocketing as a result. Numerous new art galleries, bookstores, cafés, pubs, restaurants, shops and hotels were opened.
The venues around the avenue became the host of many international art festivals, such as the annual Istanbul Film Festival.
A "must see" for your Istanbul visit to spend the day and night ... :)
This Church, one of several Greek Orthodox Churches along the Istiklal Caddesi, is tucked in to a small alleyway off the street, and it noticeable only in that it is elevated from street level. It is unlikely that random visitors will be allowed into the church to photograph, and I was allowed to see the splendid icons by a guardian who, nevertheless, warned me that I was not allowed to photograph them. Alas, they were the true treat to see at the church, as the structure itself is new, and rather uninteresting from an architectural standpoint. Perhaps visitors with a better knowledge of Greek or Turkish are luckier in their ability to get a few snapshots of the interior of the church.
Istiklal Caddesi, or Indepedence Avenue, is sort of like Istanbul's Champs-Elysée. Or, better yet, it is a longer, wider version of Carnaby Street in London. Unlike the Champs-Elysée, it is a pedestrian mall, and unlike Carnaby Street, it stretches on and on, and is far, far wider. Here you will find the pulsating heart of Istanbullu commercial, contemporary culture, complete with the main Western brands and all of the mixtures of Turkish, European and American counter- and pop cultures that you would expect to find in this cosmopolitan city. As you get closer to the south, the architecture and the stores take a decidedly sharp turn for the better, and the role that the street played in the Europeanization and gentrification of the city becomes all the clearer. You will also find a number of churches and mosques along the street, attesting to the importance of Istiklal Caddesi in the cultural and commercial life of Istanbul's various communities. Don't forget to wander in and out of the side laneways - they're filled with hidden treats and traditional shops!
Istiklal Street or İstiklal Avenue (İstiklal Caddesi) is the major leisure, shopping and nightlife spot in Istanbul both for locals and tourists with restaurants, cafe & pubs, patisseries, movie plexus, textile, sports, antiquity and book stores, shopping malls and centers, buildings of a dozen foreign consulates and more.
Located between the Taksim Square and the Tunnel in Beyoğlu district of Istanbul.
It's very crowded during the day so be careful of pickpocketing and it can be dangerous at night especially for female traveler. I have seen an innocent man has been attacked and robbed of his wallet , As the thief reached for his wallet he hit him from behind, grabbed his wallet and escaped. it was scary so be careful
Istiklal Street is a shopping paradise especially for women clothing and shoes, it's also a great place to dine...all the food I've tried there was delicious.
We walked through several arcades off Istikal Caddesi , all offered something different and provided some sort of escape from the crowded street. The arcades can be crowded but there is always a small shop, cafe or fruit stall providing a rest spot.
You will know you have arrived at Avrupa Pasaji when you see the fish retailer next to the entrance.
Expect to see something different.
We walked Istikal Caddesi on a fine day whilst enjoying Istanbul prior to joining the Turkey coach tour. We had accommodation in the Sultanahmet district and took public transport to Taskim on the Asian side. The light rail (tram) took us to the Galata Bridge where from memory I think we changed to another tram which took us to the last stop where we caught the funicular rail through the tunel up to Taskim. An interesting trip which all up took about 40 minutes.
Istikal Caddesi was rebuilt during 1870 in glamorous Art Nouveau style and many of those buildings remain today in this 3km long pedestrianized street. The street is the pulse of modern Istanbul with restaurants, cafes, high end fashion shops, arcades, cinemas, street vendors, fish markets etc etc.
A nice place to visit anytime, however we liked the evening scene when we returned for dinner after we had returned from our Turkey coach tour.
Europe passage is a famous part of European - looking Istanbul, as an example how architecture could change. It was built in neo - reconnaissance style, sellers work inside, asking to buy also more European style things.
It is a big difference, when just crossing Galata bridge, you could see Western European passages instead of Islamic mosques, tombs...
This is Turkey’s version of Park Avenue, Strøget, and Calle Florida. Running almost 3 km in length from Taksim Square to the Tünel Square, the avenue is lined with buildings from the late Ottoman period. Elegant shops, restaurants, bookstores, nightclubs, consulates, churches and some of the best schools in Turkey can be found along the way. There is a historic tram that putters the street’s length. Ishtikal means Independence, the name that was given to this avenue following the 1923 conclusion of the Turkish War of Independence – the former Ottoman name was Cadde i Kebir/Grand Avenue.
I would recommend reserving your hotel walking distance from istiklal. Everyday when you have finished everything, you will be going for a walk there, you can shop, eat, drink, or just walk around. Beautiful street with great shops and restaurants.