Istiklal Street is an only pedestrian street located at the heart of Istanbul on the European side.Istanbul- often called as ‘The gateway of Europe’ has an unique geographical characteristic. It is a city which is partially located in Europe and partially in Asia. In this article, I will share my experience on one of the happening places of the city- The Istiklal Street.
Istiklal Street stretches from Taksim Square nearly all the way to the landmark Galata Tower. There are numerous shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, book shops on Istiklal Street which is rather crowded at any time of the day and year. The avenue is surrounded by late Ottoman era buildings that were designed with Renaissance style. This place will never fail to surprise you and presents an idea how Turkish people enjoy their life.
Though this place is now mostly dominated by foreign brands and fancy restaurants, but still you can find traces of old Istanbul. The Galatasaray High School, which is considered to be the oldest secondary school in Turkey, is located at the midway of Istiklal Street. You can observe the traditional tramway cars plying to and from in the Istiklal Street from Taksim Square to Tünel Square. This is one of the attractions if the street and a ride in these tramcars enable you to feel the history behind these lanes. Istiklal Street houses several consulate buildings as well.
All shops, cafes etc in Istiklal Street are open till late hours. You can enjoy some Turkish cuisine here along with fine international cuisines. Istiklal Street with its wide range of restaurants and cafes has an immense variety of foods in offer. It is an actual delight for any foodie, as you can get anything starting from Turkish Sawarma to elite class international cuisines.
Restaurants at Istiklal Street
There are several passages separating out from the Istiklal Street. One of those passages is “Flower passage” established at 1876 which is quite famous for its restaurants, fish market and small shops. If shopping is your motive in Istiklal then; The Aznavur Arcade, Atlas Arcade and Markiz Arcade are must sees. Apart from these, there are a few churches in this area as well. The most prominent among them is the St. Anthony of Padua church.
The Taksim Square which was also shown in the Bollywood movie Dil Dhakadne Do, is famous for the Independence monument. This monument which was erected in the year 1928, reflects the Turkish war of independence, and this place is held with high esteem among the Turkish People. Also this is a famous place for any kind of demonstrations which are mostly peaceful.
Istiklal Street actually never sleeps and is the most happening night life destination in the city. From themed bars to fancy rooftop bars, and from hard rock music to traditional Turkish live music – it has it all. A drink in such bars and pubs with live music is a treat. If you are a non drinker or someone who don’t like loud music, then you always have the option to just stay outside and enjoy the music played by a wide variety of bands.
How to reach Istiklal Street
If you are in Istanbul, then Istiklal Street is a must visit for you. You can reach here by either taking a metro or bus to Taksim Square and then start walking down it, or take a tram to Karakoy, from where you can ride the 19th century underground funicular to Tünel Square. One of the most enjoyable ways to see the street is to ride the charming red Nostaljik Tramvay (nostalgic tramway), that runs up and down the length of it.
It is highly recommended to have a walk in the Istiklal Street. You can come here in the daytime for shopping and during night you can enjoy the buzzing night life and have your dinner from any of the restaurants of your choice or enjoy a drink in the several pubs and bars which have their own uniqueness.