More than 3 million people traverse this street on any given Saturday, that’s almost 1 out of every 5 Istanbul residents.
This is where the energy and buzz of the city is located, welcome to Istikal Street.
This 1.4 kilometre long street “houses boutiques, music stores, bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theatres, libraries, cafés, pubs, nightclubs with live music, historical patisseries, chocolateries and restaurants.”
According to wikipedia, “the cosmopolitan avenue is surrounded by an array of historical and politically significant buildings, such as the Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Passage) where small, intimate restaurants and taverns are found; Balık Pazarı (The Fish Market); the Hüseyin Ağa Camii Mosque; the Roman Catholic churches of Santa Maria Draperis and S. Antonio di Padova; the Greek Orthodox Haghia Triada; the Armenian Üç 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.”
Originally called the Grand Avenue (Cadde-i Kebir) or Grande Rue de Pera, the name was updated to Istikal (independence) on modern Turkey’s declaration of Independence in 1923. It was an apt name, seeing as the street leads out to Taksim Square, the heart of modern Istanbul and the main site that commemorates the foundation of the Turkish Republic.
The street has been popular for a long time, going back to the Ottoman era, where Ottoman intellectuals and European elites hobnobed in the area – not unlike Barcelona’s Las Ramblas. This street with its half-European, half-Asian architecutre and culture charmed 19th century travellers, who called the city the Paris of the East.
Unsurprisingly, this is where Istanbul comes to life at night.
Sure (it might blow your mind to see these videos of nightclubs in Istanbul) considering that the majority of Turkey is Muslim, who said that the Turks didn’t party?
ON THE MAP