It is one of the most famous avenues of Istanbul, Istiklal Street is crossed by nearly 3.2 million people every Saturday! Istiklal Street is a pedestrian street about three kilometres long, which houses lots of shops (boutiques, music stores, bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theatres, libraries, cafes, pubs, night clubs, pastries, chocolate shops and restaurants). The avenue, whose Turkish architecture dates back to the 19th century, links Taksim Square to the Genovese quarter around the Galata Tower.
Galatasaray Square is located approximately in the centre of Istiklal Street. It is one of the best educational establishments, which was established in Turkey during the Ottoman Empire, known as the “Galatasaray Lisesi”. In the historical Karaköy district, near the end of the avenue, you will be able to enter the second oldest metro station in the world, generally known and designated as “Tünel”. It was first used in 1875.
The cosmopolitan Istiklal Street is surrounded by buildings of great political and historical importance, such as the Çiçek Pasajı where there are small restaurants and taverns and the fish market (Balık Pazarı). You will also be delighted to discover the Catholic churches of Santa Maria and S. Antonio, the Greek Orthodox Church under the name of Haghia Triada, the Armenian church, different synagogues and mosques.
It is also an education center with various European academic institutions such as Austria, France, Germany and Italy at the beginning of the 19th century. Consulates (former embassies before 1923) of several countries including France, Greece, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are located in Istiklal Street as well. The small streets near Istiklal bear even more interesting history, there are hidden treasures in the small narrow streets. You can find cafes with home food, cosy bars and clubs or go explore the artsy neighborhood of Cihangir where lots of Turkish actors live located nearby.