Jewish Heritage Tour Galata in Istanbul Turkey

Istiklal Street

June 14, 2017

How many “things to do” can you fit in Istiklal Street

Istiklal Street is the heart of Istanbul. From clothes stores and restaurants to art galleries and language schools, I think you can find pretty much anything you can think of. 3 million people roam these streets every day; I believe it is one of the most crowded places in the planet (especially at weekends).

Connecting Taksim to Galata Tower, 1.4 Km Cadesi (avenue) this is one of the places you can’t miss when visiting Istanbul.

So, what makes it so special?

  1. The Tram: An historical red tram travels through the whole avenue and you can enjoy the ride by using your Istanbul Kart. Keep in mind that is always very crowded! Sometimes they attach an extra car to the tram where a band is playing, which is a great show to see: A moving band!
  2. Street Food: You can have street food everywhere in Istanbul, but at Istıklal you can get it for a really good price. When you enter, just next to Taksim, you’ll see at least 10 doner stalls where you can get a Tavuk Durum (Chicken Durum) for 5TL (1.8€). Throughout the avenue roasted chestnuts, grilled corn, chicken rice, fresh juices are a constant. Enjoy!
  3. Flower Passage: This was one of the first European-style buildings in Istanbul and it’s similar to the passages you find in Paris or Italy. Nowadays is a place to have a nice and elegant dinner and try Turkish Meze, fish and drink raki. It’s also a nice way to escape the avenue’s buzz for a bit.
  4. Art Galleries: If you are an art fan, for sure you will love this street. There are at least 5 or 6 free art galleries that you can visit (except on Sundays and Mondays). The most famous ones are SALT and ARTER but you can check here the other ones.
  5. Street Art: It would be disappointing if in a 1.4 Km avenue you couldn’t find nice street art, right? Well it seems someone really loves pandas and you can find several graffiti of angry (mean!) pandas in the side streets of Istiklal.
  6. Ataturk Statue: In Taksi Square you can find the “Monument of the Republic” which was crafted by Pietro Canonica, an Italian sculptor, and inaugurated in 1928. The monument commemorates the 5th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.
  7. Stores: It’s a perfect place to shop! The first kilometer of the street (starting from taksim) has mostly international stores: Zara, H&M, Mango, Nike… you can find them all. When you go down in the direction of Galata Tower you can find more original shops with really nice unique products.
  8. Ice Cream Man: Ice cream men in Istanbul are full of tricks! If you feel like spending some minutes of your day being entertained by an ice cream man, this is the place to do it. If you don’t have patience for that, you can always watch other people being tricked.
  9. Nightlife: Istiklal, not only is heart of Istanbul by day, it also is by night. The main streets and side streets are full with bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs. It’s impossible to get bored. Some bars even have live music (mainly at weekends) which is a great way to listen to Turkish music and meet some locals.
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