Located in the Beyoğlu district in the modern part of Istanbul, Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Street) is the most famous pedestrian street in Istanbul. This three kilometer long avenue stretches from Taksim Square to Tünel, the world’s second-oldest subway. Galatasaray Square, with its prestigious high school (Galatasaray Lisesi), is considered as the midpoint of this elegant boulevard packed with nice boutiques, art galleries, theatres, cinema’s libraries, restaurants, patisseries, cafés, pubs and nightclubs. Some of them still housed in authentic 19th century Turkish architecture buildings (see history of Istiklal Caddesi).
Places of Interest on Istiklal Caddesi
- French Consulate General: the consulate is located on the right-hand side at the very beginning of Istiklal Caddesi, no. 8
- Hüseyin Ağa Mosque (Hüseyin Ağa Camii): 350 meters down the French Consulate on the right you will see the Hüseyin Ağa Camii, built in 1596. After surviving a big fire, it was restored in 1934. In the yard of the mosque you’ll find the graves of Hüseyin Ağa who had the mosque built and Davud Ağa, another Ottoman Empire Chief (Ağa) of the palace. There is also a fountain made by Mimar Sinan, the very famous Ottoman Empire architect.
- Ortaoyuncular Sahnesi: approximately 400 meters further, again on the right-hand side, you will see the Ortaoyuncular Sahnesi. This old theatre, originally called Ses Tiyatrosu, was built in 1885 by the architect Campanaki. It is located in Halep Passage, no. 140
- Flower Passage (Çiçek Pasajı): the Flower Passage – aka Cite de Pera – is considered as the most ornamented and well-known building in the Beyoğlu district. You can’t miss really, but just in case, look for no. 172.
- Galata Square (Galata Meydanı): this intersection of Istiklal Caddesi with Meşrutiyet Avenue and Yeni Çarşı Avenue, is located almost in the middle of Istiklal Caddesi, opposite to the Flower Passage.
- Galatasaray Lyceé (Galatasaray Lisesi): in 1481, during the reign of Bayezıd II., Galata Sarayı Hümayun Mektebi was established as a school to educate top level qualified people for the palace. Since 1868 the school is called Galatasaray Lycée (Galatasaray Lisesi) and an incredible amount of important people for the country graduated from this school, among which famous actors, writers, politicians, sportsmen, and journalists.
- Yapı Kredi Vedat Nedim Tör Museum: on the other side of the Yeni Çarşı Street, across the Galatasaray Lycée, on the corner, you will see Yapı Kredi Vedat Nedim Tör Müzesi, no. 285. The museum has besides the world’s 3rd biggest coin collection, metal, embroidery, fabric, manuscript, tombac, and rosary collections. It also has four different exhibitions of private collectors’ items. The entrance to the museum is free.
Places of Interest just off Istiklal Caddesi
- Hagia Triada: take Meşelik Street across French Consulate, and on your left you will find the Greek Orthodox Church Hagia Triada.
- Galatasaray Turkish Bath (Galatasaray Hamamı): take Turnacıbaşı Street just after you pass Halep Passage on your right, then take the street on the left. You will reach the historical Galatasaray Hamamı, a Turkish bath which was built in 1481 by the order of Ottoman Sultan Bayezıd II.
- Consulate-General of Greece: keep on walking on Turnacıbaşı Street, pass the Galatasaray Hamamı, and 200 meters further on your right you will reach the Consulate-General of Greece, no. 32.
- Nevizade: take the first street just after Halep Passage on your right, Balo Street, or the next one, Solakzade Street. Walk a little less than 200 meters after which you’ll reach the famous Nevizade Street on your left packed with pubs and restaurants. On your right, you will see the James Joyce Irish Pub.
- Fish Bazaar (Balık Pazarı): take the first street, Sahne Sokak, on your right next to the Flower Passage (Çiçek Pasajı) and you are in the Balık Pazarı.
- British Embassy: follow the Meşrutiyet Avenue across Galatasaray Lycée, which will lead you to the British Embassy on your left.