Earlier we covered the most interesting spots on Istiklal Caddesi between Taksim Square and Galata Lisesi. Today we’ll take you from Galata Square to Tünel, the world’s second-oldest subway.
Once you’ve made it to the end of Istiklal Caddesi, I recommend you either walk back or take the old tram to the halfway point, and start looking for a nice café. Make sure though that it has one or more of these huge (removable) windows and find a table by the street side. Order a drink and enjoy watching the crowds pass by. After half an hour, you’ll have a great idea what the Istanbul population mix looks like.
Places of Interest on Istiklal Caddesi
- St. Antuan or Sant’Antonio di Padova Cathedral: the cathedral is located on the left-hand side, 200 meters away from the Galatasaray Lycée in the direction of Tünel. The cathedral has the largest building and community of the Roman Catholic Church in Istanbul. The first cathedral was built in 1725 by the local Italian community of Istanbul. The building we see today replaced the previous one and was built in the Venetian Neo-Gothic style between 1906 and 1912 by an Istanbul born, Italian architect Giulio Mogneri. The cathedral is run by Italian priests. On different days of the week the masses are in Italian, English and Turkish.
- Odakule İş Merkezi (Business Centre Tower): located at no. 142, on the right, you’ll find the Odakule İş Merkezi. The building was built by the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce. The building houses several holdings, companies and an art gallery. It is commonly used as a reference point to find an address around the area easily. Given its age, the tower is currently among Istanbul’s ugliest, making it hard to miss. Just in case, look for no. 142.
- Beyoğlu İş Merkezi Passage: across the Business Centre Tower, you will see the entrance of the Beyoğlu İş Merkezi, which is recently renovated passage with shops and offices. Right next to it you can find the entrance to the Midpoint café and restaurant.
- Consulate-General of Netherlands: the consulate is located on the left-hand side, at no. 197.
- Consulate-General of Russia: located at no. 443, 200 meters further than the Consulate-General of the Netherlands, again on the left.
- Consulate-General of Sweden: walk approximately 500 meters further than the Consulate-General of Netherlands, look for no 497.
- Tunnel (Tünel): 150 meters further than the Consulate-General of Sweden the street makes a small curve to the right. That’s it. You are at the end of Istiklal Caddesi where you can see the entrance of Tunnel (Tünel). It connects Beyoğlu with Karaköy.
Places of Interest just off Istiklal Caddesi
- Terkoz Çıkmazı: look for a small street across the Consulate-General of the Netherlands called Terkoz Çıkmazı. It’s a dead end street where you can find gazillions of textiles goods for quite cheap prices. However, look thoroughly for small defects and always remember to bargain.
- French Palace (Fransız Sarayı): take Yeni Çarşı Street which goes down the hill next to the Galatasaray Lycée. Look for the Nur-i Ziya Street, the second street on your left. On your left you will see Fransız Sarayı (French Palace). The land belongs to France for more than four centuries. The building on the land was built in 1839. Today its the Istanbul residence of the French Ambassador.
- Consulate-General of Italy: follow Yeni Çarşı Street which goes down the hill next to Galatasaray Lycée and walk approximately 600 meters. Take Tomtom Kaptan Street on your right. You will see Consulate-General of Italy at no 15, on your left.
- Pera Palace Hotel: follow the alley next to the Odakule Business Centre Tower, which will connect you to Meşrutiyet Street. Turn left at the point where you connect to the street and follow the street. Before the street ends on your left you will see the Pera Palas Otel which is the oldest European hotel of Turkey. The hotel was built in 1892 in order to host the passengers of the Orient Express. Agatha Christie wrote her most famous novel, Murder on the Orient Express, in this hotel, and her room is still conserved as a museum.
- Leb-i Derya: take Kumbaracı Yokuşu Street down the hill on your left just after you pass the Russian Consulate. 150 Meters down the hill on your right you will see the fabulous Leb-i Derya (no. 57/6).
- Tarık Zafer Tunaya Kültür Merkezi: follow the Şahkulu Bostan Street on your left next to the Consulate-General of Sweden. On your right you will see the Tarık Zafer Tunaya Kültür Merkezi (no 8). This former municipality wedding building is since 1993 used as a cultural center with a multi-purpose conference room, movie theatre, exhibition room and a theatre stage.
- German School Istanbul (Özel Alman Lisesi): take Şahkulu Bostan Street and go passed Tarık Zafer Tunaya Kültür Merkezi. You will reach the Özel Alman Lisesi or Deutsche Schule Istanbul located at no. 20. The school started in 1868 with only 24 students. It has raised a lot of important people for Turkish society, among which journalists, musicians, artist, actors and politicians.
- Galata Mevlevihanesi: take the Galip Dede Street just after you pass the Consulate-General of Sweden. You will see the Galata Mevlevihanesi at no. 15. This dervish lodge, which is also used as a museum, was opened to the public in 1975.
- Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi): follow the Galip Dede Street just after you pass the Consulate-General of Sweden and keep on walking for approximately 500 meters down the hill. You will reach an intersection of streets, with on your right the Galata Tower which was first built in 1384 by Genoese. The cone-capped tower provides a magnificent view of the Golden Horn.