İstiklal Caddesi (Independence
Avenue) is the heart of Beyoğlu,
the more modern district of Istanbul built
during the 19th century.
The city's most popular strolling, shopping and
snacking street, now reserved
for pedestrians, is lined with boutiques,
cafes, consulates, restaurants,
galleries, cinemas and banks, with
residential apartments above.
When 19th-century travelers spoke
of Constantinople (Istanbul)
as the Paris of the East, they
were thinking of the Grande Rue
de Péra (İstiklal Caddesi)
and its half-European, half-Asian culture.
The avenue begins at Taksim
the hub of modern Istanbul.
Nostalgic İstiklal Caddesi tramway
cars rattle and clank along Istiklal
Caddesi from Taksim
Square to Tünel
Square just as they did in
the 19th-century heyday of this Europeanized
corner of the Ottoman sultan's domains.
Halfway along the avenue toward the
southwest is Galatasaray
recognizable by the grand gates to
Galatasaray Lisesi, the first European-style lycée (high
school) erected by the Ottoman government.
At the far southwestern end of İstiklal
Caddesi is Tünel
site of the upper station of 19th-century
little two-station underground train,
and southern terminus of the nostalgic
İstiklal Caddesi tram.
Come in the daytime for shopping,
in the evening for strolling, people-watching,
supper in one of the many restaurants,
a drink in a cafe or bar, and some music in a little
once called the
Rue de Péra.
ornate doorway arch with
an Ottoman Turkish
inscription hints at why Constantinople
was the Paris of the East.