İstiklal Avenue

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Istiklal Avenue in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul Istiklal str. Istanbul - panoramio.jpg
İstiklal Avenue in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul
Cicek Pasaji (Flower Passage), also known by its French name Cite de Pera, is one of the many historic buildings that adorn the avenue. Istanbul Cicek Pasaji - Cite de Pera.jpg
Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Passage), also known by its French name Cité de Péra, is one of the many historic buildings that adorn the avenue.

İstiklal Avenue or Istiklal Street (Turkish : İstiklal Caddesi; Greek : Μεγάλη Οδός του Πέραν, translit.  Megali Odos tu Peran; French : Grande Rue de Péra; English: "Independence Avenue") is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, Turkey, visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day over the course of weekends. Located in the historic Beyoğlu (Pera) district, it is an elegant pedestrian street, 1.4 kilometers long, which houses boutiques, music stores, bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theatres, libraries, cafés, pubs, nightclubs with live music, historical patisseries, chocolateries and restaurants.

Turkish language Turkic language (possibly Altaic)

Turkish, also referred to as Istanbul Turkish, is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around ten to fifteen million native speakers in Southeast Europe and sixty to sixty-five million native speakers in Western Asia. Outside Turkey, significant smaller groups of speakers exist in Germany, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia. Cyprus has requested that the European Union add Turkish as an official language, even though Turkey is not a member state.

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Romanization of Greek is the transliteration (letter-mapping) or transcription (sound-mapping) of text from the Greek alphabet into the Latin alphabet. The conventions for writing and romanizing Ancient Greek and Modern Greek differ markedly, which can create confusion. The sound of the English letter B was written as β in ancient Greek but is now written as the digraph μπ, while the modern β sounds like the English letter V instead. The Greek name Ἰωάννης became Johannes in Latin and then John in English, but in Greek itself has instead become Γιάννης; this might be written as Yannis, Jani, Ioannis, Yiannis, or Giannis, but not Giannes or Giannēs as it would have been in ancient Greek. The masculine Greek word Ἅγιος or Άγιος might variously appear as Hagiοs, Agios, Aghios, or Ayios, or simply be translated as "Holy" or "Saint" in English forms of Greek placenames.


The avenue, surrounded by late Ottoman era buildings (mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries) that were designed with the Neo-Classical, Neo-Gothic, Renaissance Revival, Beaux-Arts, Art Nouveau and First Turkish National Architecture styles; as well as a few Art Deco style buildings from the early years of the Turkish Republic, and a number of more recent examples of modern architecture; starts from the medieval Genoese neighbourhood around Galata Tower and ultimately leads up to Taksim Square.

Ottoman Empire Former empire in Asia, Europe and Africa

The Ottoman Empire, also historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.

Neoclassical architecture is an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century. In its purest form, it is a style principally derived from the architecture of classical antiquity, the Vitruvian principles, and the work of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio.

Gothic Revival architecture architectural movement

Gothic Revival is an architectural movement popular in the Western World that began in the late 1740s in England. Its popularity grew rapidly in the early 19th century, when increasingly serious and learned admirers of neo-Gothic styles sought to revive medieval Gothic architecture, in contrast to the neoclassical styles prevalent at the time. Gothic Revival draws features from the original Gothic style, including decorative patterns, finials, lancet windows, hood moulds and label stops.

Galatasaray Square is located at approximately the center of the avenue and is home to the oldest secondary school in Turkey: the Galatasaray High School (Galatasaray Lisesi), originally known as the Galata Sarayı Enderun-u Hümayunu ( Galata Palace Imperial School).

Galatasaray High School high school

Galatasaray High School is a high school in Turkey. Established in 1481, it is the oldest high school in Turkey and the second-oldest Turkish educational institution after Istanbul University, which was established in 1453. Being an Anatolian High School, access to the school is open to students with a high Nationwide High School Entrance score. Education consists of a blend of Turkish and French curricula and is provided in both languages.

In the historic Karaköy (Galata) district towards the southern end of the avenue, it is possible to see the world's second-oldest subway station, generally known and referred to as simply Tünel (The Tunnel) which entered service in 1875. Moreover, one of the finest educational institutions established in Turkey, the German High School of Istanbul (Deutsche Schule Istanbul in German, Özel Alman Lisesi in Turkish) is also located near Tünel.

Karaköy Quarter in Marmara, Turkey

Karaköy, the modern name for ancient Galata, is a commercial quarter in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, Turkey, located at the northern part of the Golden Horn mouth on the European side of Bosphorus.

Tünel funicular

The Tünel is a historical underground funicular line in Istanbul, Turkey, located at the northern shore of the Golden Horn. It has two stations, connecting the quarters of Karaköy and Beyoğlu. Its tunnel goes uphill from close to sea level and is about 573 metres long. Inaugurated on January 17, 1875, the Tünel is the second-oldest extant subterranean urban rail line in the world, after the London Underground (1863). It is thus the oldest surviving underground urban rail line in continental Europe, as the older 1862 funicular line in Lyon has been converted into an underground road tunnel.

Deutsche Schule Istanbul

Deutsche Schule Istanbul, with formal Turkish name Özel Alman Lisesi or İstanbul Alman Lisesi or simply Alman Lisesi is a private international high school in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, Turkey. It is responsible to both the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany and the Ministry of National Education of Turkey.

A historic tram on Istiklal Avenue Nostalgic tram on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul.jpg
A historic tram on İstiklal Avenue

The cosmopolitan avenue is surrounded by an array of historical and politically significant buildings, such as the Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Passage) where small, intimate restaurants and taverns are found; Balık Pazarı (The Fish Market); the Hüseyin Ağa Camii Mosque; the Roman Catholic churches of Santa Maria Draperis and S. Antonio di Padova; the Greek Orthodox Haghia Triada; the Armenian Üç Horan (among many other churches); several synagogues; mosques; academic institutions established by various European nations such as Austria, France, Germany and Italy in the 19th century; and consulates (former embassies before 1923) of several nations including France, Greece, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Çiçek Pasajı

Çiçek Pasajı, originally called the Cité de Péra, is a famous historic passage on İstiklal Avenue in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, Turkey.

Church of St. Mary Draperis, Istanbul Church in Istanbul, Turkey

Saint Mary Draperis is a Roman Catholic Church in Istanbul, important for historical reasons. Established in 1584, the church is one of the most ancient Roman Catholic parishes of Istanbul.

Synagogue Jewish or Samaritan house of prayer

A synagogue, is a Jewish or Samaritan house of worship.

During the Ottoman period, the avenue was called Cadde-i Kebir (Grand Avenue) in Turkish or Grande Rue de Péra. It was a popular spot for Ottoman intellectuals, European and the local Italian and French Levantines. When 19th-century travelers referred to Constantinople (today, Istanbul) as the Paris of the East, they were mentioning the Grande Rue de Péra (İstiklal Caddesi) and its half-European, half-Asian culture. With the declaration of the Republic on 29 October 1923, the avenue's name was changed to İstiklal (Independence) for commemorating the triumph at the Turkish War of Independence.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Constantinople capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire

Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Byzantine Empire, and also of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261), until finally falling to the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). It was reinaugurated in 324 from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, and dedicated on 11 May 330. The city was located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul.

Istanbul Metropolitan municipality in Marmara, Turkey

Istanbul, formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the most populous city in Turkey and the country's economic, cultural and historic center. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosporus strait between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical center lies on the European side and about a third of its population lives in suburbs on the Asian side of the Bosporus. With a total population of around 15 million residents in its metropolitan area, Istanbul is one of the world's most populous cities, ranking as the world's fourth largest city proper and the largest European city. The city is the administrative center of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Istanbul is viewed as a bridge between the East and West.

A busy day on Istiklal Avenue Istiklal busy afternoon.JPG
A busy day on İstiklal Avenue

In September 1955, during the anti-Greek Istanbul Riots, the Avenue was pillaged in one night, while it was covered with pieces of glass, clothes, smashed white goods, rolled down and burned automobiles and other goods, all belonging to the wrecked shops. [1]

The avenue briefly fell from grace in the 1970s and 1980s, with its old Istanbulite inhabitants moving elsewhere, and its side streets – then stereotyped with their bars and bordellos – being populated by migrants from the rural areas of Anatolia.

However, during the late 1980s and early 1990s, a massive restoration process took place, master-planned and executed by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and Beyoğlu Municipality (including the restoration of the historic buildings, new pavements for full pedestrianization, and the reinstallation of the historic trams), bringing the avenue its old charm and popularity. İstiklal Avenue once again became the center of fine arts and leisure in Istanbul, with real estate prices skyrocketing as a result. Numerous new art galleries, bookstores, cafés, pubs, restaurants, shops and hotels were opened. The venues around the avenue became the host of many international art festivals, such as the annual Istanbul Film Festival. İstiklal Avenue is also a popular venue for all sorts of parades (such as the annual Istanbul Pride), marches, gatherings and protests (such as the 2013 Gezi Park protests) in the city. On 19 March 2016 it was the location of a suicide bombing attack that killed 5 people. [2] [3] [4]

See also

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Beyoğlu (Tünel)

Beyoğlu is a station on the historic Tünel funicular railway in Beyoğlu, Istanbul. Located on Tünel Square, just of İstiklal Avenue, it is the northern and upper terminus of the 573 m (1,880 ft) railway. The station is located on the ground floor of the Metrohan Building, which serves as a administrative office building for the IETT.

March 2016 Istanbul bombing suicide bombing on 19 March 2016

On 19 March 2016, a suicide bombing took place in Istanbul's Beyoğlu district in front of the district governor's office. The attack occurred at 10:55 (EET) at the intersection of Balo Street with İstiklal Avenue, a central shopping street. The attack caused at least five deaths, including that of the perpetrator. Thirty-six people were injured, including seven whose injuries were severe. Among those injured were twelve foreign tourists. Among those killed, two were of dual Israel-US nationality. On 22 March, the Turkish interior minister said that the bomber had links with ISIL.

Karaköy (Tünel)

Karaköy is a station on the historic Tünel funicular railway in Beyoğlu, Istanbul. Located on Tersane Avenue, just north of the Golden Horn, it is the southern and lower terminus of the 573 m (1,880 ft) railway. The station is located at the ground floor of the IETT General Headquarters Building.

Outline of Istanbul Place

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Istanbul:


  1. Binnaz Tugba Sasanlar. A Historical Panorama of an Istanbul Neighborhood: Cihangir from the Late Nineteenth Century to the 2000s Bogaziçi University. 2006
  2. "Istanbul shopping area hit by suicide bomber". BBC. 19 March 2016.
  3. "Istanbul explosion: Suicide bomber had ISIS links, says Turkey's interior minister". CNN. 20 March 2016.
  4. "Istanbul explosion: At least five dead as tourist shopping area Istiklal Street hit by suicide bombing in Turkey". The Independent. 19 March 2016.