Taksim Square

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A view of Taksim Square with the Republic Monument (1928) Taksim Square 2012.jpg
A view of Taksim Square with the Republic Monument (1928)
View of Taksim Gezi Park and Levent financial district, as seen from the roof bar of the Marmara Hotel at Taksim Square. Istanbul skyline from the Marmara-hotel.JPG
View of Taksim Gezi Park and Levent financial district, as seen from the roof bar of the Marmara Hotel at Taksim Square.
The Republic Monument (1928) at Taksim Square, crafted by Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica. Cumhuriyet Aniti.JPG
The Republic Monument (1928) at Taksim Square, crafted by Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica.
Ataturk Cultural Center at Taksim Square, with the entrance of the Taksim station of the Istanbul Metro. Taksim 4395.jpg
Atatürk Cultural Center at Taksim Square, with the entrance of the Taksim station of the Istanbul Metro.
The Marmara Hotel at Taksim Square. The Marmara Istanbul 2.jpg
The Marmara Hotel at Taksim Square.

Taksim Square (Turkish : Taksim Meydanı, IPA:  [ˈtaksim ˈmejdanɯ] ), situated in Beyoğlu in the European part of Istanbul, Turkey, is a major tourist and leisure district famed for its restaurants, shops, and hotels. It is considered the heart of modern Istanbul, with the central station of the Istanbul Metro network. Taksim Square is also the location of the Republic Monument (Turkish : Cumhuriyet Anıtı) which was crafted by Pietro Canonica and inaugurated in 1928. The monument commemorates the 5th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, following the Turkish War of Independence.

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.

Beyoğlu District in Istanbul Province, Turkey

Beyoğlu is a district on the European side of İstanbul, Turkey, separated from the old city by the Golden Horn. It was known as Pera during the Middle Ages.

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.



The word Taksim means "division" or "distribution". Taksim Square was originally the point where the main water lines from the north of Istanbul were collected and branched off to other parts of the city (hence the name.) This use for the area was established by Sultan Mahmud I. The square takes its name from the Ottoman era stone reservoir which is located in this area.

Mahmud I Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1730 to 1754

Mahmud I, known as The hunchback, was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1730 to 1754.

Ottoman Empire Former empire in Asia, Europe and Africa

The Ottoman Empire, 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.

Reservoir A storage space for fluids

A reservoir is, most commonly, an enlarged natural or artificial lake, pond or impoundment created using a dam or lock to store water.

Another significant building that once stood on the square was the 19th century Taksim Artillery Barracks (Taksim Kışlası, which later became the Taksim Stadium), but it was demolished in 1940 during the construction works of the Taksim Gezi Park. [1] Taksim Gezi Park is a small green park in the midst of the concrete expanse of central Istanbul. In 2013, the city municipality, wanting to demolish the park to add further shopping venues, began forcefully removing protesters who had set up camp in the park. After news spread of the police brutality, thousands of people rallied in the Occupy Taksim movement, to stop the demolition of the park. As the current status of the demolition project is in limbo, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has the Police stationed in and around Taksim Square ready with riot control equipment to deter any large demonstrations. [2]

Taksim Military Barracks military barracks in Istanbul, Turkey

The Taksim Military Barracks or Halil Pasha Artillery Barracks were located at the site of the present-day Taksim Gezi Park next to Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey. It was built in 1806.

Taksim Stadium

Taksim Stadium was the first football stadium in Istanbul, Turkey. Originally the 19th century Taksim Artillery Barracks it was transformed into a stadium in 1921 and was located next to today's Taksim Square. The ground was the home of all major football clubs in Istanbul, including Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş. The stadium had a seating capacity of around 8,000. It was closed in 1939 and demolished in 1940, during the formation of Taksim Square. The site was converted to a public park, named the Taksim Gezi Parkı.

Taksim Gezi Park urban park in Taksim Square, Beyoğlu district, Istanbul, Turkey

Taksim Gezi Park is an urban park next to Taksim Square, in Istanbul's Beyoğlu district It is one of the last green spaces in Beyoğlu and one of the smallest parks of Istanbul. In May 2013, plans to replace the park with a reconstruction of the former Taksim Military Barracks intended to house a shopping mall sparked the nationwide 2013 protests in Turkey.

Present day

Taksim is a main transportation hub and a popular destination for both tourists and residents of Istanbul. İstiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue), a long pedestrian shopping street, ends at this square, and a nostalgic tram runs from the square along the avenue, ending near the Tünel (1875) which is the world's second-oldest subway line after London's Underground (1863). In addition to serving as the main transfer point for the municipal bus system, Taksim Square is also the terminus of the Hacıosman-4. Levent-Taksim-Yenikapı subway line of the Istanbul Metro.

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.

London Underground rapid transit system in London, United Kingdom

The London Underground is a public rapid transit system serving London, England and some parts of the adjacent counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom.

Istanbul Metro Istanbul railway network

The Istanbul Metro is a rapid transit railway network that serves the city of Istanbul, Turkey. It is operated by Metro Istanbul, a public enterprise, controlled by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. The oldest section of the metro is M1 line, which opened in 1989; it now includes 89 stations in service, with 64 more under construction.

Taksim's position was given an extra boost on June 29, 2006, when the new Kabataş-Taksim Funicular line F1 connecting the Taksim Metro station with the Kabataş tramway station and Seabus port was opened, allowing people to ascend to Taksim in just 110 seconds. [3]

Tram Vehicle used for tramway traffic

A tram is a rail vehicle which runs on tramway tracks along public urban streets; some include segments of segregated right-of-way. The lines or networks operated by tramcars are called tramways. Historically the term electric street railways was also used in the United States. In the United States, the term tram has sometimes been used for rubber-tyred trackless trains, which are unrelated to other kinds of trams.


İDO Istanbul Fast Ferries Co. Inc. was founded in 1987 by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Originally established with a fleet of 10 seabuses built by the Kvaerner Fjellstrand shipyard of Norway, the İDO today has a fleet of 25 seabuses designed by Kvaerner Fjellstrand, Austal and the Damen Group; 10 high-speed car ferries designed by Austal and the Damen Group; 18 car ferries; 32 commuter ferries; and 1 large passenger ship. At present, the İDO is the world's largest commuter ferry operator with its 87-passenger ships and 86 piers. The company owns a total of 103 ships including its service vessels.

Surrounding Taksim Square are numerous travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, pubs, and international fast food chains such as Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Subway, and Burger King. It is also home to some of Istanbul's grandest hotels including the InterContinental, the Ritz-Carlton, and The Marmara Hotel. Taksim is also a favourite location for public events such as parades, New Year celebrations, or other social gatherings. Atatürk Cultural Center (Atatürk Kültür Merkezi), a multi-purpose cultural center and opera house, is also located at Taksim Square.

Fast food food prepared and served in a small amount of time

Fast food is a type of mass-produced food designed for commercial resale and with a strong priority placed on "speed of service" versus other relevant factors involved in culinary science. Fast food was originally created as a commercial strategy to accommodate the larger numbers of busy commuters, travelers and wage workers who often did not have the time to sit down at a public house or diner and wait for their meal. By making speed of service the priority, this ensured that customers with strictly limited time were not inconvenienced by waiting for their food to be cooked on-the-spot. For those with no time to spare, fast food became a multibillion-dollar industry.

Pizza Hut American restaurant chain and international franchise

Pizza Hut is an American restaurant chain and international franchise which was founded in 1958 by Dan and Frank Carney. The company is known for its Italian-American cuisine menu, including pizza and pasta, as well as side dishes and desserts. Pizza Hut has 18,431 restaurants worldwide as of December 31, 2018, making it the world's largest pizza chain in terms of locations. It is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., one of the world's largest restaurant companies.

McDonalds American fast food restaurant chain

McDonald's is an American fast food company, founded in 1940 as a restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald, in San Bernardino, California, United States. They rechristened their business as a hamburger stand, and later turned the company into a franchise, with the Golden Arches logo being introduced in 1953 at a location in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1955, Ray Kroc, a businessman, joined the company as a franchise agent and proceeded to purchase the chain from the McDonald brothers. McDonald's had its original headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, but moved its global headquarters to Chicago in early 2018.

Demonstrations and incidents

The square has been an important venue for political protests during much of its existence. Groups from all sides of the political spectrum in Turkey, as well as many NGOs, try to demonstrate in this square in order to use its visibility for the benefit of their cause.

The 2013 Istanbul LGBT Pride at Taksim Square in Istanbul. Gay pride Istanbul 2013 - Taksim Square.jpg
The 2013 Istanbul LGBT Pride at Taksim Square in Istanbul.

Following many other violent incidents, all forms of group protests were banned in the square and the police units maintained a round-the-clock presence to prevent any incidents. The ban did not apply to surrounding avenues or streets. Today, Taksim Square is once again the starting point or destination of many political demonstrations; moreover, mass meetings on Labour Day were permitted for the first time in 2010 and have been taking place peacefully ever since.

However, gatherings for events such as New Year's Eve, Republic Day celebrations, or mass-screenings of important football matches are excluded from the ban. The annual Istanbul Pride takes place on the square as well. [5]

Gezi Park protests

In 2013, protests took place in Taksim in opposition to the reconstruction of the Ottoman era Taksim Military Barracks (demolished in 1940 for building the Gezi Park) and a shopping center on the land plot of the Gezi Park. [6] In the early morning of May 31, the Police forces moved in on the demonstrators and people sleeping in tents, and tried to disperse them with tear gas, pepperspray and water cannons. [7] [8]

The demonstrators also criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has held office for more than ten years, for his uncompromising stance on this controversial issue and for the Turkish police's excessive use of force against the demonstrators. [9]

The large number of trees that were cut in the forests of northern Istanbul for the construction of the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge (Third Bosphorus Bridge) and the new Istanbul International Airport [10] [11] [12] [13] (the world's largest airport, with a capacity for 150 million passengers per year) [10] [12] [14] were also influential in the public sensitivity for protecting Gezi Park. According to official Turkish government data, a total of 2,330,012 [15] [16] trees have been cut for constructing the Airport and its road connections; and a total of 381,096 [15] [16] trees have been cut for constructing the highway connections of the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge; [15] [16] reaching an overall total of 2,711,108 [15] [16] trees which were cut for the two projects. [15] [16] [17]

Notes and references

  1. "Yok olan İstanbul Taksim Meydanı - Topçu Kışlası yeniden inşa ediliyor!". wowturkey.com.
  2. "Police disperse protesters with pepper spray to continue partial demolition of Gezi Park". Today's Zaman . 2013-05-28. Archived from the original on 2013-06-23. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
  3. Taksim-Kabataş funicular subway connection Archived 2007-05-17 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Suicide blast hits Istanbul". Al Jazeera. 31 October 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
  5. Gay Pride in Istanbul – The LGBTT Parade Hits Taksim Square! - Turkey - WorldNomads.com. Journals.worldnomads.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
  6. "Taksim park protests in 4th day amid police crackdown". Hurriyet Daily News. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  7. The Guardian: Istanbul park protests sow the seeds of a Turkish spring
  8. New York Times: Peaceful Protest Over Istanbul Park Turns Violent as Police Crack Down
  9. zeit.de: Eine Ahnung von Tahrir in Istanbul. - Premier Erdoğan lässt Proteste gegen Baumfällungen niederknüppeln. Er agiert mehr und mehr wie ein Despot, die Türken begehren auf. (translated: an idea of Tahrir square. - PM Erdoğan bludgeons down protests against tree felling. He acts more and more like a despot; Turks rebel)
  10. 1 2 "Istanbul's New Erdoğan-Backed Airport to Be Named After... Erdoğan". 14 August 2014.
  11. Today's Zaman: "İstanbul's new airport to be named after Erdoğan"
  12. 1 2 Mezzofiore, Gianluca (14 August 2014). "Erdogan Airport: Istanbul's Super Hub 'to be Named After Turkey's President-Elect'".
  13. "Turkey's largest airport is worthy of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's name, minister says". Hürriyet Daily News.
  14. "Dünyanın en büyük havalimanı İstanbul'a yapılıyor". Star. 2013-01-24. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 "İstanbul'da 2 milyon 700 bin ağaç kesilecek".
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 "3. köprü ve 3. havalimanı için 2 milyon 330 bin ağaç kesilecek!".
  17. "Yeni köprü için kaç ağaç kesildi?".

Coordinates: 41°02′13″N28°59′09″E / 41.03694°N 28.98583°E / 41.03694; 28.98583

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