İstiklal Caddesi

Top choice in Beyoğlu

Once called the Grand Rue de Pera but renamed İstiklal (Independence) in the early years of the Republic, Beyoğlu's premier boulevard is a perfect metaphor for 21st-century Turkey, being an exciting mix of modernity and tradition. Contemporary boutiques and cutting-edge cultural centres are housed in its grand 19th-century buildings, and an antique tram traverses its length alongside crowds of pedestrians making their way to the bustling cafes, bistros and bars for which Beyoğlu is known.

At the boulevard's northern end is frantically busy Taksim Meydanı, the symbolic heart of the modern city and the scene of often-violent protests in recent years. Another square, Galatasaray Meydanı, is at the boulevard's midpoint, close to Beyoğlu's much-loved Fish Market and Çiçek Pasajı. At its southern end is Tünel Meydanı and the relatively tranquil district of Galata, home to atmospheric lanes and traces of a fortified settlement built by Genoese merchants in the 13th century.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Beyoğlu attractions

1. Çiçek Pasajı

0.02 MILES

Back when promenading down the Grand Rue de Pera (now İstiklal Caddesi) was the height of fashion, the Cité de Pera building was İstanbul's most glamorous…

2. Fish Market

0.03 MILES

Located opposite the grandiose entrance to the 1868 Galatasaray Lycée, one of the city's most prestigious educational institutions, this much-loved…

3. Avrupa Pasajı

0.05 MILES

This attractive 19th-century arcade off the Fish Market is full of shops that once sold antiques but now seem to stock little except tourist tat.

4. Üç Horan Ermeni Kilisesi

0.06 MILES

Dating from 1838, this Armenian church is hidden behind massive black doors on the eastern (Taksim) side of the Fish Market. Visitors can enter when the…

5. Galatasaray Lycée

0.08 MILES

Off limits to visitors, this grand school building dates from 1907 and is one of the major landmarks along İstiklal Caddesi. The school is one of the most…

6. Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat

0.08 MILES

Towering over Galatasaray Sq, this sleek cultural centre affiliated with a major Turkish bank stages art exhibitions, hosts classical-music concerts, and…

8. SALT Beyoğlu

0.18 MILES

With a brief to explore critical and timely issues in visual and material culture, the İstiklal branch of the SALT cultural centre is one of the city's…