Taksim Meydanı


Named after the 18th-century stone taksim (water storage unit) on its western side, this square is the symbolic heart of modern İstanbul. Hardly a triumph of urban design, it has recently been closed to traffic and covered in unsightly concrete pavers. The location of the 2013 Gezi protests, the square is closely patrolled by police and is best avoided during demonstrations. A large new mosque was being constructed behind the taksim at the time of research.

The Republic Monument in the centre of the square was created by Italian sculptor Canonica in 1928. It features Atatürk, his assistant and successor, İsmet İnönü, and other revolutionary leaders. Plans to redevelop Gezi Park on the northeast side of the square as a shopping mall were stalled after protests in May and June 2013, and it is unclear whether the development will go ahead. Local activists stand firm in their opposition, citing it as one of many current instances of public space being sold off to private developers without proper public consultation or approval. The site, which has been a park since the early 1940s, was previously occupied by an Ottoman military barracks and is one of the few remaining public green spaces in Beyoğlu.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Beyoğlu attractions

1. Republic Monument

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This monument in the middle of Taksim Meydanı was designed by Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica. It commemorates the Turkish War of Independence and the…

2. İstanbul Fransız Kültür Merkezi

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Set in a distinctive yellow building just off Taksim Square, the French Cultural Centre in İstanbul hosts regular art exhibitions (with a particular focus…

3. Aya Triada

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Built in 1880, this is İstanbul's largest Greek Orthodox church and has a small but loyal congregation. Attacked during the anti-minority events of 6–7…

4. Akbank Art Centre

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Turkey's big banks and philanthropic trusts vie to be seen as the greatest sponsor of the arts. İstiklal is a showcase for their generosity, and with this…

5. Ağa Hamamı

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The oldest hamam in the city, this Çukurcuma landmark was built in 1454 and renovated by order of Sultan Abdülmecid I in 1844. We don't recommend that…

6. İstiklal Caddesi

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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…

7. Firuz Ağa Mosque

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Local life in Cihangir gravitates around this 19th-century green-and-white mosque, with plenty of cafes, teahouses and eateries in the immediate area. It…


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Opened to great fanfare in September 2019, the new home of the Koç Foundation's collection of contemporary art – one of the most impressive in Turkey –…