Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul - walking street with a historic tram (İstiklal Caddesi)

Istiklal (Istiklal Avenue, Turkish name: Istiklal Caddesi) is the most famous pedestrian shopping street in Istanbul, which attracts many tourists and locals.

In translation, "Istiklal" means "Independence Avenue" (Independence Avenue), and historically the street is known as Grand Avenue of Pera (Grand Avenue of Pera, Old Turkish name: Ottoman Turkish: Cadde-i Kebir).

Today Istiklal Street is the most popular pedestrian and shopping street in Istanbul, which is crowded both during the day and in the evening.

The historic red retro tram "Nostalgia" of the T2 line runs along the street, connecting Taksim Square and Tunel, where the Beyoğlu underground funicular station is located.

During the movement, the tram makes three stops on Istiklal Street: Hüseyin Ağa Camii, Galatasaray Lisesi and Odakule.

From 1869 to 1966, trams ran in Istanbul, first horse-drawn, and then electric. The tram was put into operation again as a Nostalgic tram between Taksim and Tunel at the end of 1990.

Today, the historic tram is more of a tourist attraction and entertainment than public transport.

The rules of travel in the tram are the same as in ordinary public transport in Istanbul.

There are no other vehicles on Istiklal Street. Learn more about the historic tram...

Istiklal Street is 1.4 kilometers long. It stretches from Taksim Square (Taksim Meydanı), goes towards the Golden Horn Bay, and ends at Tunel Square.

Istiklal Street and Taksim Square are jointly a popular tourist area of Istanbul.

Along the street there are dense rows of buildings, including historical ones (mainly of the 19th - early 20th centuries), which were designed in neoclassical, Neo-Gothic, Renaissance, art-nova and national Turkish styles; there are also buildings in the styles of the first years of the Turkish Republic and a number of later examples of modern architecture.

Among the buildings along Istiklal especially stand out: Flower Passage (Çiçek Pasajı), European Passage (Europe Pass), Galatasaray Lyceum (Galatasaray Lisesi), as well as several museums churches (mosques).

In the buildings along the street today there are museums, currency exchangers, nightclubs, many cafes (including the famous dessert cafe with delicious baklava "Hafiz Mustafa 1864" / Hafiz Mustafa 1864 Meydan), kebabs, bars and restaurants, shops, including famous world brands, boutiques and souvenir shops, as well as various accommodation facilities (hotels, apartments) booking

Due to the abundance of shops, Istiklal is considered one of the best shopping streets in Istanbul.

On the street you can also see street food vendors, mainly corn and chestnuts.

Istiklal ending near Tunel, where the station of the historical underground funicular "Beyoglu" (Beyoğlu Füniküler Istasyonu) line F2 is located.

The funicular was opened in 1875, making it one of the oldest currently operating of its kind in the world.

Currently, the funicular operates as a public transport of Istanbul (Istanbul transport cards are valid). In the building of the funicular station there are vending machines for the sale and replenishment of transport cards.

The lower station of the funicular is Karaköy. It is located near Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn. Learn more about Tunel with the site...

From the end of Istiklal Street to the Golden Horn, you can go down not only by funicular, but also on foot through the narrow crowded and shopping streets of the city.

These streets run at an angle. There are shops and cafes along the streets; you can also find small shops of local designers and firms.

These streets are a very colorful place and some guests of the city like them even more than the famous Istiklal. From Istiklal, you should first go along the Galip Dede Cd., and then go down to the Golden Horn.

Here, just below Istiklal, is one of the symbols and one of the main attractions of Istanbul - Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi), which is now a museum and on the top floor of which there is an open 360-degree observation deck, giving beautiful views of Istanbul. Learn more about the Galata Tower...

From Istiklal Street and the narrower streets below, secondary streets depart, which also attract with their color and where cafes, restaurants and shops are located.

Especially noteworthy along Istiklal Street and near such:

- The Madame Tussauds Istanbul Museum, where wax figures are waiting for you: historical and cultural heroes and about 60 famous personalities from the world of art, sports, cinema and politics from the past to the present, including from Turkey and international stars.

The museum's website:;

- Flower Passage (Çiçek Pasajı) is a historical covered gallery, opened in 1876 and characterized by exquisite architecture and a courtyard inside which restaurants and shopping shops are located;

- Galatasaray Lyceum (Galatasaray Lisesi) is the oldest secondary school in Turkey, founded in 1482. It is also the second oldest Turkish educational institution after Istanbul University, founded in 1453;

- The European Passage or Avrupa Pasajı (Europe Pass, Avrupa Pasajı) is a historical shopping gallery that has a mirrored arcade (Aynalı Pasaj) and is made in neoclassical style.

The passage was built by the Ottoman Armenian merchant Onnik Dyuz in 1874.

Today there are 22 shops in the shopping center, with a predominance of souvenir shops, antiques, clothing, carpets and jewelry;

- Galata Mevlevihanesi Museum (Galata Mevlevihanesi Müzesi) is a museum in a building belonging to a religious movement, where you can see ritual dances dedicated to the culture of the dervishes.

The museum's website:;

The Church of St. Maria Draperis (Santa Maria Draperis Kilisesi) is a Roman Catholic church built in 1584 and is one of the oldest Roman Catholic parishes in Istanbul;

- St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral (Sent Antuan Kilisesi) is a church in the Venetian Neo-Gothic style, built by the Italian architect Giulio Mongeri and opened in 1912;

- the small mosque of Beyoglu Huseyin Agha (Hüseyin Ağa Camii);

- The Church of the Holy Trinity (Aya Triada Rum Ortodoks Kilisesi) is a Greek Orthodox church opened in 1880.

The temple stands out with stained glass windows, gilded domes and elegant paintings on the ceiling.

Practical information

Istiklal Street is located on the European side of Istanbul, in the Beyoğlu district.

Coordinates of Istiklal Street (center): 41°02'03.0"N 28°58'44.0"E (41.034167, 28.978889).

At both ends of Istiklal Street, on Taksim Square and near Tunel, there are metro stations of the M2 line. There are also public bus stops on Taksim Square, the F1 funicular "Taksim-Kabataş" and buses running from/to Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (Flights to Istanbul →). Ferry berths are located near the Galata Bridge; ferries function as public transport.

Taksim Square can also be reached by taking a tour on the Istanbul Hop-On Hop-Off tour bus (there are tickets for 1, 2 or 3 days).

Tickets for the Istanbul sightseeing bus can be purchased here →

You can also visit Istiklal Street with one of the excursions in Istanbul

All accommodation facilities in Istanbul, including on Istiklal Street, near Taksim Square, in the historical center, on the European and Asian sides of the city, can be viewed and booked here booking

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