Starting from the historic neighbourhood
around the Galata Tower and running up as far as Taksim Square,
Beyoglu is and has always been the foreign quarter and the scene of
the city's ballrooms, theatres and nightlife. It reached its peak in
the mid- to late 19th century, along the gas-lit 'Grande Rue de Pera'
(now Istiklal Caddesi), the centrepiece for an Art Nouveau Belle
Époque. French was spoken, top hats and tails required in the now
boisterous Çiçek Passage and dispossessed Russian princesses arrived
in droves to teach ballet and open restaurants. The Pera Palas Hotel
was built to house visitors arriving on the Orient Express, which was
completed in 1889. Today, visitors need to look carefully to see the
remains of the Art Nouveau era in Istanbul but it is well worth the
effort, for example the Botter House next to the Swedish Embassy at
the Tünel end of Istiklal Caddesi, with its propellor-like projecting
daisies. The mile-long pedestrian street, Istiklal Caddesi, was once a
swish European quarter and the evidence is still there, especially in
the old passages that still retain much of their original
architectural charm and caryatids, although many are now home to art
cinemas, music shops and bars. If walking from Tünel to Taksim Square,
up Istiklal Caddesi, noteworthy buildings are the Tünel Passage across
from the Tünel tram stop, the Syrian Passage at number 346, the
Alhamra at number 258 (now home to a contemporary art gallery), the
Alkazar at number 179, the Aleppo at number 138, the Emek at number
124, which used to house an exclusive private club and the Cité
Roumelie at number 88. Istiklal Caddesi, Beyoglu Transport: Tram to
Tünel or Taksim
Beyoglu and the Istiklal Street are two
popular places among people from every age category, from teenagers to
elderly people. The Istiklal Street is the meeting place for the
lovers and friends. The district starts with the statute of Ataturk in
Taksim Square. The prominent landmark of Taksim Square is the Marmara
Hotel, a tall building which is another meeting place for the people.
The Istiklal Street is a pedestrian street which is approximately 3-4
km. long. The cobber stone street reminds one of the old days...There
are cozy cafés, restaurants, shops, bookstores, movie theaters, music
stores on this street. Most of the movie theaters are located here.
There are small back streets where you can discover little but
friendly cafés. When one comes to the halfway of the street, the area
changes its name to "Galatasaray" which is also the name of the Junior
High School which gives training in French and the major soccer team
When one continues to walk along the
Grande Rue de Pera, reaches the beautiful gothic Catholic
Church of St. Anthony.
It was constructed in 1907. This church resembles Notre Dame de Paris
very much but much smaller. It is still active and also concerts and
special events take place here.
Historically, Pera is the name of the
district where foreign people used to reside. The former.
name of this street was Grande Rue de
Pera. There are many consular buildings in Pera, including Russian,
Swedish, French, American and British Consulate General. Most of the
buildings in Istiklal Street are from mid-19th C to late 19th C and
carry a French influence. French Baroque and neo-classical style were
two leading styles in these buildings. Foreign people who worked in
Istanbul usually lived in this area and shaped the neighborhood in a
very European way. There are old Russian and French Restaurants hidden
in the small streets of Pera which gives the taste of the old days.
Today, this lovely street hosts couples
who come to relax after a long working day, tourists, young students
and anyone who wants to take a peaceful walk and watch around. With
its nice cafes, restaurants and cozy bars, it's an indispensable spot
for Istanbul people...
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