Istiklal Avenue/ Caddesi
Istiklal Avenue is one of the most lively and crowded places in Istanbul with its shops and movies. The street is what keeps the district alive; historically it has been the main entartainment center. The street, which runs between Taksim and Tunel, is the most cosmopolitan street in Istanbul.
The development of Istiklal Avenue (Street) happened in parallel with the development of Beyoglu district. The intial heart of the street encompassed the area, starting from the feet of Galata tower up until Galatasaray. This place remained the heart of the street until the 19th century. The development of the street, which was a dirt road until the 18th century, started with the rising number of foreigners. The street was called “Grande Rue” by the forigners and “Cadde-i Kebir” by the Ottomans, both meaning “Grand Avenue.”
During the second half of the 19th century the Grand Rue adopted its current structure. The heart of Pera, which was the residential area for foreigners from the West, attaches, and non-Muslim minorities, beat here. The Grande Rue was lined with shop windows reflecting luxury and glamour, hotels, an ever growing number of restaurants, bars, and entartainment centers, movie theaters, opera, ballet and circus performances; this was location in Istanbul where Western entertainment was at its most lavish.
In the Vicinity of Istiklal Avenue
French Cultural Center
The French Culturel Center is located at the begining of Istiklal Avenue when coming from direction of Taksim Square, the starting point of the Beyoglu district. The center offers cultural activities reflecting the Franco-Turkish relationship as well as language courses. It was built at the same time as the first forign embassy building in Istanbul, the French embassy or the French Palace, in the 17th century. It was originally constructed as a hospital. This wooden building underwent several repairs in the 19th century. It was rebuilt as a stone building in 1898 and started serving as the French Embassy in 1920.
This is on Istiklal Avenue in the Beyoglu district. The mosque Sakızağacı Street to the west and Maliyeci Street to the north. The mosque was built in 1594 by the Agha of Galatasaray, Sheikh-ul Islam Huseyin, and was later renovated during the reign of Mahmud II in 1984. The mosque is attached to the Rumeli Han from the east and is completely surrounded by a courtyard wall.
Galatasaray Turkish Baths
The Hamam (Turkish baths) is on the left side of Galatasaray High School, at the crosroads between the Turnacıbaşı Street and Çapanoğlu Street. It was originally constructed on the order of Sultan Beyazıd II in 1481 in the complex of the Galatasaray School, which gave its name to district.
Galatasary High School
This school was originally known as the Galata Sarayı Mekteb-i Sultanisi, or Mekteb-i Sultani School of the Sultan, signifying that it was founded by the Sultan.
Saint Antoine Church
Saint Antoine Church is on Istikla Avenue in Beyoğlu, on the left hand side as one goes from Galatasaray to the Tunel. The church, and the buildings that surround it are the work of the architect Giulio Mongeri.
The Taksim district can be considered one of the most relatively new districts in Istanbul. Centruies ago, Armenian cemetery in a huge meadow and a Muslim cemetery with cypress trees were located here.
Atatürk Cultural Center
When there was a need to construct a building to host cultural activities, naturally Taksim was the first place that came to mind. After the demolation of the Ayazpaşa cemetery in the 1920s, it was the location chosen for bulding apertment buildings; while in the 1920s it was the location chosen for the Great Opera Hall.
At the intersection of Teşvkiye, Osmanbey, Valikonağı and Harbiye there is stone that is the symbol of Nisantasi; this stone gave the district its name. On the stone is written: “This work of art was made by Sultan Mecid for no compensation.”