Istiklal Street is one of the most famous and lively streets in Istanbul, Turkey. It is a pedestrian-only avenue that stretches for about 1.5 kilometers from Taksim Square to Tunel Square. It is lined with historical buildings, shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, cinemas, art galleries, museums, and cultural centers. It is also home to the nostalgic tram that runs along the street, adding to its charm and appeal.
If you want to visit Istiklal Street, here are some information and tips that might help you:
- Ticket: You don’t need a ticket to enter Istiklal Street. It is open to the public 24/7. However, you might need to pay for some attractions or services along the street, such as museums, cinemas, or the tram.
- Open and close days and hours: Istiklal Street is always open, but some of the establishments along it might have different opening and closing hours. Generally, most shops are open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., while cafes and restaurants are open until midnight or later. Bars and clubs are usually open until 4:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m. Museums and art galleries have varying schedules, but they are usually closed on Mondays.
- How to get there: You can easily reach Istiklal Street by public transportation or taxi. The nearest metro station is Taksim, which is connected to the airport and other parts of the city. From there, you can walk or take the tram to Istiklal Street. You can also take the funicular from Kabatas to Taksim or from Karakoy to Tunel. Alternatively, you can take a bus or a taxi to Taksim Square or Tunel Square and walk from there.
- Tips: Istiklal Street is very crowded at any time of the day, especially on weekends and holidays. Be prepared for the noise and hustle of the street and keep an eye on your belongings. Also, be respectful of the local culture and dress modestly, especially if you plan to visit any mosques or religious sites along the street. Avoid wearing shorts, skirts, sleeveless tops, or anything too revealing.
- Tours: If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Istiklal Street and its surroundings, you can join a guided tour that will take you to some of the most interesting spots and landmarks along the street. Some of the tours also include visits to nearby areas such as Galata Tower, Taksim Square, or Cukurcuma. You can find many tour options online or ask your hotel for recommendations.
- Prohibitions: There are no specific prohibitions on Istiklal Street, but you should follow the general rules of etiquette and safety in Istanbul. For example, do not litter, smoke, drink alcohol, or display affection in public. Do not take photos of people without their permission or enter private property without invitation. Do not get involved in any political or religious discussions or demonstrations. Do not accept any offers from strangers or street vendors that seem too good to be true.
- What to see: There are many things to see and do on Istiklal Street, depending on your interests and preferences. Here are some of the highlights:
- Flower Passage: A historic arcade that was once a flower market and now houses many restaurants and bars that serve traditional Turkish cuisine and music.
- Pera Museum: A private museum that showcases collections of Orientalist paintings, Anatolian weights and measures, and Kutahya tiles and ceramics.
- Asmalimescit: A lively neighborhood that has many cafes, eateries, art performances, and nightlife venues.
- Galata Mevlevi House Museum: A former dervish lodge that displays exhibits related to the Sufi order of Mevlevi and their whirling dance rituals.
- Galata Tower: A medieval tower that offers panoramic views of Istanbul and hosts a restaurant and a nightclub at its top.