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İstiklal Avenue (Turkish: İstiklâl Caddesi, French: Grand Rue de Pera, English: Independence Avenue) is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbulmarker, Turkeymarker, visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day over the course of weekends. Located in the historic Beyoğlumarker district, it is an elegant pedestrian street, approximately three kilometers long, which houses exquisite boutiques, music stores, bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theaters, libraries, cafés, pubs, night clubs with live music, historical patisseries, chocolateries and restaurants. The avenue, surrounded by the unique nineteenth century Turkish architecture , starts from the medieval Genoese neighbourhoodmarker around Galata Towermarker and ultimately leads up to Taksim Squaremarker.
Historic tram on İstiklal Avenue
Galatasaray Square is located at approximately the center of the avenue and is home to one of the finest educational institutions established in Turkey at the time of the Ottoman Empire; originally known as the Galata Sarayı Enderun-u Hümayunu (Galatamarker Palace Imperial School) and today known as Galatasaray Lisesimarker.

In the historic Karaköy district towards the end of the avenue, it is possible to see the world's second-oldest subway station, generally known and referred to as simply Tünelmarker (The Tunnel) which entered service in 1875. Moreover, the German High School of Istanbul (Deutsche Schule Istanbulmarker in German, Özel Alman Lisesimarker in Turkish) is also located near Tünel.

The cosmopolitan avenue is surrounded by an array of historical and politically significant buildings, such as the Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Passage) where small, intimate restaurants and taverns are found; Balık Pazarı (The Fish Market), the Roman Catholic churches of Santa Maria and S.marker Antonio di Padovamarker, the Greek Orthodox Haghia Triada, the Armenian Church (among many other churches), several synagogues, mosques, academic institutions established by various European nations such as Austriamarker, Francemarker, Germanymarker and Italymarker in the early 19th century, consulates (former embassies before 1923) of several nations including Francemarker, Greecemarker, Russiamarker, Spainmarker, Swedenmarker, The Netherlandsmarker and the United Kingdommarker.

During the Ottoman period, the avenue was called Cadde-i Kebir (Grand Avenue) and was a popular spot for Ottoman intellectuals, also becoming a center for European foreigners and the local Italian and French Levantines who referred to it as Grande Rue de Péra. When 19th century travelers referred to Constantinoplemarker (today, Istanbulmarker) as the Paris of the East, they were mentioning the Grande Rue de Péra (İstiklal Caddesi) and its half-European, half-Asian culture. With the declaration of the Republic on October 29, 1923, the avenue's name was changed to İstiklal (Independence) for commemorating the triumph at the Turkish War of Independence.

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