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Ali Sami Yen Stadium ( ) is the home of the football club Galatasaray SK in Istanbulmarker, Turkeymarker. It is named after the founder of the club, Ali Sami Yen. The stadium has a capacity of 24,000 (all-seater) and is situated in the Mecidiyeköymarker quarter of the Şişlimarker district, at the center of the European side of the city.

Galatasaray fans at the stadium

Between 1921 and 1939, Galatasaray and the two other major football clubs of Istanbul, Beşiktaş JK and Fenerbahçe SKmarker, played their matches at the historic Taksim Stadium on Taksim Squaremarker, which was located inside the courtyard of the Ottoman era Taksim Artillery Barracks (Taksim Topçu Kışlası) built by Sultan Abdülmecid I in the 1840s; the surrounding walls of which were transformed into tribunes. Taksim Stadium was demolished in 1939 and was replaced with the present-day Taksim Park (Taksim Gezi Parkı) in the 1940s and 1950s. As a result, the major football teams of Istanbul had to find a new stadium to play their matches. Galatasaray Sports Club decided to build a large, modern stadium, and construction works began in 1943. Due to the difficulties faced during the World War II years, only a small stadium could initially be built, which was opened in 1945. However, construction works continued on the site and the current stadium was completed in 1964.

Ali Sami Yen Stadium was inaugurated on December 14 1964, with a friendly game between Turkey and Bulgaria. Unfortunately, tragedy struck during the opening match: in one of the stands many people fell onto the first floor, which caused numerous injuries, but luckily none of them were fatal. Spotlights were added to the stadium in 1965, and night games began to be played (the lighting system was renovated in 1993). The stadium is made up of 2 identical lateral stands which are covered by a roof: the Numaralı (Numbered) stand, where the TV cameras are located; and the Kapalı (Covered) stand, where the most fanatical team supporters usually view the games. The two other stands, behind the goal gates, are the Yeni Açık (New Open), with 2 tiers, and the Eski Açık (Old Open), with the electronic scoreboard.

In the past, games were played in front of more than 40,000 spectators in this stadium, which is nicknamed "Hell" by Galatasaray's supporters because of its intimidating atmosphere and the enthusiastic support of the fans who often make mass use of torches, smoke, drums, flags and giant posters to create visual grandeur and apply psychological pressure on visiting teams. Ali Sami Yen is important for Galatasaray because it has seen many victories against renowned European football clubs, such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Milan, Manchester United and many others.

The stadium is located in Mecidiyeköymarker, one of the most crowded quarters of central Istanbulmarker, surrounded by dense urban development. In recent years, numerous proposals have been put forward to demolish the current stadium and build a larger one on the same location, but this is impossible due to the lack of space.

Currently Galatasaray is building a new stadiummarker in the Seyrantepe quarter near Maslak financial district, the name of which has been changed to Aslantepe (Lion Hill) after Galatasaray purchased the ground; Aslan (Lion) being Galatasaray's symbol. The construction works of the new stadium have started at the end of 2007. The new stadium will have a capacity of 52.647, making it the largest private stadium owned by a club in Turkey. It will also feature a mobile pitch and a hydraulic dome at the top(retractable roof) which can be closed in case of rain or snow. There are also plans for building a 15,500 seated multi-purpose sports hall, an Arena Complex (shopping-entertainment-business center)and a cinema complex. It is expected to be completed on October 29, 2010.

Games and tickets

A portion of the stadium, covering around 7,000 to 8,000 seats, is sold annually in the form of seasonal tickets. Average number of fans per game is around 19,000, while the stadium has a capacity of 24,000.


The best atmosphere in the stadium is in the Kapalı (Covered) stand, where the most fanatical fans congregate. For more comfort, the Numaralı (Numbered) stand is the best, but this is also the most expensive one. The stadium's most modern section is the recently rebuilt Eski Açık (Old Open) stand.


Access to Ali Sami Yen is very easy, as the stadium is not far from popular tourist locations such as Taksim Squaremarker. There is a subway station near the stadium, as well as a bus stop for several lines of the Metropolitan Municipality's bus network. The subway station's name is "Şişli/Mecidiyeköy".

The New Ali Sami Yen Stadium

Interior view of the new stadium

The New Ali Sami Yen Stadiummarker, also known as the Aslantepe Arenamarker, is under construction in the Seyrantepe (Seyran Hill) neighbourhood (renamed as Aslantepe (Lion Hill) by the Municipality of Şişlimarker as a gesture for Galatasaray, whose mascot is the Lion), near the Maslak financial district. The stadium's project was introduced to the Turkish press on May 11 2007. It will have a fully retractable roof and a seating capacity for 52,647 spectators, excluding the seats of the VIP lounges. The stadium will also have its own metro station. Construction works are scheduled to be completed in 23 months.

See also

References and notes

  1. Taksim Stadium
  2. Hürriyet: İşte G.Saray'ın yeni stadı

External links

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