We visited Istiklal Street, probably the busiest street in Istanbul. This pedestrian street stretches between Taksim Square and the Tunel area for about 3 – 4 km in the Beyoglu district.
It is also a route for historical trams providing a nostalgic feeling for everybody who is interested in history. Today this prominent street attracts people of all ages and it is probably the most visited spot in Istanbul.
The Street is dominated by many kinds of trendy and traditional shops, restaurants, cafes and patisseries, cozy bars, cinema halls and arcades. Apart from them, many buildings which have been used for a long time still stand on both sides and bear witness to the history of the Street. There are also some old Russian and French restaurants hidden in the small streets of the district.
Halfway down the street, at Galatasaray Square, stands the Junior High School with its huge gate and very impressive style. If you continue walking along the Grand Rue de Pera, the former name of the street, you reach the marvelous Catholic Church of St. Anthony, which was built in 1907.
Off the street at Galatasaray Square there is a passage known locally as “Çiçek Pasajı”, which means Flower Passage in English. The passage is known for its fish markets, fish restaurants and warm bars but, strangely, there are no flowers! The construction of the passage was finished in 1876 by order of Hristaki Efendi. Then the passage was known as Hristaki Passage and some called it the Cite de Pera. There were many workshops at ground level. Higher levels were used as pensions at that time. The story behind the current name of the passage is a little nostalgic. The Russian girls who sold flowers were escaping from the soldiers and hiding in the passage. Therefore the current name was given to the passage.