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ISTIKLAL CADDESI


 

Istiklal Caddesi (Istiklal Avenue), is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, Turkey. Located in the Beyoglu neighborhood of Istanbul, it is a gallant pedestrian street, approximately 3 km long, that houses tens of exquisite boutiques, music and bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theaters, cafés, bars, libraries, pubs, coffeehouses, historical patisseries, chocolateries, technological centers, and restaurants, all of which are seamlessly integrated into the elegant 19th century Turkish architecture. This nostalgic Avenue starts from the historic neighbourhood around the Galata Tower and leads up to Taksim Square, while taking the individual through a dream-like trip through its unique historical complexion.



 

The Galatasaray Square is at approximately halfway through the Avenue and houses one of the finest educational institutions established in Turkey at the time of the Ottoman Empire; formerly "Mekteb-i Sultani" ("the school of Sultans"), today Galatasaray Lisesi.



 

In the historic Karaköy district that is located towards the end of the Avenue, it is possible to see the world's second-oldest subway, today generally known and referred to as simply Tünel (The Tunnel).



 

The cosmopolitan Avenue also houses an array of historical and politically significant buildings, such as the Çiçek Pasajı ("The Flower Courtyard", where small, intimate restaurants and taverns are found), Balık Pazarı ("The Fish Bazaar"), the St.Antoine, Santa Maria and the Armenian Churches (among many others), several sinagouges, a mosque, academic institutions established by various European nations such as Germany, Italy, Austria, and France in the early 19th century, consulates of several nations including France, Greece, Sweden, Armenia, Russia, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom.



 

During the reign of the Ottoman Empire, the street was called Cadde-i Kebir ("Grand Avenue") and became a center for European foreigners, Levantines (who referred to the Avenue as "Grande Rue de Péra"), Ottoman intellectuals and western culture admirers during the reforms in the 19th century. When 19th-century travelers referred to Constantinople (today, Istanbul) as "The Paris of the East", they were thinking of the Grande Rue de Péra (Istiklal Caddesi) and its half-European, half-Asian culture. With the declaration of the Republic in October 29, 1923, the street's name was changed to Istiklal, meaning "independence", to commemorate the triumphal Turkish War of Independence.

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