Cihangir is one of the most beautiful locations in Istanbul. It has been treasured by Istanbulites of all ages from past to present. It is one of the best districts for conveying the city’s rich historical texture to us, with its heritage buildings and romantic winding streets. This charming district has maintained its popularity in many different forms and throughout different periods of history. It has been a center of attraction for everyday life with its cafés and bars, and as a center of the city’s art scene with its museums. It is a vivid place with lots of opportunities to interact with the local cats and birds in the streets. Let’s take a closer look at the distinctive features of this special district.

A Historical Journey to the Streets of Cihangir…
Cihangir is located in the northern part of the Beyoglu section of Istanbul. This neighborhood rests on a downhill slope that extends from Siraselviler Street and Kazancı Slope to Findikli (another area famous for its many hills). The history of this district has seen it as a prosperous financial center, hosting many respectable businesses and banks. As far back as 1563, the area has also been a home for struggling and unfortunate women and men and has had times, such as the 1930s and 40s, where brothels and the wealthiest segments of the city coexisted side by side.
The district takes its name from Sehzade Cihangir, the son of Suleiman the Magnificent and Hurem Sultan. The district began with the Cihangir Mosque, which was built on a hill in the district by Architect Sinan upon the death of the sultan’s son at a young age. Settlement grew around this building, creating the dense neighbourhood of today. Many of the attractive concrete apartment buildings of Cihangir were constructed during the 20th century to avoid the fires caused by wooden houses in the 19th century. This style was especially popular as the area rapidly became more dense and populous. Cihangir suffered through a period of neglect after the departure of non-Muslims, as they had made up the vast majority of the population in the 1960s. But the area went through a period of renewal after 1980, after again being embraced by artists, and it is now a location of continuing social and cultural significance.

Places to See in Cihangir
In addition to exploring its narrow streets, enjoying dessert and coffee in its cafés, and providing many backdrops for excellent photos, Cihangir also offers experiences for specific areas of interest:

Museums: There are two museums in the region that will attract the attention of literature enthusiasts; the Orhan Kemal Museum and the Museum of Innocence in Cukurcuma. The Orhan Kemal museum, where Orhan Kemal’s personal belongings and photographs are exhibited, will allow you to take a mini journey into the past. The Museum of Innocence ( which attracts attention with its colorful brick building), offers a special experience inspired by Orhan Pamuk’s novel of the same title. It brings to life the settings and the characters of that novel.

Antique and vintage shops:If you are interested in antique household items or clothes, numerous shops in this region will be the perfect shopping stops for you. It is possible to find rare pieces at affordable prices here. You can visit the antique shops where you can find interesting pieces as well as historical baths and boutique cafés (as well as in the neighboring district of Cukurcuma).

Cihangir stairs: You will encounter the Cihangir stairs as you walk down from Kilic Ali Pasha District to Tophane. This will offer you a perfect place to spend a moment sitting or resting while enjoying a unique view of the Bosphorus.


Karakoy will welcome you with its historical buildings, when you start in Eminonu and take in the breathtaking view of Galata Bridge. It is one of the districts that best reflects the coexistence of past and present with its old commercial complexes and bank buildings along the main street. This district has an exceptional atmosphere of history. Over the last seven or eight years, it has been transformed by a wave of new generation cafés and shops. It has become one of the places where the heart of commerce beats fast. Discover it with us in this article, which includes the historical background of Karakoy, one of the oldest residential and commercial areas of Istanbul, and see what you can do when you visit there today.

A Port District That Has Been Active in Every Era…
Karakoy has been actively used as a port since the Byzantine period. This is thanks to the geography of the Golden Horn that separates Eminonu and Beyoglu from each other. It was previously a place where those famous merchants of history, the Genovese, greatly profited in their settlement and business activities. This region was reserved for the use of merchants after the Ottomans conquered Istanbul. In addition to the Genoese and Muslims, it has been home to Greeks, Armenians, Georgians, Jews, and others.

A pier was completed by a French company in 1895, and around that time Karakoy gained a new façade with banks opening in the area formerly known as Voyvoda (now Bankalar Street). It developed gradually in this period with insurance companies from different countries being established here, as well as the headquarters of the Ottoman Bank. Increasing commercial activities in the region in the 20th century enabled Karakoy to expand further, accompanied by customs buildings, a passenger terminal and sea warehouses. In addition to Greek taverns along the pier, this area was once the center of brothels, including the infamous Zurafa Street. Today, there are active ferry docks, and fish restaurants and dessert shops are concentrated here. Hardware stores and electronics shops are located on Kemeralti Street, the biggest street. It is a district that still maintains its significance for tradespeople.

Places to Visit in Karakoy
Karakoy attracts much attention in the area between Kemankes and Mumhane streets, which have a feeling of renewal from the effect of the third-generation coffee shop trend and have become a popular destination for young people. But it also demands attention with its historical-touristic buildings. We have listed some of them for you:

Religious Centers: This district, where people of many nationalities and religious beliefs live, has become one of the places where synagogues, churches, and mosques coexist together. Some of the small and large-scale buildings are: Tofre Begadim Synagogue, Zulfaris Synagogue, Arap Mosque, St. Benoit Church, Surp Pirgic Armenian Catholic Church and Panavia Turkish Orthodox Church.

Art Galleries: Another section of Beyoglu, which was the center of the art scene for many years, is Karakoy. This region harbors numerous art galleries such as the Istanbul Modern, Mixer, Global Karakoy, D’art Gallery and Sanatorium.

Kamondo Stairs: Kamondo stairs, built in the art nouveau style, is one of the symbols of the region. It will be a beautiful photo stop for you.

Istiklal Avenue

Istiklal Avenue
Istiklal Avenue has hosted people from almost every nation throughout history. It has embraced all activities from trade to entertainment, and from residences to art events. The pace and traffic of this street has never decreased since Ottoman times. Istiklal Avenue has become a place of both cultural and strategic importance. It has a structure that can appeal to different segments of Istanbul and Turkey, as well as a face that is constantly being renewed and changed. Let us take a closer look at the historical importance of this place which can rank at the top of the locations you must definitely visit even if you have a very short time during your trip to Istanbul.

The Meeting Point of the World…
One historical event enabled Istiklal Avenue to gain its present value: after the Ottomans conquered Istanbul they relocated the people living near the city wall to the Galata region and beyond. This led to the populating of the area. This area, became increasingly popular with the construction of new buildings by populations from various foreign nationalities, especially the French. Where a French palatial building had been built in the same period, the street took the name Grande Rue de Pera.
A mosque, the Galata Mevlevihanesi, was built in the 15th century, and later, the mosque known as the Asmalı Mescit (which doesn’t exist today but gave the now famous street its name) was built and the Muslim population gradually increased in the region as communities started to settle, but it was the culture of foreigners that dominated the texture of the avenue. The avenue, known as Cadde-i Kebir in Ottoman Turkish, gradually evolved with the surrounding streets over the centuries. After the proclamation of the republic, it was renamed as Istiklal (Independence in Turkish) Avenue with a new spirit of cultural growth, including new theaters, cinemas, hotels and restaurants. For a long period of time, this region became a colorful and vibrant place with a cosmopolitan structure that harbored different cultures. However, it started to lose its liveliness with abandonment and historical evictions of non-Muslims as a result of policies applied against them.

During the 1990s, many old buildings were repaired and transformed into art galleries, bookstores, and cafés, thus signalling a return to more culturally lively times. Istiklal Avenue is a site of serious and intensive foot traffic, along historic storefronts, in a world that faces constant pressure to rebuild in modern flat concrete..

Places to See in Istiklal Avenue
We have listed some of the places you must visit on Istiklal Avenue, with its historical buildings, art galleries, and old streets. It has restaurants, cafés and shops that have served for generations:

● St. Antuan Catholic Church
● Pera Museum
● Narmanlı Han
● Türvak Theater Museum
● Aznavur Pasajı
● Çiçek Pasajı
● Beyoglu Cinema
● Salt Beyoglu
● Pasaj Hazzopulo

Taksim Square

Taksim Square
Taksim Square is the most famous public square of Istanbul (and maybe all of Turkey). It is a special place because it is a public area that never sleeps. It is surrounded by restaurant chains, with shops and cafés active and busy, day and night. The history of this area dates back to the Ottoman period. Its popularity and importance continues to this day. It extends from Istiklal Avenue to Gumussuyu, and it is the center of attention in many aspects of Istanbul life. In this article, we briefly discuss its history and the changes it went through for those who might want to know more about Istanbul.

The Modern Icon of City Life…
The square takes its name from the water reservoir called “maksem”, which was built to transfer water to nearby places during the Ottoman period. The word “Taksim” means “to divide” in Turkish. Until the end of the 18th century, it was a plain field surrounded by cemeteries and used mainly by the non-Muslim people living in Galata and its surrounding regions for walking or socialization.

With the popularization of the Beyoglu region and the increasing population density, the “maksem” could not meet the water needs of its residents. Thus, the idea of establishing a larger water line, which Mahmut I had previously designed but could not implement, came to the agenda again. This project was realized by diverting the water from the water reservoir through a water line through Levent-Mecidiyekoy, and from the “maksem” to the surrounding regions. This would contribute to the development and maintenance of the district in the future.

A major event that increased the importance of Taksim Square was the construction of the Military Barracks, which went into operation in 1806. The Military Barracks was located in the area where Gezi Park is located today. It occupied a special place in Ottoman history as the field where the soldiers trained and affected the transformation of Taksim Square with the structural changes it went through. You can also check our Gezi Park page for more detailed information on this.

In the 1850s, Taksim Square began to develop a military character with the construction of the Barracks and the Gümüşsuyu Military Hospital. This created a contrast with the life of Pera people, the majority of whom were non-Muslims. The Armenian cemetery was moved to Sisli and more entertainment venues were built in that area. The tram line was built in 1913 to connect Beyoglu to Sisli and this also increased the value of Taksim over time. In the following years, various public projects changed the character of the area (such as the transformation of the Military Barracks into Taksim Stadium, and the subsequent transformation of the Stadium into Gezi Park, and the construction of the Ataturk Cultural Center and the Republic Monument). Through these, Taksim Square became a center that profoundly reflects the vitality of the city and the surrounding old districts.

Galata Tower

Galata Tower
There is a certain story about Galata Tower. In this story, a famous hero, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi, took to the wind from the top of this tower, on wooden wings, and landed in Uskudar... Now Galata Tower is not only one of the important buildings of our history, but is a valued landmark of the Istanbul skyline today. Its iconic architecture has survived throughout history serving different purposes in different eras. Continue reading to learn more about this building, which is one of the most eye-catching symbols of the panoramic view of both old and new Istanbul since its construction.

Istanbul’s Perpetual Silhouette Throughout Centuries
Galata Tower was built by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius as a “lantern tower” in 528. It takes its current name from the district where it is located. Most of the tower was destroyed during the 4th Crusades, and was reconstructed in 1348 under the name “Tower of Christ”. The tower was reinforced by the Genoese using stone masonry, and with the addition of the Galata ramparts, it became the tallest tower of its time.

Galata Tower was further modified between 1445-1446 after the Ottoman Empire conquered Istanbul and was regularly renewed in every century since then. It served as a shelter for prisoners of war employed at Kasımpasa shipyards in the 16th century. Afterwards, it was used as a city observatory under the Ottoman Sultan Murat III, although it was later closed in 1579.

The tower owes its greatest fame to a story the traveler Evliya Celebi tells. In it, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi took off from the tower with wings made of wood and landed on the other side of the Bosphorus, in Uskudar - Dogancilar. This event supposedly took place in 1638; the story attracted great interest in Europe and became a subject of engravings.

Galata Tower has been used for fire surveillance and reporting operations since 1717, and was damaged due to a fire during the reign of Selim III. The tower suffered many fires, and suicide attempts, and saw its cone topple in strong winds, and needed much repair and maintenance.

You should definitely add Galata Tower to your list of things to see when you visit Istanbul. It has managed to survive despite being subject to numerous damages and serious injuries for centuries, just to be there on the day of your visit. You can climb to the top of the tower and enjoy a unique view of Istanbul.

Nightlife in Istanbul

Nightlife in Istanbul
Istanbul has a lively energy all through the day, and that energy does not stop when the sun goes down. Its colorful nightlife provides an opportunity to find an entertaining society in settings of historical-cultural interest... Istanbul’s nightlife contains options that are suitable for different music tastes, with rich and innovative venues that can appeal to everyone, and unique entertainment options that bridge generational and cultural differences, while ensuring highly satisfying experiences. If you are looking for popular nightlife alternatives to have fun with your friends during your few days of Istanbul trip, the best places in Istanbul are waiting for you in this article! Find your way to an unforgettable night with the Istanbul nightclubs in our article.
First, we divide the night into two since both the European and Anatolian sides offer pleasurable entertainment options across a wide spectrum!

Venues in European Side
Beyoglu, Sisli, and Besiktas are the districts where the heart of entertainment beats on the European side of Istanbul. In Beyoglu, the regions where the venues are most concentrated are; Istiklal Avenue, Asmalimescit and Nevizade streets, and the rest of the Galata district. In Sisli, Nisantasi stands out. In Beşiktas, the districts most famous for nightlife are Ortakoy, Bebek and Etiler districts. Let us explore with examples which places are the most fun in the European side of Istanbul nightlife.

Loved by techno and electronic music lovers, Klein is among the most popular Istanbul nightclubs with DJ performances starting at 11 PM and lasting until 5 in the morning. The venue has two different nightclub branches, Klein Wall in Sariyer and Klein Sanayi in Sisli. It also gets attention with a Klein Garten branch opened with a bar and restaurant concept in Asmalimescit.

360 İstanbul
Located on the top floor of the historical Misir Apartment in Beyoglu, 360 Istanbul is an ideal venue not only to discover the extraordinary performances of Turkish and foreign DJs and dancers, but also to taste food from the world cuisine with its extensive menu. The place offers unlimited entertainment with a beautiful view of the Bosphorus. It has a great variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails.

Jungle 8
This has a special place among Istanbul nightclubs with its forest concept decoration. Jungle 8 is located in the Levent district of Besiktas. Jungle 8 opens its doors at 11 PM and continues until 4 in the morning with dance and music accompanied by DJ performances. It is the perfect option for those looking for a different experience in Istanbul.

Sess Nişantasi
Sess Nisantasi entertainments start at 10 PM and last until 3 AM. It promises an excellent night, especially to Turkish pop lovers and those who want to go back to the old times with music, mainly from the 90s. Sess Nişantasi is a preferred venue on weekdays for those who do not like crowded places. Itis one of the most popular places of Istanbul nightlife with its unique audience.

Ruby will fascinate you with its unique Bosphorus view. It has delicious dishes from world cuisine and minimal decoration. It is one of the leading upcoming nightclubs in Ortakoy. It is possible to spend an enjoyable evening accompanied by the beautiful sea ambience, with both Turkish and foreign music.

Venues in Anatolian Side
Entertainment on the Anatolian Side is concentrated in Kadıkoy center, Bagdat Street and Caddebostan bar street. We have shared some leading examples of Istanbul nightlife for you on this side of the Bosphorus, where the Kadıkoy bar street in Caferaga District is home to the most vibrant venues.

Cadde Sorti Club
Cadde Sorti Club will allow you to spend a nice evening of live performances from various local and foreign artists and DJs. It is one of the most popular venues on Bagdat Street. The venue has foreign and Turkish music, as well as live shows of a variety of types., You can enjoy the music and dance until the morning.

This venue has a garden concept with a bohemian seating arrangement amongst lush greenery. With its alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails, Arkaoda is a suitable choice for entertainment for more contemporary generations, especially with its shows that mainly consist of Indie music. This place enjoys different music themes and small-scale dance nights are organized from time to time. It is located in Kadıkoy bar street.

Kadıköy Sokak After
At Kadıkoy Sokak After, you can hear mostly house and R&B music. It is one of the first options that come to mind when you are in Moda, as a good location when it comes to Istanbul nightclubs… The venue offers a wide dancefloor as well as old school bar decor. It is one of the best places to try for a fun night.

Dorock XL
Dorock XL is has a large venue designed as a separate bar and concert-dance area. It is a common meeting point for everyone who enjoys different kinds of music. Concerts of many local and foreign bands and artists are organized here. It is one of the favorite nightclubs of Kadıkoy center, with dance nights after the concerts, and a pulsing rhythm that keeps playing until the morning hours.

Gezi Park

Gezi Park
Just north of bustling Taksim Square, you can find a space of refreshing trees and greenery. In this article, we will share with you both the history and the importance of this very green and free area, and how it continues to be one of the great symbols of Beyoglu and Istanbul…

From Taksim Military Barracks to Taksim Stadium…
The story of Gezi Park goes back to the military barracks in the period of the Ottoman Sultan Selim III. These barracks were built by the kapikulu soldiers for the artillery class based on the examples from Russian and Indian architecture. This area was a very active area where soldiers underwent training in the empty field in front of it. It would later be referred to by names such as Taksim Barracks and Halil Pasa Military Barracks. It was a meeting place for soldiers. It gave its name to the district that we know as Talimhane today. It began to lose its importance to the military after it became the center for rebels during the 31 March Incidents in 1909. Later the yard was evacuated and opened to sports activities during the 20th century, when a tribune was built and the area was turned into Taksim Stadium, the first stadium of Istanbul. The Turkish national football team played its first match in this stadium, against Romania in 1923.

Taksim Stadium fell into disuse after the construction of the larger Inonu Stadium in Besiktas in 1939. It remained a ruin for a while, and was demolished with a zoning plan prepared by urban planning expert Henri Prost that transformed it into Gezi Park. The park area almost immediately began to gradually shrink due to the restrictions imposed to benefit the businesses built around it. The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality attempted to repurpose the park in 2013 as part of the Taksim Pedestrianization Project. In reaction to this attempted project, a nationwide protest arose to save the park. The project was canceled as a result of the protests, popularly known as the Gezi Park incidents.

Although Gezi Park can sometimes be shaded by the encroaching buildings of the city, it is still one of the best places where the people living in Beyoglu (and those who visit the region) can stop by to take a walk, rest, and breathe. If you visit Taksim, you can visit Gezi Park to witness its green present and consider its history.