Istiklal Street

Early History of Istiklal Street

Istiklal Street or Istiklal Avenue is one of the most visited streets in Istanbul. This street is in Beyoglu, one of the oldest districts. One end is in Tunnel in Galata, and one end is in Taksim Square. The middle of the street is the region where Galatasaray High School is. The street, which has an average height of 74 meters, hosts nine separate neighborhoods. The history of Istiklal, which dates back to ancient times, is curious by everyone. Here is the history of Istiklal Street from the Ottoman to the Republic.

Istiklal Avenue started to take shape with the Byzantine period. During this period and afterward, it had Catholic churches and monasteries in its body. These parts are in the Pera region. At that time, a large part of the population of Galata lived inside the walls. The commercial structure that developed with the transfer of Istanbul to the Ottoman administration enabled the Latins to move to the slopes overlooking the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. The section between these two parts started to gain value and formed the silhouette of Istiklal Street. The gradual development of trade has also increased immigration to its environment. Many embassies moved here during this period.

Istiklal Historic Tram
Istiklal Street

Ottoman Influence

Other events that helped shape Taksim were II. Bayezid had the mosque known as Asmali Mescit, and he also built the Novice Boys Barracks in the same period. With the 15th century, the Muslim population started to migrate to the region. This population did not increase as quickly as the foreign population. The international community continued their understanding of entertainment and needs in this region. In 1628 the St. Louis Church was completed. Istiklal Street is the route from Galata Tower to Galata Palace Barracks School in the 17th century. In this period, Christian structures such as Terra Sainte Church and Franciscan Church built on the street.

European Effect

The street continued to develop in the 18th century. As of the end of the 18th century, there were different buildings up to Galatasaray Square. Then, single houses were on the other side of the street. When we reach the 19th century, the modern understanding of Istiklal Avenue started to prevail. The street now caters to the intellectual, and non-Muslim sections of the Ottoman Empire. During this period, it continued its development with various reforms. The street, which continued to develop at full speed during the reign of Abdulaziz, started to become similar to the famous streets of Paris. In this process, electric trams began working; they built a sewage system; the street had gas lamps and had stone paving. With these developments, the face of the street has also improved.

When we came to the 20th century, the name of the street called “Grande Rue de Pera,” “Buyuk Cadde,” and “Cadde-i Kebir” became “Istiklal Caddesi” with the declaration of the republic. In this period, the street lived its most glorious times with its cinemas, galleries, bakeries, and hotels. The Russians, who escaped from the civil war with the 1917 October Revolution, took on a completely different atmosphere when they included their culture on the street. There were many different languages spoken, and many nations have lived.

Modern Istiklal Street

After this process, there was a period when landlords demolished some buildings, and replace them with tasteless buildings. The street received great migrations over time. Until the ’90s, the street lost its former ambiance and lost its attraction center feature. With the 90s, Istiklal Street started to gain the necessary importance again, the municipality closed some of the roads that could spoil the air of the street, cleaned and restored the street, and some buildings. Istiklal Avenue, which has survived to the present day, has become an essential center in terms of food, entertainment, and shopping. It continues to host millions of domestic and foreign tourists every year.

Private Tours of Istiklal Street

If you are interested in visiting the Istiklal Street with an experienced private tour guide, please contact us! Our private tours are the best option to enjoy wonderful and complex sites such as the Istiklal Street.

Let us make your time in Istanbul a memorable one!

Contact Us