Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue) is the heart of Beyoglu, the more modern district of Istanbul built during the 19th century.
The city's most popular strolling, shopping and snacking street, now reserved for pedestrians, is lined with boutiques, cafes, consulates, restaurants, galleries, cinemas and banks, with residential apartments above.
Come in the daytime for shopping, in the evening for strolling, people-watching, supper in one of the many restaurants, a drink in a cafe or bar, and some music in a little nightspot.When 19th-century travelers spoke of Constantinople (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.
Taksim Square leads to Istiklal Street, a broad and lively byway of shops, restaurants and cafes, offices and embassies housed in an assortment of nineteenth century buildings that stand shoulder to shoulder along an avenue closed to all traffic save a one-car trolley that winds its way up and down the single track in its center.
This is the heart of Beyoglu, a neighborhood that a century ago had been the mercantile center of European Istanbul where a multitude of nationalities lived, conducted business, and frequented the areas sophisticated hotels, theaters, cafes and shops. To this day the diversity of the regions churches, synagogues and mosques cannot be equaled anywhere in the world.