Great Place Wednesday: Istiklal Street; Istanbul, Turkey

Istiklal Street in Istanbul is THE place to be on any given evening in Turkey. As Europe’s largest city by population, Istanbul is a vibrant, modern, and western city, literally bridging the divide between Europe and Asia. Istiklal is a microcosm of the many cultures that mix in Istanbul’s melting pot. As a pedestrian only street, thousands stroll nightly, sharing the space with the occasional streetcar.  High-end shops and restaurants line the street, and its literally standing room only on Istiklal at night.  Nearly 3 million people walk Istiklal on any given weekend evening.

At the head of Istiklal is Taksim Square, the central transportation hub of modern day Istanbul.

Monument commemorating modern Turkish independence in Taksim Square.

Streetcar running down the middle of Istiklal.

Istiklal Street ends in the old Genoese quarter of Istanbul, originally settled by Italians setting up a trade relationship with the Ottomans.