Monday, 13 May 2019

Istanbul Attraction: Taksim Square And Istiklal Street

The bustling Taksim Square and the area around it is probably the best place to feel the pulse of Istanbul. Taksim is the modern commercial, entertainment and shopping hub of the city and Taksim Square is a significant square which serves as a popular congregation point for locals and tourists alike. With just 3 hours to spend here, this is what we did.

1. Visit Monument Of The Republic
It is hard to miss Monument Of The Republic that stands on Taksim Square as the monument is quite prominent. This monument was erected to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. We took quite a number of photos here.
Ronnie posing with Monument Of The Republic 

Besides hanging around and watching the world goes by there is nothing really much to do in Taksim Square itself so we walked out to the nearby avenue called Istiklal Street where the bulk of the activities lies.

2. Vintage Tram @ Istiklal Street
There is a vintage tram that runs 1.6 km from Taksim Square to Tunel Square along Istiklal Street which is otherwise pedestrianized. We had wanted to experience riding on it and then walking all the way back to Taksim Square but figured out that we might not be able to make it back in time as the tram schedule is not frequent enough and we had a lot of other activities in mind. We just walked along Istiklal Street instead.

3. Visit Cicek Pasaji (Flower Passage)
Cicek Pasaji which is translated from Turkish language to mean Flower Passage is a 1876 heritage building that is known for its superb design. The interior of the building is like an arcade with restaurants and pubs lining the passage through it. This gorgeous building is located along Istiklal Street.

Though the interior exudes elegance and class, the menus offered by the various restaurants here are surprisingly fair-priced.

Among some stunning features of Cicek Pasaji is its see-through domed roof.

4. Visit Resit Balik Market
Resit Balik Market is located along the lane at the side entrance of Cicek Pasaji. The market stalls are spread out on both sides of Sahne Sk (name of the lane) and you can see stalls selling fresh seafood, vegetables and fruits. There are a number of seafood eateries as well.

Stuffed mussels available in this small eatery is a delicacy here.

5. Visit French Street
I was eager to see a place called 'French Street in Taksim and finally made it there even though the location which is about 300 meters off Istiklal Street, is rather obscured. The so-called French Street is actually a narrow uphill passage with a stairway lined with many restaurants on either side. The buildings are very colourful, the tables and chairs along the passage are also colorful but not many restaurants were opened during my visit. Even though it is called French Street the ambiance is not very French, I opine. 

6. Have Lunch At Patatos Restaurant
We walked back to Istiklal Street and tired from the long walk, we took a lunch break. The food at Patatos Restaurant looked good and we chose to dine there. This restaurant sells baked potatoes (locally known as Kumpir) which is split open and filled with assorted side dishes of diners' choice. We had a sumptuous meal of kumpir, sandwich and orange juice before continuing with our walking tour.

7. Visit Sent Antuan Kilisesi Church
There are a few heritage churches and mosques around Istiklal Street. We picked the most beautiful which is Sent Antuan Kilisesi aka St. Antoine Church to visit. Established in 1912, this is also the largest Catholic Church in Istanbul.

8. Visit Armenian Three Horan Church
While snaking through some lanes around Istiklal Street we came across the Armenian Three Horan Church. This is just a normal church and nothing as beautiful as Sent Antuan Kilisesi.

9. Eat A Turkish ice Cream
The Turkish ice cream, locally known as Dondurma is a must-try if you are in Turkey. There are many stalls selling this ice-cream along Istiklal Street. We tried it a couple of times and love the uniqueness of it. Turkish ice cream is a little different from western ice-creams as it is creamy, stretchy and sticky at the same time. This stretchy stickiness is due to the addition of an aromatic resin called mastic as part of its ingredients. Ronnie and I had a whopping 3 scoops each as we knew we would never be able to eat it again when we leave Turkey.

10. Quick Visits To Shopping Arcades Around Istiklal Street
Istiklal Street is robust as it is packed to the brim with restaurants, boutiques, shops, shopping arcades, places of worship and museums. Three hours was barely enough to see all that it has to offer so we just took quick peeks at a few shopping arcades to see what's for sale.

I wish we had more time to browse through the items on display as some look interesting and authentically Turkish.

11. Experience Istiklal Lifestyle
Street musicians, tempting local cuisines, street vendors.....there is a hive of activities here.

12. Visit Gezi Park
With 15 minutes left before having to congregate at Taksim Square to return to our tour bus, we made a quick run to visit Gezi Park, a beautiful park located close by. There is a children's playground, a fountain, and lots of green trees, indeed a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of its neighboring ground.

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5. Istanbul Attraction: Tulip Festival @ Emirgan Park
6. Istanbul Attraction: Topkapi Palace Museum Photo Gallery
7.Istanbul Attraction: Taksim Square And Istiklal Street
8.Istanbul Attraction: Bosphorus Cruise
9. Staying In Radisson Blu Residence, Istanbul
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1 comment :

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