What: A mainly pedestrian street lined with cafes, clothing shops, bookstores, restaurants and apartments above the street level.
Why it Works: Istiklal Caddesi is a lively, constantly changing scene. Throughout most of the 20th century, the street was famous for cars speeding down it and pedestrians were unwelcome. Recently, it has been turned into a pedestrian mall, and has become one of Istanbul’s most fashionable streets. If the main street itself weren’t attractive enough, the stroller can also step into perpendicular passageways that contain shopping galleries, food markets (with stalls for vegetables, fresh fish, and all sorts of unexpected things), or simply beautiful courtyards. This creates a dynamic pedestrian experience filled with choice. The area is easily accessible by bus from the nearby Taksim Square and by foot from several surrounding neighborhoods. There are always clumps of young people forming here, and as in other parts of the city, street vendors make their way through the crowds. Istiklal Caddesi is certainly a meeting place that gets heavy use by both tourists and locals.
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