Linking medieval Genoese neighborhoods to the world-famous Taksim Square, Istiklal Caddesi is lined with numerous cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries. One of the city’s major shopping destinations, it is also host to numerous international art festivals such as the famed Istanbul Film Festival, and it continues to be the setting for all sorts of local activities such as parades, marches, gatherings, and political protests. Easily accessible from surrounding neighborhoods by bus and on foot, Istiklal Caddesi is a popular spot for people of all ages--while many enjoy the bustle of the main thoroughfare, others enjoy taking detours onto its many adjoining passageways that house shopping galleries, markets, and peaceful courtyards.
Istanbul’s mile-long pedestrianized street, Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue), is located in the historic district of Beyoğlu and begins at the city’s landmark, Galata Tower. Built during the Ottoman Empire, the street was originally known as Grande Rue de Pera, until it was renamed by the new Turkish Republic in the early 19th century. While today the street is pedestrian-dominated, it was once a dangerous high-speed automobile highway that fell into disrepair in the 1970s. The street regained its vibrancy a decade later when the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality began a massive restoration process that included the repaving of roads and the reinstallation of the city’s historic trams. Because of these efforts, Istiklal Avenue has once again become one of Istanbul’s prime destinations for arts and social activity.
*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.
Across many cultures and times – since the beginning of civilization, in fact – the street has held vast social, commercial, and political significance as a powerful symbol of the public realm.
Transit is a component, but by no means the extent, of your experience at a station that is a place. Memorable and enjoyable stations and stops that create value for neighborhoods are perfectly attainable. In fact, a transit station or stop can serve much more than a transportation function; it can be a setting for community interaction, a place that fosters a diversity of activities.