Today we have a long itinerary and we start by taking the tram from Sultanahmet to Kabatas and changed to a funicular to Taksim. It’s not for what Taksim Square has been in the news regarding the huge demo sometime ago that we are here, but rather to go to Istiklal street, the most happening street in Istanbul.
View of commercial area across the Monument.
The funicular service from Taksim to Tunel. In the background is the Istiklal street.
The funicular going round Taksim Monument to go back to Tunel.
Start of Istiklal street from Taksim. Notice the tram’s track.
As you leave Taksim Square towards Istiklal street, it gets you wondering where all these local crowd comes from. Don’t they go to work at this hour of the day? If you intend to explore Istiklal street, start from Taksim Square as you’ll be heading downhill all the way.
Istiklal street is one of the most famous area in Istanbul visited by nearly 3 million people in the weekends. Istiklal is an elegant pedestrian street, 1.4 kilometers long, where you’ll find boutiques, music stores, bookstores, cinemas, cafes and restaurants among other things. Around middle of Istiklal street, you will find Hard Rock Cafe.
Our walking route would start from Taksim to Tunel then onwards to Galata Tower down via the Ottoman Bank museum to the Galata Bridge. Google calculates it to be a 2.8 km walk. As said earlier, all the way is downhill so we didn’t feel tired.
Walking route from Taksim to Galata Bridge.
The crowded street of Istiklal.
The funicular running in the middle of Istiklal street.
If you care to wander off into the side alleys, you’ll find small markets selling well, things you would expect in a market.
The many shops selling Turkish Delight.
Small bazaars selling local products.
Once we have walked the full length of Istiklal street and reached Tunel funicular stop, we walked further on to Galip Dede street. This street became narrower and steeper. To your left and right are musical instrument shops. We walked further until to our right pops up Galata Tower. From Galata Tower its further downhill passing the Ottoman Bank museum and down to the Galata Bridge.
Downhill Galip Dede street.
Stop for some fresh fruit juice.
The tower seems to be squeezed. Yes, there is poeple at the top of the tower.
Away from Galata Tower, more downhill and this time it’s all electrical shops
Finally, the Galata bridge is in sight. If we would have done in reverse direction, that is starting from Galata bridge to Taksim, I would have run out of energy even before reaching Galata tower.
Like most other Hard Rock outlets, Istanbul’s Rock Shop isn’t big. You’ll find the common merchandise with the only difference is the name of the city you’re in. As usual, we bought souvenirs for our children and the bill is mounting up as we bought some in every city we went.
Istanbul’s HRC is situated off Istiklal to you right if you are coming from Taksim nearby the Galatasary funicular stop.
Note: HRC Istanbul has ceased operations a year or so after this visit.
Location of HRC, Istanbul. Nearby Galatasaray funicular stop
Look out for this location, Galatasaray funicular stop. About 50 m down, turn right at Mesrutiyet Caddesi and HRC is to your left after a few shoplots. Credit : Ismail Akpinar