Shopping City Areas
Bagdat Caddesi
Bagdat Street never seems to end. This 6km long tree lined strip on the Asian side of Istanbul is packed with restaurants, cafes, bars, luxury car dealers and, of course, shops. From high end brands to large department stores and smaller boutiques, Bagdat Street is one of the most popular shopping districts in Istanbul.
Bagdat Street served as link between Constantinople and Anatolia for centuries. It was given its name in 1638 following the capture of what is now the Iraqi capital by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Over time it developed into a popular residential area for the city’s elite who built large mansions here.
Although many of these mansions were demolished to make way for newer apartment blocks, the Street remains one of the most desirable areas to live in Asian Istanbul due to its central location, close proximity to the Marmara Sea, and plethora of amenities.
Istiklal Caddesi
Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Street) is arguably Istanbul’s most famous street, located in the city’s Beyoglu district on the European side. Formerly called Cadde-i Kebir (Grand Avenue) or the Grand Rue de Pera, its name was changed following the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Literally millions of people visit this wide and gracious pedestrianized boulevard each day to enjoy the multitude of shops, cafes, bars, art galleries, restaurants, cinemas, churches, synagogues, mosques and embassies.
A nostalgic tram runs the almost 3km length of Istiklal Street, beginning at Taksim Square and ending at Tunel. The tram’s subway systems is the second oldest in the world, rivalling only that of London’s Underground. It’s a popular option for those wanting to escape the crowds or rest their feet, and is a quaint way to enjoy the 19th century architecture and energy of Istiklal from up high.
Shoppers won’t be disappointed, with a large array of big names like Mango and Bershka alongside smaller Turkish stores. As Turkey is one of the primary exporters of textiles to Europe, factory seconds for big European department stores like H&M can be bought cheaply on the side streets off Istiklal, particularly towards the Tunel end of the street. There are also a number of second hand and vintage stores.
On any given night, revelers pack Istiklal and the small side streets to eat, drink and sing with gusto. For a truly Turkish experience, head to the meyhanes off Balik Pazari (Fish Market) on Nevizade Street, as well as its pretty neighbor, Cicek Pasaji (Flower Passage). If you’ve got any energy left, there are a number of nightclubs which play a variety of music including rock, hip hop, reggae, blues, jazz, salsa and Turkish pop music.
Istiklal Street also has a number of popular places of worship including the Hagia Triada, a Greek Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Saint Mary and San Antonio di Padova churches, the Armenian Saint Mary Catholic Church as well as the Huseyin Aga Mosque.
Nisantasi is one of Istanbul’s most stylish suburbs. Home to some of the city’s prominent artists and intellectuals as well as many expats, it also is one of the leading shopping districts in Istanbul. The combination of elegant historical buildings, chic cafes, restaurants and its stylish inhabitants, give Nisantasi a European style grace.
The four main avenues which pass through Nisantasi include Rumeli Avenue, Tesvikiye Avenue, Valikonagi Avenue and Abdi Ipekci Avenue. While Tesvikiye Street boasts popular designers such as Gucci and Emporio Armani as well as the large city’s shopping mall, one of the most popular avenues in Nisantasi is Abdi Ipekci Street, which takes the cake as the most expensive retail leasing space in Turkey. Not surprisingly, then, this elegant street is the place to go for high fashion.
High-end department stores Beymen and Vakko are definite highlights of the street as they stock a top-notch selection of designer items from fashion to handbags to decor and chocolates and wedding garb. Other big names include Hugo Boss, Tod's, DKNY, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Prada, Hermes, Gucci, Ermenegildo Zegna, Chanel, Escada, Burberry, Valentino, Roberto Cavalli, and Armani.
When a rest is in order, head to one of the many upscale restaurants, bars and cafes in the area. Some of the more popular of these include the Armani Cafe, British pub The North Shield and Nis.
Nisantasi can be reached by foot, car or taxi from Taksim Square, however, the best way to get to there is by Metro. From Taksim Square, take the Metro in the direction of Levent. Disembark at the ‘Osmanbey’ stop, turn onto Rumeli Caddesi and walk for about 400 metres until you reach the centre of Nisantasi.
Nisantasi has a number of parking options including council parking garages on Abdi Ipekci Avenue and Macka Park as well as multi-level parking garages on Tesvikiye Avenue.