Photographer's Note

Always crowded, always lively, always dynamic.
Istiklal is one of the most popular touristic district in Istanbul, life never stops at this street.
Istiklal is always crowded even its midnight.

As you move into Istiklal Street you pass, on the left the row of eternally opened kebap shops, selling fast food Turkish style, behind which rises the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Aya Triada, which can be entered from Meselik Sokak. Opposite the fast food joints on the right is the more dignified cut stone structure of the Tourism Information Office, which was once the water distribution center, or "Taksim" giving the area it's name. Next to this is the French Consulate and Culture Center. Beyond this is the rather unfortunate looming metallic prism structure of the Aksanat Cultural Center, which offers a wide selection of arts events. To the left hand is Meselik Sokak, where one can enjoy traditional Turkish Cuisine on the terraces of the Haci Baba Restaurant looking out upon the green garden of Aya Traida. Opposite the entrance to the Cathedral, one can find a cool and funky bar-restaurant called Dulcinea, which houses a cutting edge modern-art Gallery downstairs.

In the area of Little and Big Finger Streets The next two streets along are Little and Big Finger Door Streets, or Kucuk and Buyuk Parmakkapi Sokaklar, respectively. No matter where you turn, up or down crooked stairways or through ornamented doorways, you are sure to come across a bustling and exciting bar, cafe or restaurant. Across Istiklal, Bekar Sokak; Bachelor Street, Mis Sokak; Musk Street and Ibnan Adnan Street, provide an equally rich selection.

Around Aga Camii Strolling further along one finds the mosque of Aga Camii on the left. It is dwarfed by the surrounding buildings and behind it rises a stunning neo-classical building, Cite de Rumeli, one of its twin towers hovering majestically over Istiklal. On passing the mosque the ornate fa9ade of the grand Circle d'Orient building which flanks the street with graceful poise, above the colourful shop arcades. To the left Alkazar movie theater is one of the quainter cinemas of the street in which to enjoy the latest selection of mainstream and arthouse films, its interior and exterior having undergone extensive renovation.

The Cicek Pasaji and Balik Pazari
Before you reach the halfway point of Istiklal you are compelled to turn left into a stunningly restored building whose original title, "Cite de Pera", still stands over it's the high arching entrance. Though it is more commonly known as the Circe or Flower Pasaj, after stalls which once inhabited the interior where women sold flowers. Now the astounding passageway with balconies and ceiling soaring high above are filled with restaurants and bars. Wandering musicians come and go as those seated among the expanse of tables sample delicious traditional dishes, washed down with golden Efes Pilsner, or the strong aniseed spirit raki.The Cicek Pasaji connects with the Balik Pazan; Fish Bazaar, which still retains a number of fresh fish outlets, also boasts beautifully laid out fruit and vegetable stalls, and delightful, spice, meat and poultry shops aswell as a number of delicatessans. To the rear of the Bazaar Nevizade Street host of series of lively restaurants, where people gather to sit, eat, drink and talk, in the warmer months the activity is all outdoors in the open street.


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Additional Photos by Aycin Sekerli (cimcim) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 509 W: 38 N: 510] (3712)
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