Karaköy Square (Galata Quay)
On the southern edge of the district of Galata in Istanbul, at the north end of the Galata Bridge, is busy Karaköy Square. From the south side of the square the Galata Quay runs northeast along the Bosporus. This is the arrival and departure point for both Turkish and foreign shipping lines (Yolcu Salonu).
Grande Rue de Galata
Panorama from Galata Tower
From the north end of the square Yüksek Kaldirim in Istanbul, a steep street lined with shops and with 113 steps on each side, goes up to the Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi), off the street to the left. (The tower can also be reached by following Voyvoda Caddesi and bearing right). The Galata Tower (68m/223ft high), originally built in Byzantine times, was restored in 1423 by the Genoese and again in 1875; it now contains a restaurant and a night-club and affords the best general view of the city. The street continues up to Tunnel Square, with the upper station of the Tünel, an underground funicular, in the main part of Beyoglu (Lord's Son), and the old district formerly known as Pera. The upper part of Beyoglu, around Taksim Square, was developed only in the 19th century in European style; in this area there are numerous hotels, foreign consulates, churches, schools and hospitals.
Now pedestrianised, Istiklâl Caddesi (Independence Street) in Istanbul, formerly known as the Grande Rue de Péra, is a busy shopping street with a host of shops and offices and the Galata Sarayi School. It is linked with Taksim Square by the world's oldest underground railway, Tünel, constructed in 1875. A great many churches and consulates are also located here, as too is the bustling Çiçek Pasaji leading off beside the Post Office. The old tram-line has been brought back into service along the whole of its route.Further west is another busy street, Mesrutiyet Caddesi.
From Taksim Square Istanbul's most elegant street, Cumhuriyet Caddesi, lined with hotels, shops and offices, goes past the gardens of Republic Square to the northern residential districts of Harbiye and Sisli, with numerous handsome villas belonging to the wealthier citizens of Istanbul. On the east side of Cumhuriyet Caddesi the Republic Square gardens are continued by Maçka Park, in which are the University of Technology, the Hilton Hotel, an open-air theater, the Palace of Sport and Exhibitions and the Military Museum.
From Karaköy Square in Istanbul the Galata Bridge, busy all day with pedestrians and wheeled traffic, crosses the Golden Horn (magnificent views) to the old town of Istanbul. The present bridge (484m/512ft long and 42m/138ft wide; landing-stage used by local steamers) was built in 1992 with German assistance, replacing the old Galata Bridge which burnt down in 1991. Erected by a German firm between 1909 and 1912, the old bridge, resting on 22 pontoons, had a middle section which swung open to allow the passage of large vessels.
Tourists can see the Golden Horn, Istanbul's lovely natural harbor, on a guided boat tour.
Map of Istanbul Attractions