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Istiklal Avenue, Istanbul

When it comes to the district of Taksim - the center of Istanbul's entertainment and business life - they mean Istiklal Avenue first of all. In fact, it means "Independence". The street is located near the Independence Square, where the monument of Independence of the Turkish Republic stands. Of course, this avenue is much older than the republic itself. The street was here long before the Byzantine Empire was founded. During the empire period lots of representatives of nobility settled in Taksim. When Constantinople became Istanbul, there was a slave market instead of Istiklal street. Later foreign embassies and consulates began to build their mansions and palaces in this comfortable and beautiful place. All of them have survived to this day and now represent the real decoration of Istiklal. Russian Embassy, built on the soil, brought from Russia, English Embassy, French, Italian... But, of course, the "trick" of Istiklal means not only that. This avenue is closed to public transport and now is a giant city for entertainment. It offers the most fashionable and prestigious clubs, the most democratic and the most expensive restaurants, cafes and bars. Bookstores, wineshops, coffee shops, where the best Istanbul intellectuals gather, street performers, musicians, youth from all around the world... It is common for different symphony orchestras or theater groups to perform right on the street. In general, if you want to capture the true spirit of Istanbul as a festive city, then you need to visit Istiklal. If you do not visit it, that means you have not been to Istanbul.