Taksim Square is a colorful, bustling square representative of Istanbul's modern era. It is located on the city’s European side in the district Beyoglu within the city of Taksim. Called ‘Taksim,’ its name derives from the area’s prior water system, a stone reservoir still occupying a spot in the west side. The founder of the Turkish Republic, Kemal Ataturk, has been immortalized in a statue in the square’s south-end; in the north there is a cultural center; the west, once home to artillery barracks of the Ottoman Empire, has been developed into a tourist area comprising mostly 4-star hotels near Taksim Square. Popular Republic Avenue spans north from the north end leading to several upscale districts including Sisli, Harbiye, Nisantasi, and Elmadag.
Taksim Square Shopping
Taksim Square Shopping xiquinhosilva (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0
Taksim Square shopping is an adventure for finding unique gifts and treasures. Turkey in general is well-known for offering alabaster, ceramics, copper, jewelry, carpets, antiques, and much more. Istiklal Street is the most active shopping spot in Taksim Square with shops staying open late offering international and Turkish fashion brands and small shops ideal for budget explorers. The street is pedestrian only with the exception of an old tram running along it. In the Nisantasi district just a short stroll from the square’s center is where art, cultural, and high-end shopping meet in this ritzy residential area where Prada, DKNY, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton, among other major fashion houses, are everyday names.
Taksim Square Nightlife
Taksim Square Nightlife ana_ge (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0
Generally considered the heart of the city, Taksim gets a lot of attention from both locals and tourists. With plenty of great hotels, shopping, and dining, it only makes sense then that there’s a great deal and variety of nightlife options. From hopping clubs to low-key bars, Taksim runs the gamut. The liveliest area is Beyoglu--without exception--with a wide range of live music. There are many restaurants offering live music, some which hire on traditional bands so if hearing ethnic Turkish music is on the roster, look for these smaller eateries. Funk, jazz, hip-hop, dance, rock, world music and more caters to international visitors like no other area in Istanbul.
Hotels Near Taksim Square
With an air for pleasing every kind of visitor, hotels near Taksim Square are about as varied as the music in its nightlife. From a broad range of budget hotels, many mid-range, and plenty of upscale choices, one can easily splurge or save or enjoy the middle ground. With buses, metro, and plenty of taxis, transportation is no worry; visitors can get virtually anywhere around Istanbul from Taksim. So high in popularity, Istiklal Street has witnessed its fair share of nearby hotels as well. Staying within close proximity of all the action of Taksim Square is easily done with the dozens of hotels that have grown up around the famous district.
Taksim Square Map
Taksim Square Map
Picking up a Taksim Square map is a good idea if exploring the area in depth, seeking out the shopping areas, or looking to explore the landmarks. Th west side includes several points of interest such as the Taksim Cumhuriyet Museum, The French Cultural Center, and Istiklala Street. Several 4-star hotels near Taksim Square are also located on the west side. ON the north are Taksim Park and Ataturk Library while in the east end the Ataturk Cultural Center, and several international consulates dot the map. Running a straight line south from the square is Siraselviler Street which leads to the hip Cihangir area. Here, writers, intellectuals, and artists congregate the stylish neighborhood bars, especially on weekends and for dinner.
Top image: Justin A. Wilcox (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0