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Istiklal Avenue

From Academic Kids

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Istiklal Avenue (Turkish: Istiklal Caddesi), is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, Turkey. Located in the Beyoglu neighborhood of Istanbul, it is a gallant pedestrian street, approximately 3 km long, that houses tens of exquisite boutiques, music and bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theaters, cafés, bars, libraries, pubs, coffeehouses, historical patisseries, chocolateries, technological centers, and restaurants, all of which are seamlessly integrated into the elegant 19th century Turkish architecture. This nostalgic Avenue starts from the historic neighbourhood around the Galata Tower and leads up to Taksim Square, while taking the individual through a dream-like trip through its unique historical complexion.

The Galatasaray Square is at approximately halfway through the Avenue and houses one of the finest educational institutions established in Turkey at the time of the Ottoman Empire; formerly "mekteb-i Sultani" ("the institution of Sultans"), today Galatasaray Lisesi.

In the historic Karaky district that is located towards the end of the Avenue, it is possible to see the world's second-oldest subway, today generally known and referred to as simply Tnel ("The Tunnel").

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The cosmopolitan Avenue also houses an array of historical and politically significant buildings, such as the iek Pasajı ("The Flower Courtyard", where small, intimate restaurants and taverns are found), Balık Pazarı ("The Fish Bazaar"), the St.Antoine, Santa Maria and the Armenian Churches (among many others), several sinagouges, a mosque, academic institutions established by various European nations such as Germany, Italy, Austria, and France in the early 19th century, consulates of several nations including France, Greece, Sweden, Armenia, Russia, and formerly, England (now moved out after the terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda in 2003 - see 2003 Istanbul Bombings).

During the reign of the Ottoman Empire, the street was called Cadde-i Kebir ("Grand Avenue") and became a center for European foreigners, Levantines (who referred to the Avenue as "Grande Rue de Pra"), Ottoman intellectuals and western culture admirers during the reforms in the 19th century. When 19th-century travelers referred to Constantinople (today, Istanbul) as "The Paris of the East", they were thinking of the Grande Rue de Pra (Istiklal Caddesi) and its half-European, half-Asian culture. With the declaration of the Republic in October 29, 1923, the street's name was changed to Istiklal, meaning "independence", to commemorate the triumphal Turkish War of Independence. (see Atatrk)

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