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Ultimate Istanbul Guide by Neighborhood

January 19, 2021
The beautiful city of Istanbul is really a wonder to behold! Not to mention it's also one of the most unique places in the world! Where else will you find a capital city that borders along multiple regions? Officially, the country of Turkey is considered part of Asia. However, a good chunk of it is still within the European continent. And because of its religious and historic background, it's also thought of as a notable Middle-Eastern nation. Whichever you think of it, it doesn't lessen the beauty and impact of Istanbul. Get to know its many neighborhoods and districts with this post!
Ultimate Istanbul Guide by Neighborhood


Arnavutköy

Firstly, there's Arnavutköy, the nightlife hub of the city. Since Turkey is largely a Muslim country, it's almost weird to think that people go about partying here, right? But that doesn't mean that they can't! And this part of Istanbul proves otherwise! A relatively upscale neighborhood, it bursts with youthful energy with the exciting bars, charming cafes, quirky boutiques, and the like. Though there are a ton of nightclubs here as well, most of the nightlife scene here is not as wild as you might think. It's still in the Turkish capital, after all!
Ultimate Istanbul Guide by Neighborhood
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Besiktas

Another equally youthful district in Istanbul is Besiktas. Why? Because you'll likely find more students and young professionals living here instead of families and seniors. The area houses three universities, so it makes sense that those who live in the area are mostly students. Add to that the many pubs, bars, and cafes where these youngsters probably go to hang out, study, or even work part-time! Sports fans would also flock here because this is where Besiktas Football Club is located. The Turkish sure do live their football!
Ultimate Istanbul Guide by Neighborhood
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Cihangir

Diversity is the name of the game here in Cihangir! As lively a district as the first two neighborhoods, this part of the city boasts all sorts of communities, each with its own cultural influences and stories to tell. Though at first glance, you might not see it. The most noteworthy part of the neighborhood is the series of Victorian houses all neatly lined up together that's similar to those in San Francisco. Comfortable and slightly adorable, these are the type of home that any family would love to settle down in. It's no wonder why expats prefer to stay here more than in any other place in the city.
Ultimate Istanbul Guide by Neighborhood
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Çukurcuma

Antique shops, vintage stores, and kitschy coffee shops. The district of Çukurcuma in Istanbul certainly has its own charm to it, doesn't it? While other places are on the opposite sides of the spectrum—either more urban and modern or extremely traditional and religious—Çukurcuma is somewhere in between. It has a tinge of old-school vibes, what with the many fascinating establishments dedicated to enduring a sense of nostalgia. However, there are also some quirky hotspots that are mostly for the young and young-at-heart. You wouldn't want to miss this place, believe that!
Ultimate Istanbul Guide by Neighborhood
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Fener-Balat

Another unique best-of-both-worlds-type area in Istanbul is the dual district, Fener-Balat. Technically these two neighborhood are regarded as separate places, but over time, both locals and tourists alike have come to consider them a combined district. Dating back to the Byzantine era, its reeks of historic beauty and old-world charm, a type of wonder you'd expect in a city like Istanbul. However, nowadays, coffee shops, bookstores, and boutiques have made it more of a hipster haven. Some have even gone as far as to call it the 'Brooklyn of Istanbul.'
Ultimate Istanbul Guide by Neighborhood
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Galata

Now, if you really want to get into the historic charm of Istanbul, look no further than the Galata district. Cobblestone streets, classic architecture, and ancient communities are all found in this part of the city. From afar, you can already see it as the eye-catching Galata Tower stands proudly in the heart of the neighborhood. Seeing it up close, within the traditional spaces of the district, will instantly make you feel you've stepped back in time. The place almost feels as if it all came from a storybook or something!
Ultimate Istanbul Guide by Neighborhood
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Istiklal Street

It's safe to say that Istiklal Street is one of the busiest parts of the city. It is where Taksim Square is located, one of the central points of Istanbul. Lively doesn't even begin to describe the place, what with the myriad of stores, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and even luxury apartments here. It's as if, at every corner you turn to, there's a place full of people. It also helps that this is where the famous Taksim Trams pass through as well. Charming cable cars that almost look like those in Budapest or San Francisco, people from all over the city regularly ride it.
Ultimate Istanbul Guide by Neighborhood
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Karaköy

One of the quieter districts on this list, Karaköy is yet another hipster haven within the city of Istanbul. Trendy cafés and boutiques have since dominated this place, all lined with beautiful trees for that signature romantic touch. At first glance, you can easily mistake it as a tiny slice of either Paris or New York, and that's practically the beauty of it. That and, of course, the intimate vibe of the area. If you need somewhere to relax and have a more chill afternoon, Karaköy is the place to go to!
Ultimate Istanbul Guide by Neighborhood
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Sultanahmet

Finally, arguably the most famous district on this list: Sultanahmet! Why is it so famous? Two words: Hagia Sophia. Known as one of the world's most photographed and most beloved places of worship, it is Turkey's iconic landmark. It rivals the likes of Paris' Eiffel Tower, Rome's Colosseum, and New York's Statue of Liberty. The entire district itself is an ode to Istanbul's history, as it used to be the seat of power of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. History buffs will have a field day seeing the centuries-old churches, mosques, and other man-made marvels in Sultanahmet!
Ultimate Istanbul Guide by Neighborhood
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Istanbul is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful, most enchanting, and most historic cities in the world. It's not enough to appreciate the city from afar. Once you explore its many districts and neighborhoods, you'll learn to appreciate the Turkish capital even more!




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