Beyazıt Square, Istanbul, Turkey

Beyazıt Square (officially named Hürriyet Meydanı, “Freedom Square,” but no one uses that name except some cartographers) is the spacious plaza in front of Istanbul University’s main gate, and next to the Grand Bazaar and the Old Book Bazaar (Sahaflar Çarşısı)(map).

Though the Romans called it the Forum Tauri, the Byzantines expanded it and renamed it the Forum of Theodosius. It’s now the stone-paved stage for the dramatic backdrop of the university gates.

The walled Istanbul University campus was built as the Ottoman Ministry of War, which accounts for its martial, fortress-like aspect.

The Mosque of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent(Süleymaniye Camii)Istanbul‘s largest, is just behind the university enclosure. More…

The area just east of the square is known as Çarşıkapı(CHAHR-shuh-kah-puh, “Door to the Market”) because of a main entrance to the Grand Bazaar.

If you’d like to stay in this section of Istanbul, near the University, the Grand Bazaar and the Süleymaniye mosque (and only a two tram-stop ride from Sultanahmet), have a look at my recommended Beyazıt hotelsMore…

At Çarşıkapı you can catch the Bağcılar-Kabataş tram eastward for SultanahmetSirkeci Station and Eminönü(Egyptian [Spice] MarketGalata Bridge).

A great way to explore Istanbul’s markets is to take a walking tour from Beyazıt and the Grand Bazaar north along Uzunçarşı Caddesi (“Longmarket Street”) through the Tahtakale market district to the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar on the Golden Horn.

Going west, you catch the Bağcılar-Kabataş tram at either the Çarşıkapı or Universite stops for Aksaray, Millet Caddesi, Topkapı gate and Zeytinburnu, where you can transfer to the Metro.

—by Tom Brosnahan


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Bazaars Walking Tour

Süleymaniye Mosque

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