Square, at the northeastern end of İstiklal
Caddesi in Beyoğlu (map), is the heart of modern Istanbul,
laid out in the late 1800s near
a taksim (branching-point)
in the city's water distribution
system. You can still see the Ottoman taksim at the beginning of İstiklal Caddesi, and behind it, a brand-new mosque under construction.
the circle at the southern end
of the square commemorates the Turkish
Republic's founder, Kemal
Atatürk, in both
his roles, as military commander-in-chief
and as statesman. Designed by Pietro Canonica, it was erected in 1928, defying the Islamic prohibition of effigies of living beings. (Canonica was also the sculptor of two Atatürk monuments in Ankara, and the equestrian statue of Atatürk in Izmir's Republic Square.)
open space to the east was once
a reservoir. The Atatürk
Cultural Center, dominating the eastern end of the square for half a century, has been demolished.
Gezi Park, to the north, is what replaced
a huge Ottoman artillery
barracks, demolished in 1940. On May 28, 2013, a small group of people opposed to the removal of the park's trees and commercial development of one of Istanbul's very few open green space, set up camp in the park to protest. More...
Caddesi (Republic Avenue)
goes north from the square along the west side of Gezi Park to the
upscale districts of Elmadağ, Harbiye, Nişantaşı and Şişli.
To the west across Cumhuriyet Caddesi
from Taksim Gezi Park was the Ottoman barracks' parade
ground, called the Talimhane.
After World War II this large,
flat, open area was developed with
a grid of streets, and more recently
has seen the construction of more
than a dozen medium-size 4-star
||The taksim (branching-point) in the 19th-century water system...
long block north of the square in Elmadağ are
three of the city's best
luxury hotels, the Divan
InterContinental, and Hyatt
Regency Istanbul. The Hilton Istanbul
is a few blocks farther
Marmara Hotel Taksim is right
in Taksim Square itself.
Caddesi, formerly the Grande
Rue de Péra, starts
in Taksim Square by the Independence
Monument and extends southwestward
to Galatasaray Square and Tünel
From Taksim Square,
you can walk all the
way down İstiklal
Caddesi to Tünel
Square in a half hour or less;
you can ride the Nostalgic
Tram; or you
can take the Metro to
the Şişhane station.
—by Tom Brosnahan
Monument commemorating Kemal
Atatürk and the founding
of the Turkish