In the 1800s this was the newer, more European section of Istanbul (Constantinople). Embassies were built here, foreign merchants lived and worked here, and they shopped at the posh boutiques along the Grande Rue de Péra, now called İstiklal Caddesi.
Galatasaray Square, midway along İstiklal Caddesi, is where the first European-style lycée (high school) was built by the Ottoman Sultan during the 19th century. Also here is the famed Çiçek Pasajı(Flower Passage) dining and taverna district.
Today Beyoğlu is enjoying a cultural and architectural revival. The huge embassies are now consulates, the shops are posh again, and İstiklal Caddesi (the Grande Rue) is a popular pedestrian mall filled with strollers day and night.
On the Bosphorus shore at Tophane, on the edge of Beyoğlu, is the Istanbul Modern Art Museum. and near it the historic Tophane-i Amire (Ottoman Imperial Arsenal), which is now the outstanding Tophane-i Amire Culture & Arts Center of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University.
—by Tom Brosnahan