Istanbul Salıpazarı Cruise Port

The Karaköy Yolcu Salonu, for decades Istanbul’s cruise ship passenger terminal, has been closed, and now all ships use the Salıpazarı docks (map).

In 2015, this whole area will be under construction to develop the new Galataport cruise ship reception area.

Landing at Salıpazar

Leave your ship, check to see that you have your Landing Card, and walk out the Salıpazarı (sah-LUH-pah-zah-ruh) gateway to the shoreline boulevard (Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi).

The nearest hotel to the dock is the 4-star, 90-room modern Nidya Hotel Galataport. Others are in Karaköy, 2.6 km (1.6 miles) to the southwest along the tram line.

You can take the Bağcılar-Kabataş tram to points of interest, or a taxi (but read this). You might prefer a private transfer—more trustorthy, pleasant, and value-for-money.

For the tram: as you exit the port you are in between tram stops. The Fındıklı stop to the right has no jeton machine, so turn left and go to the Tophane stop, about a 10- or 12-minute walk. Here are directions:

After you’ve turned left, in the distance you will see the conical roof of the Galata Tower. Closer, you’ll see the Ottoman baroque Nusretiye Mosque 1826). Walk toward the mosque. You’ll pass several small café-restaurants and a shop or two selling such handy things as snacks and bottled water. On the opposite side of the boulevard are banks withATMs. Just before you come to the mosque, on the left, is the entrance to the Istanbul Modern Art Museum.

You can walk around the mosque on either side, but if you walk around to the left (Bosphorus) side, you’ll walk through a maze of nargile cafés, which I recommend. You needn’t stop for a water-pipe break, but these comfortable, intriguing, and very Istanbul places also serve coffeetea, drinks and light meals.

On the far side of the Nusretiye Mosque and its park is the Kılıç Ali Pasha Mosque (1580) and its beautifully-restored hamam (Turkish bath), and on the mosque’s right (inland) side, the Tophane tram stop. The Tophane (TOHP-hah-neh), or Cannon Foundry (1803), is that Ottoman building on the other side of the boulevard, with all the chimney-like structures on top. It’s now an art and exhibition center.

The Tophane tram stop has Jetonmatik machines from which you can buy jetons (tokens) for the tram. Take the tram southwest (the way you’ve been walking) in the direction of Bağcılar for KaraköyEminönüSirkeciGülhane,SultanahmetÇemberlitaş, and Beyazıt/Grand Bazaar. (Trams in the opposite direction go to Kabataş).

Want to go to Atatürk Airport? Take the tram to Zeytinburnu and change for the Metro to Havalimanı(Atatürk Airport), or set up a private transfer.

—by Tom Brosnahan


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