The beating heart of modern Istanbul
If you want to explore the modern, European side of Istanbul, why not start at Taksim Square? It lies at the centre of a busy metropolitan area famed for its restaurants, shops, and hotels.
The history of Taksim Square, Istanbul
Despite its modern feel, the name of the square has historic associations. Taksim means ‘division’ or ‘distribution’, and Taksim Square was originally where the main water lines into Istanbul were collected and branched off to other parts of the city.
Look towards the southern end of the square and you can’t miss the Monument of the Republic, crafted by Pietro Canonica and inaugurated in 1928. It commemorates the 5th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923. Turn to the east, and you’ll see the impressive Atatürk cultural centre and opera house. Both of these are worth a visit.
Other interesting facts about Taksim Square, Istanbul
- Taksim Gezi Park, to the north replaced a huge Ottoman artillery barracks, demolished in 1940
- Part of Taksim Square used to be an Armenian cemetery
- On 1st May 1977 at a Labour Day celebration, more than 500,000 people gathered in the square