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Karaköy- a New Style of Ancient Istanbul

If you want new impressions from Istanbul, we recommend you to look into one of the most popular areas – Karaköy, here you will find everything from fish markets to designer boutiques, endless interesting cafes, architectural workshops and the most famous baklava Gulluoglu.

Karaköy is a very controversial area. Here, in a new creative world, the youth of the city gathers every day, because the district inspires new creations that turn abandoned buildings into unusual cafes, shops and stylish boutiques. Today, instead of the sound of a drill, here you can hear the sounds of live music, jazz and saxophone.

What to see in the Karaköy area

The Karaköy district is simply impossible to explore in one day, because it is so unique that you will need time to study and understand it. One of the attractions of the area is the Gulluoglu cafe – confectionery, which is more than 200 years old, and in which you can taste the best Turkish baklava.

Fish market

The fish market is here, it is one of the most popular places not only among locals, but also among tourists. Here is the freshest fish, and its choice is simply huge. You can buy fish, go to the nearest cafe in the market, and on the spot ask to cook the fresh fish you have just chosen. We advise you to go to the market in the morning, by lunch there is nothing left.

Streets of youth quarters

If you want to relax, dance or have a delicious meal, then Karaköy is an ideal place for meetings of noisy companies. Those who like to dance and sing until the morning gather here. Karaköy is the center of night parties in noisy Istanbul. The area is full of numerous cozy cafes, bars and restaurants. You won’t leave here without finding something to your liking. There is also a popular cafe with teddy bears – OPS. You’ve probably seen more than one Instagram photo of people with teddy bears at a table. The cafe quickly became popular, people come here not so much for food, although here it is actually on the level, but rather for the atmosphere and funny photos.

On the street you can find an infinite number of cool cafes, from a chocolate maker to the popular fish in bread. Also, here you can find a lot of interesting shops, increasingly even handmade. Here you can buy unusual candles, jewelry, sweet gifts, decorated plates and handmade clothes. However, words are not needed, we advise you to just visit this place.

Graffiti is also the hallmark of Karaköy, they are applied everywhere, on doors, walls, gates. You will not find another place in Istanbul where you can find such a wide variety of street art. What are the streets with umbrellas suspended from above, it is unlikely that you have ever seen such a picture anywhere else. And many houses are painted in bright colors, which immediately gives the mood.

Historical and cultural attractions

In addition to street art, you can also see many historical attractions here. Tourists often visit the Armenian Church, the Church of Saints Peter and Paul and the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Panteleimon. I think you have also heard about the Underground and Arab Mosques, which are also located here. Admission is free. Karaköy and its surroundings are a wonderful opportunity to see it for those who love creativity. There are no boundaries between poverty and wealth, between cleanliness and dirt, between modern culture and the historical past. Here you will find a mix of designs, elements of different cultures and modern luxury. That’s how Karaköy created his own unique style in design.

You can read this article in Russian language: Каракей – новый стиль старинного Стамбула

Anna Yablochkina

Hello, I'm Anna, I live in Istanbul. I love traveling and discovering new places. I share my trips on Expat Guide Turkey.

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