The Best Historic Arcades On Istiklal Street

İstiklal Caddesi
İstiklal Caddesi | © Guillén Pérez
Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

Istanbul’s most famous avenue stretches from Taksim Square all the way to Tünel, inhabited by a constant rush of people. Surrounded by late Ottoman-era buildings, İstiklal is also famous for its many pasaj (arcades) where a whole other world awaits off the main avenue. We took a look at the best arcades, the history behind them, and what to visit once you’ve found them.

1. Çiçek Pasajı

Çiçek Pasajı

One of the city’s most iconic arcades, the Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Arcade) was commissioned by Greek Orthodox banker Hristaki Zografos in 1876 from the Greek Orthodox architect Cleanthy Zanno, who was influenced by Parisian design. Inside you’ll find a beautiful glass dome presiding over a grand space that continues to overlook the 50-year-old Huzur Restaurant, as well as the Seviç Restaurant, a favorite among patrons of the art world.

İstiklal Caddesi 172, Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Turkey

2. Avrupa Pasajı

Avrupa Pasajı

Formerly known as the Aynalı Pasaj (Mirror Arcade) because of the 22 mirrors that used to separate the interior stores, this arcade was renovated in the 19th century after it was completely destroyed in the great Beyoğlu fire. Today, Avrupa Pasajı is home to a row of antique and souvenir shops. Here you can find ceramics, postcards, glass lamps, carpets, and hand-carved pipes, as well as carefully selected antiques from Europe and America.

Meşrutiyet Caddesi 8, Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Turkey

3. Suriye Pasajı

Cinema, Shop, Store

Suriye Pasajı

For many years this arcade was full of historic cinema and publishing houses before it was abandoned. After some public upheaval, the space was finally renovated but remains one of the most nostalgic arcades, complete with an old fur coat shop and a barber that seems to have been frozen in time. The other major attraction is By Retro, one of Istanbul’s biggest vintage shops, which can be reached by walking down a very small passage of stairs. Known for providing shows and films with period-appropriate costumes, this giant vintage store will take a few hours to really browse through.

İstiklal Caddesi 348, Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Turkey

4. Hazzopulo Pasajı

Shopping Mall

With a history that goes back 150 years, Hazzopulo is the only arcade that begins with a narrow passage and then opens out onto a lovely courtyard. Here you’ll find an old hat store with pillbox, cartwheel, and half hats decorating the window display. If you’re in the mood for delicious kebab, definitely make a reservation at Yirmibir, and take a seat at one of the wooden tables in the courtyard.

5. Aslıhan Pasajı

School, Bookstore

Aslıhan Pasajı

Aslıhan Pasajı is also known as a heaven for bookworms. On two floors, dozens of Sahaf (second-hand booksellers) display their beautiful books that range from literary classics to old-school comic books, posters, magazines, and so much more in many languages. Make sure to take some time to really browse through this literary treasure.

Meşrutiyet Caddesi 18, Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Turkey

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