The Flower Passage is a famous historical arcade containing many cafes, restaurants and wineries. The arcade originally contained a theatre, which was destroyed in a fire. After the Russian revolution of 1917, many formerly wealthy Russian women sold flowers here, giving the area its name. This is an exquisite feat of architecture that you can enjoy either by strolling through on a leisurely journey through Istiklal Street, or by sitting and enjoying a meal or a beverage under its domed roof.
The arcade has been is Istanbul since the 1870s and was one of many locations in the city that was renovated due to fire damage. It remains an integral landmark to the city and its locals, hosting a cinema and shops. A stroll through this arcade is a fascinating look into how regular citizens of Istanbul live and socialize. This is a great stop for any traveler who wants a break from the popular tourist locations and a real glimpse into the Istanbul behind the guidebooks and travel brochures.
Atlas Arcade, Kuloğlu Mh., İstiklal Cd. No:209, Istanbul, Turkey, +90 212 252 8576
This bookstore is one of the rare places to stock English books. You can find all of the international bestsellers both in Turkish and English along with maps, travel books, stationery and anything else you could need from a bookstore. This store is known for its extensive collection of books on Ottoman and Turkish history, so those who are keen to gain a detailed insight into Istanbul’s past should definitely visit. The shop will make a perfect and peaceful retreat – there’s nowhere better for a tranquil break than among the walls of books.
Pandora Bookstore, Evliya Çelebi, Büyük Parmakkapı Sk. No:3, Turkey, +90 212 243 3503
These beautiful ruby-red trams are as much of a fixture on Istiklal Street as the cobbles on the road. No trip would be complete without boarding one of these vehicles that are renowned for carrying shoppers and tourists up and down the bustling avenue as they’ve done for decades. This is one of the many examples in Istanbul of the past working seamlessly into the city’s unique modern culture. Istanbul is a city that offers its inhabitants so many ways of exploring it; every day presents a brand-new adventure.