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Neighborhood walks - from Taksim Square

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Houston, Texas
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Neighborhood walks - from Taksim Square

RE: Cukurcuma, Cihangir, Nisantasi

How far (distance/time/mode of transport) are these from Taksim Square? They all seem to be so different, and all so interesting.

I am planning on cruising at least two. Suggestions?

Thank you in advance for any input.

istanbul
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1. Re: Neighborhood walks - from Taksim Square

Before your favorite tells you otherwise, here's the best way to get to Nisantasi, if you do not wish to take one of the two 18-25 minute walking routes:

Walk to the corner of the boulevard leading down towards Dolmabahce. there are the yellow dolmus vans almost in front of Gezi patisserie. They will take you to Tesvikiye in a jiffy. You can take one back to the same spot easily.

I have a short trip report of a walk from home through Cukurcuma which I posted last year. My and my wife have lived in Cihangir/Taksim area all our lives and both our families for over 140 years.

Surrey, UK
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2. Re: Neighborhood walks - from Taksim Square

I would be interested in seeing that trip report OC - I still don't think we have properly discovered the area....

Sharon - you will get good advice from OC on this matter - there is little he and his wife do not know about this area.

Houston, Texas
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3. Re: Neighborhood walks - from Taksim Square

So from what I am reading, Cukurcuma might just be that part of Istanbul that would feed and satisfy my Bohemian alter-ego? I will have to find someplace there that will also feed my lunchtime cravings.

So how do I get there from Taksim Square? Same way?

My very next task will be to become familiar with maps of this side of the city. Up til now everything I've seen has been very confusing. I really don't want to wait and depend on a last minute map I get from the hotel and spend hours passing the same chestnut cart coming and going!

Cincinnati, Ohio
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4. Re: Neighborhood walks - from Taksim Square

OC, I was so struck by your mention that both you and your wife's families have lived in the Cihangir/Taksim area for over 140 years, so rare in the U.S. Your roots run so deep.

For example, all of my grandparents were immigrants, all from countries which were controlled by the former Soviet Union. So much has changed in three generations, we have spread across the US, yet all four arrived in the U.S. just 100 years ago, barely 2/3 of the time you have lived in the same neighborhood.

Edited: 21 September 2011, 23:55
Houston, Texas
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5. Re: Neighborhood walks - from Taksim Square

Let me also say that those "favorites" have earned that status. As part of a band of intrepid visitors we can appreciate those that take the time to always try to help and never allow any question too simple or complex to go unanswered. These are the people that are respected, if not always for the answers, but for the immense dedication to making this forum so helpful. Bravo to the many who step out beyond their area of expertise to help contribute or add an alternative choice to make us feel welcome.

istanbul
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6. Re: Neighborhood walks - from Taksim Square

Cinti, unfortunately, some roots can resemble those of poplar trees, -:)

The street next to our apartment building is named after my mother's great grandfather, and there are over fifteen or so other great grand children of Namik Pasha who own inherited property in the area. My mother's mother was Circasian (possibly a young slave girl grandfather married while in exile in Medina in saudi Arabia). I think my younger daughter gets her blond hair and blue eyes from her and possibly from my father.

My father's father's family used to live in Cihangir in the 19th century but we do not know when they moved there from Uskudar where they had first settled in the late 18th century to open up a meat restaurant. They later entered the judiciary/religious establishment and finally the foreign and intelligence services. My father's mother's family came from the Balkans, Crete and Cyprus in early 19th century. Musa Pasha was the prominent member, who was killed by a shrapnel in the defense of the Bulgarian town of Slistre against the Russians.

I think that is why I am more Ottoman than Turkish. -:)

Getting back to Cukurcuma:

Walk towards the sea on Siraselviler Caddesi, take the middle road at the fork. Go straight down. If you walk to your right there are just a few shops and the road will take you to Istiklal via Galatasaray Hamam and just above Cukurcuma and the French Street. this is also a nice street with a small very old hamam in the beginning.

If you turn left at the hill and then take the first right you will be in Cukurcuma. There are a number of streets you need to discover which will require some backtracking, but it is not that big an area.

You should realize that most of the stuff you will see will be old stuff and junk rather than antiques, and usually over-pried.

Citizens of istanbul, until the republic did not have much chance to accumulate wealth. The minorities who could, took whatever was worth any value with them when they were forced out, and lack of aesthetics and ignorance resulted in the destruction of some of the remaining. However, it is always fun to wander around.

try Savoy patisserie, down on Siraselviler street. and any of the many cafes. The kebap house at the corner of Firuzaga square is OK. Doga Balik, on top of Villa Zurich is an excellent fish restaurant but not cheap. Avoid Mimolette. The price you pay at Changa is worth it. Buy wine at la Kav, give my name (the one with the young wife living on sarayarkasi street). Ask for Konya Blue Cheese at Antre Cheese store and get a lump or two of Antakya herb cheese to use in salad sauces. If you are willing to have a Pizza, try Mis Piza in the side street after Villa Zurich off Akarsu Street.

Edited: 22 September 2011, 01:09
Cincinnati, Ohio
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7. Re: Neighborhood walks - from Taksim Square

OC, thank you for sharing some of your family's history with us. I am awed by the idea of walking daily on a street named for an ancestor.

Like your daughter, I too am a throwback to a great-greatmother; I originally was a slender strawberry-blond with hazel eyes and a lot of freckles in a family of thicker brown-haired people. Some blonde remains, as well as many freckles on my arms and legs, but I now match (and surpass many of) the others in thickness! :)

istanbul
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8. Re: Neighborhood walks - from Taksim Square

Cinti, the thickness seems to be something common between you and I but so far avoided by my wife and progeny. Of'course we can always claim that it has not gone beyond our physical appearance. LOL

Let me know if you need information or guidance on Robert College and/or Bosphorus University on your next visit to istanbul as someone who has confessed to be of the academic persuasion.

Houston, Texas
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9. Re: Neighborhood walks - from Taksim Square

Thank you OC.

Your response was very compelling and certainly offered a good variety of places to stop for brunch. It also has helped me change 2 days of my itinerary.

I was hoping to do Istiklal/Cukurcuma one day, and then Chora and Istanbul Modern on another. Based on the info you provided, I think it will be best to do Cukurcuma and then an afternoon at Istanbul Modern.

Then Chora early one day with Istiklal later that afternoon.

10. Re: Neighborhood walks - from Taksim Square

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