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The most colorful neighborhoods of Istanbul

The most colorful neighborhoods of Istanbul

Which are the most colorful streets that make Istanbul unique for the rest of the world? How about chasing these colors on the streets of Istanbul during your vacation days?

Which are the most colorful and beautiful streets of Istanbul that you can walk hand in hand with your partner, take amazing photos, and admire the unique architectural structure, flower-adorned balconies, squares, and parks despite the distorted urbanization that make Istanbul unique for the rest of the world? In which neighborhoods of Istanbul are these scattered streets located? We have prepared a list to guide you while you walk with your partner, spouse, friend, or companion.

Despite the opening of modern places, we all sometimes long for neighborhoods that have not lost their old soul, their low-rise houses that have preserved the architectural structure of these neighborhoods, and narrow streets with Albanian pavement that have not yet been paved with concrete. Perhaps what is beautiful is that they have been able to protect themselves from the culture of consumption that never seems to be satisfied despite all these years and migration, and they still remind us of our childhood. The streets we knew inside out as children, a glass of water hung from a neighbor’s window, hopscotch drawn on the sidewalks, snowball fights in which the whole neighborhood participated, giant swings hung from trees, yakantop played in the streets, plums collected from neighbor’s gardens, our childhood of jumping over fires during Hidrellez time… The taste of bread smeared with tomato paste that was eaten in the most exciting part of the game may still linger in our mouths. Neighborhoods are hidden in all these memories…

“Which are the most colorful and established neighborhoods and streets of Istanbul?”



One of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Istanbul where you can see the sunset from all the streets is Moda. It is a lively and colorful neighborhood where various artistic and cultural activities can still be held despite the recent proliferation of cafes and bars that have become the hub of Kadikoy’s nightlife. Its historical texture, bay-windowed houses, local shops, neighborhood culture, pier, and tram make it a peaceful and enjoyable place to explore. Moda is particularly popular among young people due to its coastline, streets, and parks. As you stroll around Moda, you can come across numerous second-hand bookstores and record shops and find what you are looking for in the antique shops on Tellalzade Street. You can also attend plays at venues such as the Sureyya Opera, Moda Stage, Haldun Taner Stage, or watch movies in the old cinemas of your childhood. Moda’s nightlife is also vibrant. Kadife Street, which houses old wooden houses, is also known as the Bar Street, while Moda Avenue, parallel to it, hosts many high-quality entertainment venues. You can sit by the sea and enjoy the view, visit the house of the famous musician Baris Manco that has been converted into a museum, take a photo of the famous pianist Ayse Gul Sarica’s mansion located just across from Dondurmaci Ali, or stop by the vintage shops, antique shops, cafes, and restaurants on Bademalti Street.

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Another neighborhood in Kadikoy where all the streets lead to the sea is Yeldegirmeni. It has become quite popular recently, hosting new and trendy venues, and attracting not only Kadikoy residents but also visitors from all over Istanbul. Yeldegirmeni is the modest neighbor of Bahariye Street, which extends from Haydarpasa Train Station to Taskopru Street. This beautiful neighborhood is especially crowded on weekends. With its preserved historic buildings such as churches, synagogues, minority schools, mansions, and lodges, as well as the murals painted by world-famous street artists, Yeldegirmeni resembles an open-air museum today. Karakolhane Street is particularly popular for its historical texture, neighborhood culture, warm atmosphere, and humble venues.

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The name “Yeldegirmeni” comes from the four windmills built by Sultan Abdulhamid I to meet the city’s flour needs. Yeldegirmeni is one of the neighborhoods where Istanbul’s first apartment settlements were seen and is located in a very central location, making it easily accessible from both sides of the city (to piers and main bus stops). While Karakolhane Street is the main street, you can also find many special places to rest and relax on Recaizade Street, Duatepe Street, and Uzun Hafiz Street. With the recent changes in the neighborhood, Yeldegirmeni now hosts modern cafes, while the old apartment settlements still stand. As you wander through the streets of Yeldegirmeni, you will come across many workshops, art galleries, vintage shops, design stores, restaurants, and cafes. Yeldegirmeni is located within the Rasimpasa neighborhood, which stretches from Haydarpasa Train Station to Sogutlucesme Metrobus Station.



The street, which takes its name from the historic Ayrilik Cesmesi (Fountain of Farewell) located at the beginning of the street, has old colorful Ottoman houses on one side from end to end, while the historic Ayrilikcesme Arap Cemetery is located on the other side. The neighborhood where the street is located is also called Ayrilikcesme. This street, which used to be known as the Paris Neighborhood and is now known as Ayrilik Cesmesi Street, is located at the top of Yeldegirmeni and is a little-known street.

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Although Ayrilik Cesmesi (Fountain of Farewell) in Yeldegirmeni looks colorful, its name is very sad. This fountain was named Ayrilik Cesmesi (Fountain of Farewell) since it was the starting point for both the Ottoman army’s departure for expeditions and the departure of pilgrims going to the Kaaba. From Sultan IV. Murad’s campaign to Baghdad in 1638, the fountain has been known as Ayrilik Cesmesi. Researcher Arif Atilgan said this about Ayrilik Cesmesi Street in his book “Evvel Zaman Icinden Yeldegirmeni”: “Ayrilik Cesmesi Street is perhaps the only street in Istanbul that has preserved its texture for 100 years.”
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If you ask which are the most colorful streets and avenues of Balat, we can list them right away: Merdivenli Yokus (Stairs Slope) Street, Çorbacı Çeşmesi (Soup Maker’s Fountain) Street, Merdivenli Mektep (Stairs School) Street, Fener Külhanı (Lighthouse Foundry) Street, Kiremit (Tile) Avenue, Yıldırım (Thunder) Avenue, and Sancaktar (Banner Bearer) Slope.
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Balat offers a unique visual pleasure with its distinctive architectural structure, colorful stairs at the end of its cobblestone streets, examples of street art, wooden houses with rainbow-colored terraces, and shaded places adorned with colorful umbrellas.
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You can sip your coffee in historic and traditional cafes, stroll through its shops and streets, and browse the city’s leading art galleries. Let’s not forget to mention that some of the most popular breakfast places in town are also located here.
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Balat has become a hidden gem for city tourism, especially for photographers. The photo above shows the houses on Kiremit Avenue. Located in the Fatih district, Balat has a modest appearance with its colorful houses and narrow streets paved with stone, offering a historical and nostalgic atmosphere.
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Among the enchanting streets of Balat, which captivates visitors with its historical synagogues, churches, and colorful houses, your favorite will probably be Vodina Avenue. On this avenue, you can visit the famous Agora Tavern and the historical Hızır Çavuş Bakery, among other new and old venues.
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Kuzguncuk is one of the most beautiful and unique spots in Istanbul, located right on the shores of the Bosphorus where green and blue blend together. It is filled with large plane trees, fragrant flowers, colorful houses, and cobblestone streets.
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Kuzguncuk is another colorful neighborhood with colorful houses and streets. The main street of Kuzguncuk is called Icadiye Avenue. Walking along the famous Icadiye Avenue, with its small yet charming cafes and tree-lined sidewalks, you can feel the warm neighborhood culture.
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One of the most special things about Kuzguncuk is its well-maintained and preserved two or three-story colorful historic houses and architectural texture. The best example of this classic view is Simitçi Tahir street. This street is a favorite spot for photography enthusiasts. While wandering around, you will see many fish restaurants, cafes, and restaurants. You can sip your tea and read a book at Nail Bookstore.
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Uryanizade Sokağı, located parallel to İcadiye Caddesi along with Simitçi Tahir Sokak, is also one of the first stops for those who want to take photos in Kuzguncuk. The most famous street in Kuzguncuk, on the other hand, takes its name from a TV series watched in the 90s; Perihan Abla Street.
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Galata, one of the few neighborhoods in Istanbul that has been able to maintain its fame and vitality over time, owes its name to the iconic Galata Tower. The tower, which was built by the Genoese in 1348 and used as a fire tower during the Ottoman era, offers one of the most beautiful views of the Bosphorus.
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When you arrive in Galata, an important part of Istanbul’s urban memory, you can explore Küçük Hendek and Büyük Hendek streets, Kule Çıkmazı, thematic restaurants, pastry shops, cafes, and then Serdar-ı Ekrem Street, which is now particularly dense with concept design stores. You can take photos of Istanbul’s most iconic city views.
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While in Galata, don’t forget to stroll through the narrow streets of Küçük Hendek and Büyük Hendek, Kule Çıkmazı, and Serdar-ı Ekrem Street, where you can find thematic restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and lately, a concentration of concept design stores. Make sure to add the iconic Doğan Apartment building on Serdar-ı Ekrem Street to your plans. Built in 1894 in the Italian architectural style, it’s one of the most famous apartment buildings in Istanbul, where celebrities such as Şener Şen, Sezen Aksu, Tarkan, and Okan Bayülgen have lived. While you cannot enter the building, you can admire it from the outside. Serdar-ı Ekrem Street is one of the most beautiful streets leading up to Galata Tower. Tatar Beyi Sokak, just below in parallel, also offers a peaceful atmosphere and hosts some of the neighborhood’s most popular venues. Don’t forget to enjoy a cup of tea at Galata Tea Garden right under Galata Tower.
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Despite being equipped with modern cafes and restaurants, Galata also houses a nostalgic atmosphere. It is one of the historic places that best reflects Istanbul’s historic texture and cosmopolitan infrastructure. You can also take photos of Kamondo Stairs, Kart Çınar Street, Yüksek Kaldırım, and Galip Dede Street. Galip Dede Street is one of the most important connection points that links İstiklal Avenue to Karaköy.
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