Beyoğlu, or Pera as it used to be called, is probably the most special province in Istanbul. Although the Old City was once the heart of Istanbul, these days that place has become Beyoğlu, especially the famous Taksim Square. This is a place on par with the likes of the Times Square in NYC or the Kremlin Square in Moscow. İstiklal Avenue that stretches from Taksim to Tünel is comparable to the Champs Elysses in Paris. It's where the entire city comes together as locals and tourists alike flock here 24/7 every day. It matters little whether you're in Istanbul for business or leisure. You will most probably get to see only a tiny part of this gigantic city and Taksim will most definitely be among the few places that you visit. Apart from Taksim and Tünel, the province includes many other famous neighborhoods such as Galata, Karaköy and Cihangir. With a rich culture and history to soak in, Beyoğlu has been a magnet for centuries, drawing all kinds of people to itself and working its unique charm. It is also currently the
The area has a history that dates back at least a couple of millennia. However, Pera, meaning "Across" in Greek, was first properly inhabited by Genoese and Venetian merchants during the Middle Ages. The iconic Galata Tower was built by the Genoese in 1348. Even after the Ottomans conquered Istanbul in 1453, the area continued to have a strong European presence, mostly due to long-standing economic ties between the Venetians and the Ottomans. The European influence lasted all the way up to late 19th-early 20th century and that influence is still visible when you walk down İstiklal Avenue, formerly known as Grande Rue de Pera. Commonly known as Levantines, these Europeans shaped the artistic and architectural face of the area, while also making it the first westernized part of the city. This area was the first to get phone lines, electricity trams and even the world's second oldest subway line, which is still in use at Tünel. Some of the Neoclassical, Art Nouveau and Baroque buildings are still standing in the area, while some have been restored or, in most cases, replaced by modern buildings. The area still houses some of the most valuable Turkish properties, including historical Istanbul apartments for sale especially around Gümüşsuyu, Galata, Tarlabaşı and Cihangir. There is also a major urban transformation project in Tarlabaşı, which has opened up new opportunities to buy Istanbul property at the most central location in the entire city.
Beyoğlu constitutes the artistic, cultural and entertainment center of the city. It has also become a major shopping destination as well as the go-to place to try wonderful recipes from Turkish and Ottoman Cuisine. The great thing about the area is that it offers something for everyone's taste. There is history and culture along İstiklal Avenue and Galata, as well as amazing local food and great cafes. There are art galleries and designer stores in Galata and Karaköy as well as multi-storey department stores and affordable textiles inside the passages down İstiklal Avenue. The historical passages with street-level entrances from İstiklal Avenue hold many secrets and are definitely worth exploring. There are several historical hammams and mosques, too. There is also lot of live music, movie theaters and street musicians. Taksim is very conveniently located and easy to reach by almost all means of public transport. There is a great public park in Taksim Square, where you can go and relax to escape the busy streets. Then, there is Cihangir, which is a popular neighborhood for artists, expats and young people. The rising popularity of these neighborhoods has also attracted many people, who plan to invest in Istanbul, towards Beyoğlu.