Taksim is a city square in the center of Istanbul, in the Beyoglu district. It is an important transport hub, attracted by the amazing neighborhood of historical and modern buildings.Loved by tourists for the abundance of hotels, shops and restaurants. It is from here that many interesting excursion routes across Istanbul begin.
Taksim Square is located on the territory of the former Armenian cemetery, which was founded during the reign of Suleiman I the Magnificent. The project of the new public space was developed by the architect A. Prost in 1930. Since then, despite the reconstruction, the appearance of new objects and the transfer of old ones, the concept of the square has not changed.
The name of the city square is translated as “division”, and this is no coincidence. Back in 1732, a station was built here, which received water from the sources of the Belgrade forest. Then, from stone cisterns, it was distributed throughout the districts of Istanbul. At present, an art gallery has been opened in the preserved and restored building of the station.
Sad events at Taksim square
The history of Taksim Square is connected with several sad events that have gone down in the history of Turkey. So, in 1977, during a May Day demonstration, unknown persons opened fire on the assembled residents. The crush and the increase in the number of victims were provoked by the actions of the police, who tried to disperse the people with water cannons and heavy equipment. According to official figures, 34 people died that day.
In May 2013, riots broke out in Taksim Square over the felling of trees in the nearby Gezi Park. Clashes with police, strikes and protests continued from May 28 to early August 2013. According to official data, about 5,000 people were injured over the entire period, 10 people died.
Currently, Taksim Square is a public space where mass festivities of tourists and residents of Istanbul take place, peaceful demonstrations and cultural events are organized.
What to see in Taksim Square
Taksim Square is circular, divided into four sectors . The space between the footpaths is well maintained and landscaped. There are flower beds, lawn grass planted, several trees and shrubs are growing.
Numerous hotels are located near the square, there is even the Ritz Carlton, Hyatt Regency Istanbul Hotel. Near them – restaurants, cafes, boutiques. These are modern buildings, recognizable at first sight.
The buildings of the military hospital, the Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity , and the technical university are adjacent to them . They were built in the 19th century.
But tourists are especially interested in two objects – the monument “Republic” and the cultural center named after Ataturk.
The Republic Monument has been adorning the center of Taksim Square since 1928. It is dedicated to Turkey’s struggle for independence and the country’s transition to a republican form of government.
The height of the monument is 12 m. It depicts the heroes-liberators, the central place among which is occupied by Marshal Mustafa Kemal Ataturk . It was he who became the first president of the Turkish Republic.
It is interesting that to the left of the figure of Ataturk are the Soviet military – K. Voroshilov and S. Aralov. They were included in the sculptural composition on the personal instructions of the Turkish marshal. It was a gesture of gratitude and respect for the Soviet Union, which provided Turkey with financial and military assistance in the struggle for independence.
Interesting fact! The figure of the Soviet Colonel S. Aralov is often confused with the revolutionary M. Frunze.
Cultural Center. Ataturk
The cultural center was built on Taksim Square in the middle of the 20th century and named after the same Marshal Ataturk.
The building in the original modernist style was loved by the residents of Istanbul. Over the years, the cultural center has hosted opera concerts and theatrical performances. It has become a symbol of the Turkish capital.
In 2008, the building was closed for renovation. Major repairs were carried out there, modern energy-saving technologies were used.
Another renovation was planned for 2012, but the project was frozen. The country’s leadership announced plans to modernize Taksim Square and demolish the cultural center named after Ataturk. At the same time, the already well-known unrest associated with Gezi Park began in Istanbul.
As a result, the building of the center was defended. But it was abandoned for several years and turned out to be unusable. The building that had become unnecessary was demolished, and a new multifunctional center appeared in its place :
- with a cinema;
- concert, exhibition and conference hall;
- an art gallery;
- cafes and restaurants;
Interesting fact! The project of the new building was created by the son of the architect, who worked on the first cultural center in 1969.
Taksim Square is a noisy, crowded and interesting place. Here you can get an amazing boost of energy and go further – for a walk along the colorful streets of Istanbul.