Galata, and Beyoğlu further north with its main thoroughfare, the pedestrianized Istiklal Street, and the adjoining Taksim Square is the district of Itanbul north of SultanAhmet/Old City, across the Golden Horn. This district, especially Taksim Square is usually considered the “city center” of Istanbul. Primarily visited for its nightlife, this district has also its own share of sights and accommodation.
Galata (Turkish: Galata) gained its importance by the virtue of transforming into a trade colony of the Genoese and the Venetians, beside then-Byzantine Constantinople. After Ottomans captured Istanbul, the autonomous status of Galata was left untouched, except that its city walls were razed (except a few disconnected parts in the length of a few meters spotted by the archaeologists here and there). The first time Beyoğlu area (Pera in the past), which lies north of Galata, was settled is during 1850’s, when Grand Rue de Pera (“the Great Road of Pera”), today’s Istiklal Street (İstiklal Caddesi), was opened. Taksim Square (Taksim Meydanı) is even younger, it has taken its existing appearance as late as 1930s.
İstiklal Caddesi is Istanbul’s prominent pedestrian street. At anytime of the day there are thousands strolling the street and myriad restaurants and retail offers in the side streets.