The old neighborhood of Karaköy, next to the Galata bridge on the northern shore of the Golden Horn, is undergoing a fast gentrification as well, like all the other hoods of historic Istanbul.
I love to have breakfast in the Namli deli before I stroll again through the backstreets of this old district, that was once a prominent place of Armenian and Greek traders, businessmen, restaurants, shops and churches. I see new galleries opening, new restaurants popping up in old restored and renovated buildings, and lots of constructing going on. It will be a new hip hood very soon. So it is worth while exploring this area before all tourists do.
Travel writer Pat Yale wrote a great article on the changes going on.
Here are some parts of her story.
‘While you wait for a tram to Sultanahmet you might like to glance at the mighty Nordstern Han (currently under restoration), and Karaköy Palas, both originally built to conduct commerce at the point in time when the old residential hans of early Ottoman times began morphing into more recognizable modern business centers. More such hans are strung out along the waterside where the Kadıköy ferries dock; there’s an especially fine one designed by the same Alexandre Vallaury who was responsible for the Pera Palace Hotel immediately behind the Ziraat Bankası building — look for the splendid Arabic calligraphy over the entrance, then glance up at the French-inspired mansard roofline.
The finest of all these 19th-century buildings climb the hill towards Galata above the entrance to the Tünel funicular. Voyvoda Caddesi, better known as Bankalar Caddesi, was the Wall Street of 19th-century İstanbul, a place where all the main banks and insurance companies had their head offices. Today these have moved out to Maslak or Ataşehir and the abandoned buildings are slowly being restored to their original grandeur. To see what the interiors might have looked like head for SALT Galata, a restaurant-cum-fine-arts-library complex housed in what was once the head office first of the Ottoman Bank and then of Garanti Bankası. The basement contains a surprisingly absorbing museum of banking history.
If you walk along the waterfront beside the ferry terminal, you will come eventually to the imposing building that houses the Türk Denizyolları (Turkish Maritime Lines). Behind it runs Kemankeş Caddesi. Until recently very run-down, this is where the regeneration of Karaköy really started to take off with the opening first of the Karaköy Lokantası in the lovely turquoise-tiled building that briefly housed the Estonian Embassy and then of Lokanta Maya which injected a dose of culinary modernity into an area hitherto best known for its kuru fasuliye (baked beans).’
Read here whole article here:
Recommended places to stay and to eat by Pat Yale
WHERE TO STAY
Karaköy Rooms. Tel.: 0 (212) 252 54 22
WHERE TO EAT
Bej. Tel.: 0 (212) 251 71 95
Karabatak. Tel.: 0 (212) 243 69 93
Karaköy Lokantası. Tel.: 0 (212) 292 44 55
Lokanta Maya. Tel.: 0 (212) 252 68 84
Ops. Tel.: 0 (212) 245 02 88
Ünter. Tel.: 0 (212) 244 51 51