Taksim Square
Taksim Square
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If you are looking for a city center in this vast city running a coastline of tens of kilometers in both Asia and Europe, that would be Taksim. It is the hub of the city. All major transportation lines except ferries go through this point and you can reach ferry connection from Taksim in only 3 minutes ride on the new funiculare running down to Kabatas.

Yes, there are other central points or city nodes such as Besiktas, Aksaray, Mecidiyekoy and Bakirkoy on the European side and Kadikoy, Uskudar on the Asian side but Taksim is the heart of the city.

Taksim's landmark for Turkish people is AKM, short for Ataturk Cultural Center, a period building which is not interesting or beautiful as a building but has the biggest significance in the cultural life of Istanbul and Turkey in classical music, opera and ballet. It is the building that much symbolizes the direction of Turkey under Ataturk's principles, to be on par with Western nations not only in economy but in culture. Many of the Istanbul Festivals and Events were held here. It signifies a young Turkish State's move towards the culture of the West. The architecture reflects functionality rather than beauty, something you would expect as the Turkish Ataturkist State with limited funds wanted to provide a place for Istanbul citizens to connect with art and artists. In addition to music shows and concerts many art exhibitions were held here. That did really worked and great artist from around the world came to play as well as the young and established Turkish artists. Nowadays it still is a landmark building but there are many new venues and concert halls in Istanbul.

The monument which has a special significance in Turkish people's daily political lives is located on Taksim Square. This is the Ataturk's statue. Public figures, political parties and NGO's lay wreath here to salute and protect the memory and ideals of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the secular state he has founded.

When you speak of Taksim, a Turk would think of Beyoglu and Istiklal street though Taksim is the Taksim square and immediate area around. Taksim extends to the other side in the direction of Elmadag, Harbiye and posh Nisantasi nerighborhhood, but in the mind of Turks Taksim means mosty Beyoglu. For travelers and Istanbullus alike, Taksim and Beyoglu, area is the place for shopping for antiques, old maps, old books, stamps, dining, partying and people watching.