Karakoy – the other side

Enter into the mysterious Arabian nights' world of Karakoy, IstanbulKarakoy, once home to itinerant sailors, has been attracting a lot of attention in recent years. The section east of Galata Bridge already boasts an eclectic collection of cafes, bars and galleries. However I prefer the largely as yet undiscovered area to the west of the bridge. In the wonderful rabbit warren of backstreets bounded by the majesty of Bankalar Caddesi, the street of banks, and Tersane Caddesi, shipyard street, an older Istanbul remains amongst the chaos of the iron mongers and hardware sellers.

Travel the world of high finance on Bank StreetNeed a washer changed? You'll find all your hardware needs in Karakoy.

Between these two streets, tucked away behind ramshackle shops sits the Arab Mosque, so called because it was taken over by a colony of Moors expelled from Spain in the 16th century. The building was believed to have originally been built in 1323-1337 by the Dominicans and dedicated to St Dominic. Built on site of chapel dedicated to St Paul it has an imposing tall square tower with pyramid roof. If you have the opportunity, go on Friday after midday prayers. The courtyard comes alive with worshippers and afterwards you can explore the simple rectangular interior in silence. The unusual square tower of the Arab MosqueThe main door to the interior of the Arab Mosque

Check out the action in courtyard of the Arab MosqueA few streets along you come to an area jam packed with little shops selling building essentials such as electronics, ironware and cabling. Despite the products it is far from boring. Look out for Perşembe Pazar Sokağı. The name most likely refers to a street market that would have been held here every Thursday. These days it is worth the visit to see the old stone houses dating back to the 18th century. 18th century old stone warehouses, KarakoyGrotty and grimy and rather worse for wear they are still in use. Take the time to stand on a corner and soak up the industry, but make sure you keep out of the way of the trucks, porters and delivery boys!

Karakoy graffiti

What remains of the Yeni Camii ÇeşmeModern Karakoy grafitti

Feeling hungry yet?

When you’ve had enough grab a bite to eat at one of the many hole in the wall eateries.

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About Goreme1990

I’m Lisa Morrow, the person behind www.insideoutinistanbul.com. I was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up a leafy middle class North Shore suburb. After finishing high school I went to Sydney University but failed to find my niche. After working as a public servant, cleaner, sales assistant, waitress, bar maid and car counter, I went overseas. Once there I hitchhiked through the UK, travelled in Europe and arrived in Turkey just as the Gulf War was starting. My three months stay in the small central Anatolian village of Göreme changed my life. On my return to Australia I earned a BA Honours Degree in Sociology from Macquarie University. An academic career beckoned but the call to travel was louder. After several false starts I moved to Turkey and lived there for ten years. In 2017 I moved to Lisbon, Portugal, but continue to travel regularly to Istanbul. In addition to my blog I've written a travel narrative memoir called "Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom: Adrift in Istanbul" and two collections of essays, "Inside Out In Istanbul: Making Sense of the City" and "Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries". I have a regular segment on San Francisco Turkish radio and in early 2017 I released an audio walking tour called "Stepping back through Chalcedon: Kadikoy Walk", through VoiceMap. In addition I write for various international and Australian magazines and websites, as well as for this blog. A full list of my published articles, with links, can be found on the Writing on Turkey and Writing Beyond Turkey pages.
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One Response to Karakoy – the other side

  1. Brian Mooy says:

    Not terrible different to Ultimo and Darling Harbour, only we have more places of worship and a greater variety of nationalities. What the boats bring in can be enjoyed or rejected, Sydney is still deciding!

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