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Though there's no visible evidence of its beginnings as the ancient Greek colony of Chalcedon, the relaxed, suburban neighborhood of Kadıköy is a pleasant area to explore on foot. As you approach by ferry, look for the beautiful neoclassical-style Haydarpaşa train station, built out over the water on piles at the north end of the harbor. Built in 1908, the terminal is one of the most notable pieces of architecture on the Asian side and a classic Istanbul landmark. You can get off here, at the tiled Ottoman-era quay, or stay on the boat for a few more minutes until it reaches Kadıköy proper.
The area just up from the Kadıköy dock, to the south of busy Söğütlü Çeşme Caddesi, is known as the Çarşı, or "market"—a grid of narrow, pedestrian-only lanes filled with a small open-air food market, shops, cafés, nightlife venues, and a few modern churches. Güneşlibahçe Sokak, home to an assortment of fish restaurants and some bars, is particularly lively. Several streets up and farther to the right, Kadife Sokak, dubbed Barlar Sokağı, or "bars street," is the center of Kadıköy's nightlife, lined with small, wooden rowhouses occupied by bars with a casual, laid-back vibe. A few streets north of Kadife Sokak towards Söğütlü Çeşme Caddesi, Osmancık Sokak (just off Serasker Caddesi) is another popular nightlife street that becomes a sort of mini version of Beyoğlu's Nevizade Sokak in the summer, lined with small bars with sidewalk seating.
General Asım Gündüz Caddesi, which runs perpendicular to Söğütlü Çeşme Caddesi, has branches of well-known Turkish and international clothing stores, movie theaters, and some eateries. On Tuesdays, near the intersection of these two streets (look for the bronze sculpture of a bull), there begins a lively, open-air street market, selling mostly food and clothes. A tiny nostalgic tram runs in a clockwise direction up General Asım Gündüz, from where it loops down to the lovely waterfront neighborhood of Moda before stopping at the Kadıköy dock. If you've come this far on foot, it's nice to ride the tram back to the dock.
- Address: Asian Side, Istanbul
- Location: The Bosphorus and Beşiktaş
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