There are two Istanbuls. One is historic, an ancient city with abundance of cultural treasures — from the Egyptian Obelisk to the walls of the Roman hippodrome and Ottoman monuments. 

Then there is modern Istanbul, a vibrant metropolis of 15 million where traffic is controlled chaos, fcharacterized by a myriad of colors. Many of its local attractions are situated near ferry piers and include several shops as well as empty houses. This place is a dream for the creative souls as well as individuals who treasure antiquity while being equipped to observe the rapid changes that occur in a place.  

In case this is the first time you are paying a visit to Istanbul, there are certain places you must drop by. Remember to incorporate Ottoman and Byzantine historical sites such as the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and Hagia Sophia in your travel itinerary.

Karakoy and Beyoglu are two great examples of Istanbul’s being one of the world’s most visually stimulating cities and a major cultural capital. Karakoy is popular for its monuments, which are both architectural and historical in nature. It was under the Byzantines that the region began to develop at a quick pace. During this period, many Genoese merchants flocked to the area, after taking the permission of the emperor and eventually began to establish several households and warehouses built with robust stone walls.

Long ago, it was a port area. However, it now only caters to cruise liners after losing its port facilities. Karakoy is now reviving at a quick rate, as many cafes, restaurants, and designer shops are opening up in the region. Moreover, the area also hosts the Istanbul Biennale and the Istanbul Modern Museum of Contemporary Art.

Just under the Galata Tower are situated modern designer boutiques and architectural workshops, right beside the Dockers’ quarter. This creative space is the hub for the youth in the region. Novel creations are often a thing of the region, as abandoned production facilities are artfully transformed into cafes, shops, boutiques.

For those who appreciate glaring contrasts and the creative spirit, Karakoy is an amazing find. The blurred lines between poverty and wealth, cleanliness and dirt, modernity, and historical aspects cannot be overlooked. The design elements juxtapose ancient Ottoman culture with useful natural materials, and a hint of modern luxurious quality is incorporated. This quality is often included in every aspect of the region’s life: clothes, and jewelry, and household items. 

Street with umbrellas in Karakoy area

In many cities across the world, streets with umbrellas have become a common element of the design. Istanbul is one such city. Click a few colorful pictures before you enjoy the cafes and shops in Karaköy. This street with umbrellas is situated adjacent to the Karaköy Bulldog cafe.

Karakoy Graffiti

Karakoy’s diverse street art is unparalleled and takes up walls, doors, and gates. For the last eight years, Kadikoy has been witnessing a mural festival specific to foreign artists. The main objective of this festival is to ensure that the area is decorated and it does work wonders. People often visit the area to enjoy the murals.

Both the authorities and the residents endorse this initiative, which has practically resulted in an open-air museum. In Karakoy, the streets are attractive with their original wall paintings. Photographs flock to this place like moths turn to a flame.


In Istanbul you will find local artists in both historic areas and new open air street art museums —.

Istanbul Modern Art Museum

Istanbul Modern opened in 2005 in a converted warehouse on the Bosporus .  It has two floors of contemporary artworks by local artists, and also a sculpture garden, library and restaurant. The interior has industrial feel and long, sophisticatedly lighted hallways lined with spaced paintings .

What to do in Karakoy

The best way to enjoy this modern , vibrant area is to act like a local . Slow down , visit one of the coutneless cafes , have some Turkish coffee and enjoy the other face of Istanbul in the form of street art and youthful energy .