How to get there
How to get to Cukurcuma Street Istanbul:
From Taksim: From Istiklal Street, head about halfway down to the historic Galatasaray High School (10-minute walk) and wander left and downhill in the direction of the Bosphorus.Then take the first left again and head to Cukurcuma Street.
From Sultanahmet: Take T-1 tram in the direction of Zeytinburnu. (stop:Karakoy) From Karakoy, take the nostalgic underground Tunnel to Tünel. From Tünel, head about halfway to the historic Galatasaray High School. Turn right and wander downhill in the direction of the Bosphorus.Then take a left and head to Cukurcuma street.
Latitude / Longitude: 41.03131, 28.98024
There’s no better way to spend an afternoon than rifling through the eccentric collection of goods in Istanbul’s Çukurcuma district. This charming area, which is also a favourite place of residence for artists and expats, is a world of its own, where rambling apartments house some of the finest collections of antiques, boutique fashion and kitsch in the city.
From Istiklal Street, head about halfway down to the historic Galatasaray High School and wander left and downhill in the direction of the Bosphorus. The best streets in the area are in and around Çukurcuma Square, such as Faik Pasa Sokak and Çukurcuma Caddesi, however, don’t be afraid to stray from the most worn paths.
One of the best ways to experience this area is to literally lose yourself in the many winding side streets and alleyways where you’ll stumble on narrow stores packed to the ceiling with everything from century-old artifacts to cigarette packets dating from the 1930’s, art works, carpets, historic maps, retro furniture and just about anything in between. If you don’t find Aladdin’s lamp here, you’ll at least feel like you’re heading in the right direction. Keep in mind, though, that it is illegal to export antiques (items over 100 years old) from Turkey.
Many young fashion designers launch their careers from here, and the unusual collections of clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories make a refreshing change from factory-made uniformity. Prices are usually reasonable and the laid-back attitude of Çukurcuma’s locals makes shopping here an experience to remember.
A scattering of cafes have sprung up in recent years. While trendy, these places have retained a unique character and are a wonderful way to while away an afternoon sipping coffee and observing Çukurcuma’s eccentric residents and, of course, their cats.
"Travel and change of pace impart new vigor to the mind" - Seneca