“Marker Stone”

I’ll be honest and admit that Nişantaşı is not my favourite part of İstanbul. It’s not that it doesn’t have some splendid 19th and early 20th-century apartment blocks to admire plus the quirky detail of the nişantası (marker stones)” after which it is named. It’s just that Nişantaşı lives for brand-name shops. Yes, it’s nice to people-watch from the terrace of the Beymen Brasserie but you’ll pay prices slanted to the pockets of the Cartier crowd to do so.

It’s hard to define exactly where Nişantaşı ends and Teşvikiye begins but Nişantaşı is certainly the part of town bisected by posh Vali Konağı Caddesi and Abdi İpekçi Caddesi. At the bottom of Abdi İpekçi it segues neatly into Maçka with its wonderful city-centre park.

Around Nişantaşı

One of the nicest ways to approach Nişantaşı is on foot along Vali Konağı Caddesi from in front of the Askeri Müzesi (Military Museum) in Harbiye. This will quickly take you past one of the entrances to Maçka Demokrasi Park, decorated like many Turkish parks these days with busts of great figures from the wider Turkic-speaking world. If you walk down the steps inside the path you’ll come to a bust of the Romanian historian Dimitri Cantemir (1673-1723) whose house in Balat is theoretically open to the public.

Facing the park is one of the most conspicuous and intriguing houses in the area, not least because it was built in the First National style of architecture, an attempt to create a truly Turkish style of modern architecture that stands in sharp contrast to the more European-looking blocks all around it. This is the Vedat Tek Konağı, erstwhile home to the architect, Vedat Tek (1873-1942), and its facade features all his signature tricks: thick lancet windows, an overhanging roofline, star-shaped cutouts and panels of turquoise tiles. 
For many years Tek’s daughter, the artist Selime Işıtan (1913-93), ran a famous restaurant called Yetka on the ground floor with her husband Yetka Işıtan. If you can, it’s especially worth taking a look upstairs where there are still some fittings taken from the equally famous Park Hotel that used to stand at the top of Gümüşsuyu Caddesi.

Detail from Vedat Tek’s house

If you keep walking up to the junction with Teşvikiye Caddesi you will see on the crowded pavement one of the marker stones, an obelisk erected to commemorate the best shot of a sultan’s archery practise.

At the busy junction where Abdi İpekçi Caddesi turns into Maçka Caddesi there’s a memorial to the Milliyet editor Abdi İpekçi (1929-79) who was murdered nearby by the Grey Wolf, Mehmet Ali Ağca, the man even more famous for attempting to kill Pope John Paul II (and immortalised as “The Assassin from Apricot City” by Witold Szablowski).


Beymen Brasserie In see-and-be-seen territory par excellence the Beymen Brasserie, perfectly positioned on a busy street corner, stands out as a place where you can guarantee to be noticed as you sip your (pricy) latte. The pavement tables are as popular as front-row seats at a Beyonce gig throughout the summer. Abdi İpekçi Caddesi No. 23, Tel: 0212-343 0443

Cookshop Here’s a tip for homesick Brits – the “magnolia” at Cookbook comes as close as Turkish dessert can to a non-alcoholic trifle. Abdi İpekçi Caddesi No. 34/A, Tel: 0212-232 0566

Tatbak An excellent choice for those who prefer things a little more traditional – Tatbak has been keeping Nişantaşı diners happy since 1960 with a reliable menu of Turkish staples including soups and pides. Vali Konağı Caddesi, Akkavak Sokak No. 28/A, Tel: 0212-246 1306


The Stay Nişantaşı

From the minute you step into the first-floor reception area-cum-lounge you know that you will be in for a treat at this super-stylish 45-room hotel. Bathrooms may be a tad on the small side but the graceful curves of the Autoban-designed wooden bedheads and the handy iPod docks won’t leave many people quibbling. Abdi İpekçi Caddesi No. 30, Tel: 0212-970 7832

Transport info

To get to Nişantaşı using public transport you can either catch a bus heading along Halaskargazi Caddesi from Taksim Square or take the Metro to Osmanbey and walk along narrow, overcrowded Rumeli Caddesi.

If you’re staying in Sultanahmet the easiest way may be to take one of the dolmuşes to Nişantaşı that run from the Eminönü waterfront and terminate behind the City’s Shopping Mall.

Nearby areas






Taksim Square






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