İstiklal Avenue or Istiklal Street or İstiklâl Caddesi is one of the most famous avenues or street in Istanbul, Turkey. This city centre street is visited by nearly 3 million people on a single day over the course of weekends. Istiklal street is located in the historic Beyoğlu (Pera) district. It is an elegant pedestrian street that is 1.4 kilometers long. It houses boutiques, music stores, bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theatres, libraries, cafés, pubs, night clubs with live music, historical patisseries, chocolateries and restaurants. The famed street starts from the medieval Genoese neighbourhood around Galata Tower and ultimately leads up to Taksim Square. Apart from preferred walking you can also tram it down from or to Taksim Square.
Since Istiklal street is so popular, one can see numerous street performers all through the walk. As I walked through this legendary street – often a centre of protests too, I couldn’t but help notice the struggle for livelihood by these street magicians, performers and artists. In fact I am told that street performers are welcome on Istiklal street since it adds to the character of the street. Street performers are an essential part of the art scene in Istanbul, whether on streets or in public transportation and even subway stations. Young ones or elderly, these street musicians are a definite joy to one’s ears.