The Narrow Road
Many shops surround Galata Tower as to feed off the tourism that the Galata Tower attracts. With the greater amount of attraction a site has, the more money a shop will gather throughout the day. Galata Tower ranks in the top three most tourist places in Istanbul.
You start your walk south of Galata Tower — at the bottom of narrow road. It’s a warm, early spring day. Many tourist surround you as you begin your hike up the street that has the majority of the shops.
The sun is shining. Tourists from around the world are exploring near you. You’re wearing light clothes, allowing the sun’s penetration on your skin and provide you with vitamin D. You start at the bottom of a mountain-of-a-road. Shops are on either sides. Galata Tower remains on your left; at the halfway marker, you’ll get a beautiful glimpse of the landmark. Shops of many kinds, but from your starting point, you notice the majority are souvenir shops. You shake your head from looking around, even though you haven’t climbing the road. You gaze down at your legs and prepare them for the climb towards Istikal Street — Beyoglu stop.
Stepping away from the road, you walk on the right sidewalk. The road is so small that it barely allows for a one way road. A motorcycle runs down the uneven road, with caution on the driver’s face. The driver is alert and accustomed to a narrow, touristic-filled road. People carve out a way for him, and when there is a large clump of them, the drive carves a way for himself by shifting away from the crowd. The sidewalks are smaller than the regular sidewalks, and the shop owners extend their shops outside their shop.
A Conversation With A Shop Owner
Shop owners placed their best items — Galata Tower souvenirs — on display outside their shops. They provide a taste to the tourists, a valuable taste that doesn’t reciprocate once the tourists enters the shop. You turn your attention to a short table with many Galata Tower items — keychains, magnets, postcards, and the items that sucked your eyes toward it—a miniature-sized Galata Tower. You pick one up and inspect it. The material lacks quality, but your eyes enjoy it.
“How much?” you ask the owner.
The shop owner who stood on the front edge of his shop steps out and looks at it, studying very well. “Fifty Turkish Lira.” He looked at it, and then to you.
You lower your head at it for a moment, and ponder to yourself. Less than four dollars, not a bad price. But then you remember what you told yourself the first day you landed in Istanbul. Always bargain the price, no matter how cheap it may seem to you. There’s the touristic price, the regular price and then the price of sale.
“Forty.” He replies. You purchase the miniature Galata Tower. He places it in plastic bag and hands it to you as you hand him the money. That was probably the regular price… still a good deal.
A View of The Mesmerizing Galata Tower
You leave the shop and head up, climbing the street hill filled with Galata Tower shops. There are more shop with souvenirs. Everywhere you look, you find one. You enter a few of them, not to purchase anything, but to get a small glimpse at what items they sell. You notice some records made of wood and magnets are popular among the souvenirs, so much so that they exceed the typical souvenirs such as keychains. A few shops have special items—items that are no souvenirs. It’s such as guitars, regular clothing, and electronic parts.
About half way up the street, you notice a group of tourists taking pictures at a side street on your left. They catch your eye as you become curious at what they’re taking a picture of. What could be so great that cause them to take out their phones and snap pictures and even post in front of it? What can be so important? Your mind answers its own question. Galata Tower.
At the side street, you’re provided the view of the beautiful Galata Tower. It stands firm, tall, and proud. Almost as if telling its visitors: Here I am, look at me. Take pictures of me. Here I am, look at me. You answer its call, pausing for a few moments. You pull out your phone and snap a few pictures. You inspect the pictures, and then look back the Galata Tower. Even my phone cannot completely capture your beauty. You tuck your phone inside your pocket, and admire it with your eyes for a few more moments. You ponder over the history the Galata Tower lived through, throughout the hundreds of years.
Continuing up the road, you notice a man who doesn’t have a shop bit that doesn’t stop him from selling the items he has hung against a closed garage. The man has a jacket, few pants and shirts hung on hangers against the garage door and a few footwear on the floor — sandals, shoes, and a pair of boots. He’s sitting down on a small stool, holding a newspaper. He seems engulfed into the paper.
Entering The Busiest Street of Istanbul
You almost reach the top, but before you do, you notice a sudden change of shops. The food shops have dominated the top section of the narrow road. Since you started walking, there were mostly souvenirs shops but as you passed the side street with Galata Tower view, you realized that mostly food shops and restaurants dominated the area. Beautiful smells allure tourists to sit and eat. You resist the attractive scents, and continue past them and then reach the top.
At the top, you’re greeted by a major street in Istanbul—possibly the most major street in Istanbul. A street known for its nightlife, extravagant stores, and millions of visitors each year—Istikal Street. If you’d like to explore rich Istikal Street, click here.
Check this YouTube video to view this adventure, with your eyes. There are four main landmarks that make Istanbul famous. Here’s the links to the other three: Istiklal Street, Hagia Sophia, and Grand Bazaar (coming soon).