34433 Istanbul, Turkey
Çiçek Pasajı which literally means "Flower Passage" was originally named Cité de Péra. It is a covered alley, a historic and famous passage, that was built in 1876. The site where the passage stands today was originally the Naum Theater -which was often frequented by the Sultan and is known world-wide for hosting Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore before Paris. The Naum Theater was completely destroyed in the great fire of Beyoglu in 1870. Çiçek Pasajı is a real diversion from the old Theater and also from the already charming main drag Istiklal Caddesi -along which it is located. The passage is filled with lively restaurants, pubs, wine bars, taverns (meyhanes
) and music. It is almost like the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan - an L-shaped, cobblestone-laden path, picturesque and enchanting atmosphere with rows of taverns and restaurants. Çiçek Pasajı is also a great spot for a solid Turkish meal (with a menu in your language) or a stiff drink -raki
being the most appropriate one. At night, the passage is lit up literally and metaphorically, with colorful lights and live musicians at your table side. Despite its location and history, the Çiçek Pasajı is not overwhelmingly touristy, and it's a great place to stop in for a refresher on your journey down İstiklal, or to have a nightcap after a long day of sightseeing. You will notice the local folk eating and dancing with the musicians until late in the night; you may as well join in with them.