Exploring Hipstanbul: Karaköy shenanigans

I cannot think of a better way to spend a summer night in Istanbul than to have a walk in the badly-lit creepy alleyways of Karaköy.

Once part of the Galata district, a semi-autonomous Genoese colony within Constantinople, Karaköy used to be an important port, place where all cool Byzatine kids hung out and played. Later, in the Ottoman times, it became a wealthy expat corner, with big Jewish, Greek, Armenian and Italian population, and then in the 19th century Karaköy turned into a full-blown Wall Street of Istanbul, with banks and such.

In modern days, most visitors pass by the Jewish Museum in the Synagogue and Istanbul Modern – a former warehouse turned into an art museum in 2004 and featuring some great collections. At the waterside here, you can sit on a plastic chair, drink tea and watch the fishermen getting splashed with salty spits from the Bosphorus.

But the best time is after dark. When floods of hipsters and smart masses start gathering in the bars and cafeterias lit up with blinking lights and lanterns among the dark old houses. Walking here feels like flowing from one beehive to another: you only hear the music and talking when you see the venue, but should you turn around the corner and wander off a little bit – only silence, occasional cat gangs and odd graffitis. You may be surprised how different this place looks at night and during the day. I wouldn’t know, because we never made it there before dark.

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