Karaköy is one of the oldest commercial centres of Istanbul. Throughout the history it has become an important commercial centre and transport hub. The location is connected with the surrounding neighbourhoods through streets originating from Karaköy Square. The Galata Bridge links Karaköy to Eminönü.The commercial quarter, which was originally the meeting place for banks and insurance companies in the 19th century, is today also home to mechanical, electrical, plumbing and electronic parts suppliers.
FERRY & TUNNEL: These are the ways of transportation from Karaköy to Haydarpasa and Kadıköy and from Beyoglu to Karakoy. Because of these means of transportation Karaköy is the junction of different districts.
PEDDLERS: Peddlers seem to be the bad side of Karaköy. They are all located in back streets. They sell various products including glasses, electronics, ironmongery and peanuts.
BROTHELS: These are the places that come to people’s mind first when Karakoy is the topic. This is also the other bad side of Karakoy for most of “women”.
FOOD COURTS: There are not only expensive fish restaurants but also simit and doner sellers in Karakoy Square. While rich people are having dinner or lunch in expensive restaurants, poor people are eating simits or döners on benches.
GALATA BRIDGE: Galata Bridge is not the longest bridge in Istanbul but it is one of the famous one. It connects Emiönü to Karaköy, which has different fish restaurants under it. It is one of the best places for the people who like fishing. There are not many fish living in the sea but the fishers from different ages and genders come here to watch the beauty of the Bosporus, watching the small ferries carry people from one side to another.They may dream about their lives, trying to imagine the life in Ottoman Empire looking at the Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia. On the other side there is the tower of Galata which has a good view.
3- Karaköy is a visual expression of different life styles of people in Turkey. People adapted to certain ways of life and Karaköy became an effective part of these ways;
Turgut Durmuş is an individual from these people. He has been living in İstanbul for sixty years and sitting on a bench everyday in Karaköy while waiting the ferry. He called Karaköy as “transportation place” then looked around and said: “I have been here for sixty years but I ate fish only six times in those years.” For him; sitting on these benches means resting, eating simits and thinking about those expensive restaurants in Karaköy. So Karaköy is the place where conflicts clash with one another in Istanbul for some who feel this condition deeply.
- This woman didn’t say her name because “It wasn’t necessary” when we asked her the meaning of Karaköy. She was angry with us because Karaköy has “no meaning” for her but “badness” due to having “brothels” so Karaköy is justifying this “women trade” for some who become a witness or an opposer.
Cemil is the owner a restaurant and he was very willing to say something about Karaköy. As a result of “damages of ferries to the harbour of Karaköy”, the restaurants are about to “be demolished” and “nobody in charge of government deals with this problem of Karaköy” whereby “the restaurants sell alcohol” so; The future of that place in Karaköy depends on the authorized‘s sense of justice.
They were the tourists Dennise and Dennis came from Australia. They were resting after a long tour in Istanbul and looking at scene from Karaköy. They didn’t focus on Karaköy, they only talked about “cheapness” and “opportunities” of Istanbul. Karaköy has “good and historical buildings” and “provides fast transportation to famous places like Taksim” so; in spite of all those things above mentioned Karaköy offers a wide atmosphere for some who have chance to travel.
There were also other tourists that we talked to. One of them was a German family came to Istanbul to spend their holidays with two children. We asked them what they understand from the architecture of the buildings. They told us that they have similar buildings in their countries but the buildings are not so close to each other like in Karaköy. They told that buildings which are used as the banks don’t reflect the Ottoman architectural style but European style.
Karaköy is portrayed over in the representations of basic aspects of Istanbul. Sometimes it is reflected as “tiredness” and “escape” of public from these all dominant views and sometimes it is a symbolic figure that contains many opponents and also and images of various eyes. It is not only a space but a back stage of Istanbul that is too busy and confused.
Razmik Arabaciyan was the owner of place where there is Starbucks coffee now. He had a tailor shop years ago in Karaköy next to Meydan Berberi owned by Mustafa Kara. Razmik Arabaciyan’s family members had been living in Istanbul for more than 250 years. His forefathers were serving to Government in Ottoman time and their family was an important one. Razmik Arabaciyan and his family are living in Galata where he was born after the Constitution of Republic of Turkey. Different from his ancestors he had less chance to work in government but he had the skill to be a tailor. He opened a small shop in Karaköy. Razmik and his friend hairdresser Mustafa were playing backgammon in their free times. They were laughing, drinking Turkish tea and other shopkeepers were watching their tournaments with a great joy and they were joking with one another. Mustafa and Razmik have become older now and five years ago both of them had to quit their business. Mustafa was old and his eyes became weaker and weaker, so he couldn’t shave customers face, he left his position to his son Vedat, now Vedat continues to his father’s business but with a small difference, he changed the name of their hairdresser and he gave the name of For Men Erkek Kuaförü as a substitute to “Meydan Berberi”.
Razmik also had to quit his job because his children told that he couldn’t challenge big, modern factories, which are producing cheaper trousers in mass production. Razmik’s only son, who studied business administration in the United States of America, gave the idea to close their tailor shop because Razmik’s shop could not make any profit, no one came to him to order new clothes and trousers, he was just adjusting the cuff of the trousers and he could earn little money. Razmik’s son made a deal with Starbucks Coffee, and Starbucks Coffee rented Razmik’s old tailor shop. Now Starbucks Coffee and Formen Erkek Kuaförü are neighbours but their modern owners do not play backgammon in front of their shops. However, each Saturday Razmik and Mustafa visit their places, they drink Turkish tea and Turkish coffee, and they don’t order it from Starbucks Coffee but from the small tea house of Karaköy. Although Starbucks Coffee has placed to sit and drink coffee they have no chance to play backgammon in Starbucks because it is against the principles of Starbucks Coffee. So they sit in front of the modern named Formen hairdresser and still play backgammon.