By Justin Mays:
One of the best spots in Istanbul to stroll, shop, and grab a good meal or coffee is “Bagdat Caddesi” on the Asian side of the city. This plane-tree-lined boulevard runs for 14 kilometers from east to west connecting the Maltepe and Kadikoy Districts.
The area from Bostanci to Kiziltoprak is the most popular area with its concentration of high-end street and luxury shops, pubs and cafes, businesses, and good dining options. Not only a social epicenter of Istanbul, but the street also has an illustrious history.
During the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, it served as the road that connected Constantinople with Anatolia. The road started out as a trade route and was also utilized by the military. Sultan Murat the 4th renamed the street using the Arabic word for Baghdad in 1668 and to this day you can still find traces of the historical Ottoman fountains and pavilions that were placed throughout the neighborhoods surrounding Bagdat Avenue.
The natural beauty and access to the coast led many wealthy families to build summer homes here. Today, surrounding the area are upscale residential neighborhoods. Mixed in between the newer apartment buildings are old Ottoman wooden homes and midcentury modern residences. Visitors can explore luxury shops and excellent restaurants while looking out for remnants from the past. Given its proximity to many fantastic parks and the Sea of Marmara, it's easy to enjoy the treats that Bagdat Street and environs have to offer.
To reach Bagdat you can choose among multiple Marmaray stops to access the neighborhoods surrounding it. It is a short walk from stops like Goztepe and Fenerbahce. The Marmaray is a high-speed metro line covering 77km of the area connecting the Asian and European sides of the city. Dolmus (local buses) run 24 hours to reach Kadikoy port and the European side. Once you reach the coast, you can walk for kilometers by the sea, set up a picnic, or go for a jog.
For browsing wares, the highest concentration of fashion brands is located between Suadiye and Caddebostan. Caddebostan has a reputation for being one the liveliest neighborhoods with loads of young people and families enjoying the street side dining options and wide sidewalks.
If you are looking for street festivities, be sure to go to Bagdat Street on Turkey’s Republic Day on October 29 or time your visit when Fenerbahce Football Club has a major win. Bagdat Avenue is an exceptional area for friends and families to gather and enjoy all that it has to offer!