By. Justin Mays
Jokingly referred to as the Republic of Cihangir amongst locals, Cihangir is a multicultural neighborhood popular with young people, expats and artists that often seems to move to its own rhythm.
Today’s neighborhood profile will explain to you the history, demographics, and location of the charming neighborhood of Cihangir.
The History of the Name: Cihangir
One of the most aesthetic areas in Istanbul, Cihangir was named after one of the sons of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. At the time, this location was just a forest used for hunting but was liked by Prince Cihangir.
Prince Cihangir passed away shortly after the execution of his oldest brother. A mosque was built here and was named after him by his father's orders. Over time, this area morphed into a neighborhood and became famous as “Cihangir.”
This bohemian neighborhood is lively with streetside cafes, restaurants and bars. It is conveniently located just a short walk from Taksim Square, and its public transportation options and a walk downhill takes you to the Kabatas transportation hub with its ferries around the city.
Many people here work from home or in a local coffee shop. You'll always find a crowd at one of the two more prominent parks in the area, and locals take great pride in taking care of the many street cats in the neighborhood.
There are many large and small groceries nearby with options suited to the Western palate and funky local shops. It is safe for singles and families.
There are a good number of expat parents here who have created solid support networks, although eventually, many children will have to commute to schools further afield when they get older.
There is a high concentration of hospitals and medical services in the area.
Cihangir is also filled with cafes and restaurants that serve cuisines from around the globe. Many of the eateries don’t just offer delicious food but also live music for the perfect ambiance.
Historical Places in Cihangir
There are several other historical locations worth visiting. Here are some of them:
The architect behind this architectural wonder was Mimar Sinan. As mentioned earlier, this mosque was built after the death of the youngest son of Sultan Suleiman and Hurrem (his wife).
It was restored during the reign of Sultan Abdulmecid II to repair the damage caused by earthquakes.
Visitors can spend time in the lush green gardens of this mosque or sit on one of the benches to soak in the peace and breathtaking views.
Orhan Kemal Muzesi
This literary museum is only a walk away from Taksim Square. Named after the Turkish novelist Orhan Kemal, this museum is a three-story building that holds his possessions.
These include his family photographs, letters, articles, etc. Visiting this museum can easily give you a glimpse into his life since there is even a mock display of his room. This display contains his typewriter and even his bed.
In addition, his death mask is also on display in this museum.
Museum of Innocence
The Museum of Innocence was influenced by Orhan Pamuk’s most popular book that carries the exact name. He created it and both the museum and his novel revolve around the lives of two families living in Istanbul.
Visitors see all the objects belonging to the characters from his book. It holds over a thousand such objects.
The Museum of Innocence won the 2014 European Museum of the year award.
Real Estate in Cihangir
Many flats here are in late 19th-century historical buildings that feature high ceilings, marble stairs, fanciful metalwork, carved wooden moldings and colorful floor tiles and fill with light from balcony windows overlooking panoramic views of the Sultanahmet skyline, Bosphorus and the Marmara Sea.
In 2012, the Guardian highlighted Cihangir on its list of the five best places worldwide to live. Prices are higher here than in some of the neighboring areas as its popularity never wanes and foreigners buying property in Istanbul often begin their search here.
Although dated, Cihangir is a highly developed and modern neighborhood. It can feel like a self-contained relaxed oasis, not unlike Williamsburg in Brooklyn, where people quickly settle in and feel at home.
For more information on Cihangir and other areas of Istanbul, please read our Istanbul area guide.
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