Located at the northern part of the Golden Horn, Karaköy is a neighborhood in Beyoğlu district. Karaköy is one of the most historic neighborhoods of the city. The Galata Bridge joins Karaköy to Eminönü. Karaköy is surrounded by Tophane, Beyoğlu, Azapkapı and Şişhane.
It has been and is an important port, a transport and trade center since Byzantine times. This made Karaköy a cosmopolitan neighborhood at almost all times. Genoese and Venetian merchants, Greek, Armenian and Jewish communities mostly inhabited or had business at Karaköy.
As a port and banking area Karaköy has a lively daily life. You can watch people running to catch the ferry to Kadıköy, walking to their offices, opening their small shops, eating at restaurants, fisherman boats carrying their catch to the nearby fish market, large and small boats passing by.
As a multicultural neighborhood, there are so many attractions to see around Karaköy and so many special things to taste. You can have brunch by the Karaköy port, have fish and meze at the restaurants behind the fish market. These are all delicious, no doubt, but the main thing you shouldn’t leave before trying is baklava.
The origins of baklava, the heavenly sweet piece of pastry is still contradictory. Most of the Middle East, East Mediterranean and Balkan countries prepare baklava traditionally.
As these are Ottoman Empire’s lands once, it can be said that baklava belongs to Ottoman cuisine. Baklava is simply a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of pastry filled with chopped nuts or pistachios and sweetened with syrup.
At Karaköy, you can find the Güllüoğlu, the oldest baklava shop of Istanbul. The Güllü family runs this business since 1800’s. The familie’s baklava story begins at Gaziantep, which is a city famous with its baklava at east of Turkey. In 1949 the grandson of the family moves the business to Istanbul and opens the city’s first baklava shop. After moving several times, Güllüoğlu is now operating under the parking structure at Karaköy. A must-taste for sweet lovers.