Istanbul Taksim Square
Taksim Square, at the northeastern end of İstiklal Caddesi in Beyoğlu (map), is the heart of modern Istanbul, laid out in the late 1800s near a taksim (branching-point) in the city's water distribution system. You can still see the Ottoman taksim at the beginning of İstiklal Caddesi.
The Independence Monument (İstiklal Anıtı) in the circle at the southern end of the square commemorates the Turkish Republic's founder, Kemal Atatürk, in both his roles, as military commander-in-chief and as statesman.
The open space to the east was once a reservoir. Facing the square at its northern end is the large Atatürk Cultural Center.
Taksim Gezi Park, to the north, is what replaced a huge Ottoman artillery barracks, demolished in 1940. On May 28, 2013, a small group of people opposed to the removal of the park's trees and commercial development of one of Istanbul's very few open green space, set up camp in the park to protest.