If you’re in Istanbul craving raki and mezzes at a cheerfully noisy meyhane (tavern-cum-restaurant), or you just want a few good travel pics, duck into Cicek Pasaji – the Istanbul Flower Passage.
Built in 1876, the pretty glass-covered arcade, found along Istanbul’s famous Istiklal Avenue, is filled with rows of restaurants, historic cafes and bars.
Yes, the Istanbul Flower Passage is touristy, but the atmosphere is fun. (Pssst – if you wander off into Nevizade Sokak, the narrow street behind, which is stuffed to the gills with more boisterous meyhanes, you’ll probably score a better meal for less money. But, for now, let’s return to the Istanbul Flower Passage.)
In earlier days, the Flower Passage housed shops and apartments.
After the Russian Revolution in 1917, poor but noble Russian women, including a Baroness, moved in and sold flowers here – hence its name.
The arcade was renovated in 1988 and the roof restored in 2005. Today the Flower Passage lures in tourists with its beautiful European-style architecture.
This last visit, we strolled the bustling pedestrian-only stretch of Istiklal Avenue (over one mile of shops – and great people watching!), and popped into the Istanbul Flower Passage again.
Worth it, don’t you think?