Sogukcesme Street, Istanbul

Sogukcesme Street, Istanbul

Soğukçeşme Sokağı (“Street of the Cold Fountain”) is a small car-free cobblestone street running downhill between Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace. The street is named after a fountain at its end, near Gülhane Park, and is famous primarily for holding historic wooden houses of the Ottoman era. The two-, three-storey houses (four to ten rooms each) were restored (or rather totally rebuilt) in 1985-1986 to give an idea of what typical Istanbul streetscape was like at the turn of the 20th century, before the concrete came over.

Called "Ayasofya Konakları" (Hagia Sophia Mansions), nine of the houses are used as a hostel and are named after the fragrant flower shrubs planted in front of them, namely: "Yaseminli Ev" (Jasmine House), "Mor Salkımlı Ev" (Wisteria Sinensis House), "Hanımeli Ev" (Honeysuckle House), etc. The interior furnishings – beds, consoles, silk curtains, velvet armchairs and gilded mirrors – all feature the original style. Among the notable guests of the hostel, over the years, have been Queen Sofía of Spain, Roman Polanski (film director), Sam Neil (actor), Hilary Swank (actress), Ursula Anders (actress, one of the “Bond girls”), and others.

The street also happens to be the birthplace of Turkey's 6th president Fahri Sabit Korutürk (1903–1987). One of the houses here hosts a library with over 10,000 books on Istanbul. At the one end, towards Gülhane Park, there is a Byzantine cistern housing the cute Sarnıç Restaurant.

Overall, Soğukçeşme is well worth a look, as a break from the great confusion of a huge city, to get relaxed while savoring the calm of this lovely place. Also, whilst here, make sure to check out the Fountain of Sultan Ahmed III at the square in front of the outer gate of Topkapı Palace, a huge standalone structure featuring Ottoman rococo style, built in 1728.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Istanbul. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Sogukcesme Street on Map

Sight Name: Sogukcesme Street
Sight Location: Istanbul, Turkey (See walking tours in Istanbul)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Istanbul, Turkey

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