Taksim Square, located in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, is one of the most important and famous places in the city. The region is a tourist attraction centre. The area has prime importance with its entertainment venues, major hotels, shopping points and cultural sites. It is in the Republican Period that it becomes a square entirely. In 2013, the traffic in the square was officially closed and pedestrianised. What is the history of Taksim Square, which has witnessed significant events, and which the people of Istanbul and local and foreign tourists love? Here is the impressive history of Taksim Square, the heart of Istanbul.
The name of Taksim Square comes from the Maksem made for the apportion of water. Maksem was built by the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud I between 1732-1833. The water resources in Taksim Maksem and Belgrad Forests were distributed via Levent-Mecidiyeköy transmission line. Taksim Maksem is now dry. However, it is still possible to see the fine cone stone structure at the entrance of Istiklal Street. On the facade of Maksem, “We give life to everything with water” is written.
In the pre-republic period, Taksim Square was the intersection of Sıraselviler Street and Istiklal Street; It is known as the road junction next to Talimhane Square and Taksim Barracks. In the 1870s, military structures and state buildings in the region made the militarist and statist topography of Taksim clear. This situation created a contrast for the Levantines and non-Muslims of the period. Therefore, the Armenian cemetery moved to the Şişli area, and there were such changes made in this direction.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the courtyard of the barracks was used as a football field as a part of the Lütfi Kırdar Construction Plan, and the buildings were evacuated around 1939. Gezi Park was built instead of the barracks.
Some parts of the Ayaspaşa Cemetery was eliminated during the Ottoman Period. In the 1920s the cemetery was removed entirely. In these years, the flats extending to Gümüşsuyu Military Hospital started to be built. At the same time, the building that created for the foreign manager of the Electricity Authority was demolished and replaced by the Atatürk Cultural Center.
There have been many everlasting changes in Taksim Square over the years. But the most crucial step of this region to be square is Republic Monument. The reason for this is that the statue is surrounded by buildings and the monument gives its personality. This area is a road junction before the Republic Monument, an open and hollow space in the countryside. This monument was built by Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica. The memorial was placed in 1928 and lasted for 2.5 years. One side of the monument symbolises the Turkish Republic; the other hand symbolises the War of Independence. When we look at all these processes, the removal of the Taksim Barracks, the construction of Taksim Gezi Park, the repositioning of the Republic Monument, the removal of the Crystal Club, the opening of Tarlabaşı Street, and the construction of the AKM have led to the determination of the shape and size of the square.