New Year's Eve decorations in Nişantaşı
Location of Şişli in Istanbul
|Time zone||GMT +2|
|Area code(s)||(+90) 212|
Nişantaşı is a quarter of the Şişli district on the European side of Istanbul, Turkey. It comprises neighbourhoods like Teşvikiye, Maçka, Osmanbey and Pangaltı. A popular shopping and residential district, it is one of Istanbul's most exclusive neighbourhoods. The area includes fashion shops, department stores, cafés, pubs, restaurants and night clubs. Abdi İpekçi Street, Turkey's most expensive shopping street in terms of lease prices, stretches from the neighbourhoods of Maçka and Teşvikiye to the center of Nişantaşı.
Nişantaşı was settled by Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid I in the middle of the 19th century. He erected two obelisks to define the beginning and ending points of the quarter. He ordered the construction of the Neo-Classical style Teşvikiye Police Station and the Neo-Baroque style Teşvikiye Mosque for a proper district, encouraging the citizens of Istanbul to settle in the area (hence the name Teşvikiye which means Encouragement in Ottoman Turkish).
The word Nişantaşı literally means "Aiming Stone" in Turkish. Aiming stones were erected in the Ottoman period to mark the archery range records of the Ottoman archers and sultans. Some of these aiming stones, which are shaped like small obelisks and have Ottoman Turkish inscriptions on them, are still found on the pavements of Nişantaşı as monuments from the past. The inscriptions give information about the date, the shooter and the distance the arrow was thrown.
Following the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, many Turks from Macedonia, especially Thessaloniki (Selânik, which was an Ottoman metropolis until 1912) settled in the Nişantaşı quarter of Istanbul; including the family of the famous Turkish poet Nâzım Hikmet. Apart from the Turks, the quarter also had sizeable Greek, Jewish, Armenian and Levantine communities.
The building of Maçka Technical High School (Maçka Akif Tuncel Teknik ve Endüstri Meslek Lisesi) was originally constructed by the Italians to become their country's new embassy in Istanbul. However, when Ankara became Turkey's new capital in 1923, the building was donated to the Turkish Republic and has been used as a school ever since. There are three public primary schools on Nişantaşı Avenue (Nilüfer Hatun Primary School, Sait Çiftçi Primary School, and Maçka Primary School) and two public high schools (Rüştü Uzel High School, Nuri Akın High School.) Nişantaşı also includes the prestigious Feyziye Mektepleri Vakfı Işık Okulları (Feyziye Schools Foundation Işık Private Schools) which is a private school that has a kindergarten, primary school and high school in its campus. The school was established in 1885 as the Şemsi Efendi Primary School in the Ottoman city of Selânik (Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, was a student of the Şemsi Efendi Primary School.) A number of the faculty buildings of the Istanbul University and Marmara University are also located in this area.
Nişantaşı today is an elite shopping district and an affluent, secular residential area which is home to many creative types. The quarter forms the background to several novels by Nobel laureate Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, who is a local resident. Nişantaşı has the largest community of foreign residents in Istanbul after Taksim and Cihangir.
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