Nişantaşı is a quarter of Istanbul, Turkey, comprising neighbourhoods like Teşvikiye, Osmanbey, Maçka and Pangaltı. It includes the stores of world famous brands and has many popular cafés, pubs, restaurants and night clubs. It is a part of the Şişli district. Abdi İpekçi Avenue, 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 Sultan Abdülmecid I in the middle of the 19th century. He erected two obelisks to define the beginning point and the ending point 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 here (hence the name Teşvikiye which means Encouragement in Ottoman Turkish).
The word Nişantaşı literally means Aiming Stone (target stone) in Turkish. Before the land had been granted for public use, it was an area where Ottoman soldiers used to shoot at target stones for improving their aiming skills. Some of these target 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.
Following the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, many Turks from Thessaloniki (Selânik, which was an Ottoman metropolis until 1912) settled in the Nişantaşı district of Istanbul; including the family of the famous Turkish poet Nazım Hikmet. Apart from the Turks, the district also had sizeable Greek, Jewish, Armenian and Levantine communities.
There is also a historical building which built by Italians during Istanbul's occupation, this building is using as a technical highschool. There are three public primary schools in Nisantasi avenue, (Nilufer Hatun Primary School, Sait Ciftci Primary School and Macka Primary School) and two public highscools (Rustu Uzel Highschool, Nuri Akin Highschool). Nisantasi also includes one of the good schools in Turkey. Feyziye Mektepleri Vakfi Isik Okullari (Feyziye Schools Foundation Private Isik Schools) is a private school that has a kindergarten, primary school and highschool in their campus. The school founded in 1885 also Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk used to go this school (Semsi Efendi Primary School was the name of Isik Okullari when it was in Thessaloniki). Plus some faculites of Istanbul Universitesi and Marmara Universitesi occurs in this area.
Nişantaşı is famous for its many Art Nouveau apartment buildings and is home to several prominent figures of the Turkish jet-set, culture and art. Nobel laureate Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk is one of the local residents, and the quarter formed the background in several of his novels. It is a place where you can easily see famous people walking on the street any time during a day. In Nişantaşı you can have a cup of coffee at Armani Café or shop at the nearby Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Escada, Kenzo, Prada, Cartier, Hermes, Chanel, DKNY, Max Mara, Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bulgari, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Gianfranco Ferre, Tod's, Guiseppe Zanotti or any other famous boutique within walking distance. City's Nişantaşı, opened in 2008, is a Saks Fifth Avenue style shopping mall which aims at the high-end consumer group and is mostly dedicated to the famous fashion brands. People living in Nişantaşı are mostly wealthy and well-educated. Also, Nişantaşı has the largest community of foreign residents in Istanbul after Taksim and Cihangir.
Especially on Saturday nights Nişantaşı becomes crowded with people who come to the famous pubs and cafés of this district to spend some time. On Sundays the neighbourhood becomes less crowded and is mostly left to its residents.
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