Colonized for centuries by non-muslim minorities and foreign traders, the district of Beyoğlu (pronounced be-yoh-LU and formerly known as Pera), across the Golden Horn Strait from the historic center, has always been the cosmopolitan heart of Istanbul. At the turn of the 20th century, locals dressed to the nines would promenade alongside the grand embassy buildings and Parisian-style arcades of Istiklal Caddesi, its main avenue. After a period of negelct in the 1980's, Beyoğlu is now reclaiming status as Istanbul's favorite playground, thans to an influx of young Turks and international entrepeneurs. and while Starbuckization is taking its toll on Beyoğlu's famed pedestrian artery Istiklal, East and WEst and past and present still clash vividly on the backstreets: grungy boutiques, hipster clubs, and sleek lounges with glamorous Bosporus vistas sit cheek by jowl with tatty kebab dives and gritty meyhane (traditional drinking houses).
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.