At that time we didn’t know much about where do expats live in Istanbul, so we decided to go get a feel of this neighborhood before reserving a flat on Airbnb. And to be honest, it was the right decision to make. We were not impressed with the Kasimpasa neighborhood at all. More than that, some streets looked totally sketchy and even scary. Some houses were falling apart like they were bombed or something. And one of our friends (locals) later told us that Kasimpasa is an area where also many scammers and thieves live.
Turkish people used to associate this area primarily with President Erdogan who was growing up on its streets. These days they associate it with migrants from disadvantaged countries, refugees, and pickpockets. Kasimpasa neighborhood is close to the Galata Tower and Istiklal street. It’s easy to walk in there if you don’t know your whereabouts. Kuştepe Photo taken from gazetemizmir. com Kuştepe is another dangerous area in Istanbul which is home to drug dealers, beggars, and poor refugees from Eastern Turkey.
On many occasions there were people who tried selling us something, following us or grabbing a hand. During other moments, some men could make stupid comments (in Russian or English) that didn’t make any sense or shout something our way. If you are visiting Istanbul on a package tour or with the goal of buying in bulk from the market, then I guess staying in Laleli or Aksaray is okay. For any other reason, it’s better to choose another neighborhood. Sultanbeyli Few tourists travel this far as the area is located on the outskirts of the Asian side of Istanbul.
It is better for tourists not to go there. Esenyurt I didn’t know anything about this part of Istanbul until my friend told me she was moving from there because she didn’t feel safe. Esenyurt, as the previous neighborhood on this list, is not really a place where tourists go. It’s mainly known among people who look for a long-term apartment in Istanbul. If you ask locals, they’ll tell that Esenyurt is a residential area with low housing prices which is popular among expats. Maybe, I personally haven’t met any expat who was living there.
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But the driver told me that people actually live behind those walls and advised not to try to visit because it is very dangerous, especially for the woman. So if you are in the Taksim area, remember there are a lot of dangerous areas and streets around. Know where to go and what to avoid! I would like to start with the Dolapdere neighborhood since it was the first dangerous place in Istanbul we got to see. Dolapdere, located within walking distance from Taksim square and Istiklal street, is one of the poorest Istanbul areas.
” After dropping us off, he disappeared in the blink of an eye. My friend’s apartment, by the way, was a bit outside the dangerous part of Kustepe and closer to Bomonti, so it wasn’t all that bad. But she moved out earlier. Laleli-Aksaray While Laleli and Aksaray are not particularly dangerous, they are in my opinion the least comfortable neighborhoods in Istanbul. Also, they are not really safe for solo female travelers, particularly women. For the most part, both of these neighborhoods are frequented by Eastern Europeans who come here to shop in local markets, selling leather and fur products. However, besides the markets, Laleli is famous for prostitutes and Aksaray is known for being home to a large conservative population that lives by old traditions, is very religious, and dresses in a very conservative way.
Then illegal immigrants from the Balkans followed by Romani people settled there and the authorities built orphanages and homes for the elderly. Since the last century and until this day this is considered to be one of the most dangerous parts of Istanbul. It is a disadvantaged place with very poor infrastructure and chaotically built buildings. The last time I was in the area with a friend, we learned from the news that the police uncovered a den with weapons on one of the streets. The whole thing was accompanied by the presence of a police tank and a helicopter. And a week before that, there was a shooting on another street and one local guy died which, however, did not surprise anyone there. Gaziosmanpaşa is located next to the historic center, so many people can be curious about this neighborhood and want to go explore.
But some people like us who are looking for an apartment for the long-term can find their way there. We also met some foreigners who have been to the Sultanbeyli neighborhood and in the end, they were very unhappy about that trip. At first glance, once you arrive, the place seems to be calm and peaceful although there is nothing to do in the area. However, with the advent of dusk refugees from African countries and illegal guests from Bangladesh take to the streets. According to the police, there are a lot of dysfunctional illegal immigrants in Sultanbeyli and this neighborhood is among the most unsafe areas in Istanbul.
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In Aksaray you will see many women wear hijabs, a lot of men dress like imams (Muslim priests) and wear turbans with thobes or robes. If you ever get to visit this area, dress as modestly as possible. Otherwise, you risk at least getting comments or into an argument. If you come to Laleli for shopping, do it only during the day. After seven, the area becomes dangerous. I visited both of these Istanbul neighborhoods during the day once together with Mark and to be honest, both of us felt very uncomfortable.
As a matter of fact, this neighborhood is part of the Şişli district that many foreigners take as one cool place where to live in Istanbul. Don’t confuse. Şişli district consists of many neighborhoods and Kuştepe is just one of them where you definitely don’t want to live and even visit. If you type ‘Kustepe’ on the map, you’ll see a small stretch that is pretty easy to walk around. Once together with a friend who found an apartment on Airbnb in the Kuştepe area we were getting a lift and our taxi driver, with a face full of horror, asked: “Where did I get? Even the police don’t bother to come here.
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