Taksim Square, at the northeastern end of İstiklal Caddesi in Beyoğlu (map), is the heart of modernIstanbul, laid out in the late 1800s near a taksim (branching-point) in the city's water distribution system. You can still see the Ottoman taksim at the beginning ofİstiklal Caddesi.
The Independence Monument (İstiklal Anıtı) in the circle at the southern end of the square commemorates the Turkish Republic's founder, Kemal Atatürk, in both his roles, as military commander-in-chief and as statesman.
The open space to the east was once a reservoir. Facing the square at its northern end is the large Atatürk Cultural Center.