Dating back to the 15th century, Istanbul’s Galatasaray is the most prestigious school in the country. Also a boarding school which hosts high-performing male and students from across the country, Galatasaray High School is modeled on the French Lycee model, with the French and Turkish-based curricula taught in both languages. Students also learn English and Italian as second languages while they’re here.
An imperial palace school until the 1830s, when the Ottoman Empire’s old establishment was abolished by Mahmut II, doctors and academics, artists and poets have all graduated from here...as have soccer players. You may recognize the name Galatasaray as the Istanbul soccer team that won the 2000 UEFA Cup. Yep, that renowned team first started out as the high school soccer club.
Galatasaray High School’s main square is a popular meeting point because it’s in the middle of the elegant Istiklal Avenue — one of the city’s main shopping boulevards which sees up nearly 3 million people on Saturdays and Sundays who come to its stores, cafes, restaurants, and theaters. Getting here is fun — just hop on the Nostalgic Istiklal Caddesi tram until you reach the Galatasaray stop. The high school is easy to spot — halfway between Taksim Square and Tünel Square, it’s a bright yellow building flanked by huge wrought iron and gilt gates.
Taksim-Tünel Nostalgia Tramway, also known as the T5 line, runs every 10 to 20 minutes from 7am to 8pm and costs TL 1.75 per journey.