Gay Cruising in
other big cities, cruising areas and especially parks are where gay
people should be very careful and selective with the people
they may meet. These places are usually discovered by some
bad guys and pick-pockets who are always around for robbing
gay men rather than having sex with them. Especially be
careful if the person you meet tries to take you to isolated
places for sex. In such cases make sure there are no other
people following you. This is a common trick to rob gay men
in cruising areas. These guys do not walk together. Once one
of them convinces his victim, the others would follow them
from a distance. They may pretend to be police or
sometimes be very direct. We recommend you not to carry your
valuable things on you when you go to cruising places, just
read this page for general safety warnings.
Areas in Istanbul
Taksim Park gets cruisy
after dark. Be selective with the people you meet
It is the park at the upper part of Taksim Mc Donald's, near
Taksim Square. The part of the park closer to the sea-side
is more cruisy especially in the evenings. It is busier on
Sundays during the day and on Saturday evenings. Actually,
it is not recommended to foreign visitors and new-comers for
"I have been first taken in the park below Taksim Square
near Ritz Carlton Hotel by an attractive man who approached
me in Taksim Square and then when we were in the park I've
been attacked by him and other 2 men hiding among bushes and
stolen my money, mobile, watch, credit cards and driving
license. My identity card was destroyed. Terrible
experience." (Posted by Carlo from Italy on 08/09/2009
"Guys be very careful or just don't cruise there. I've
been attacked just in the same way Carlo said : bring me in
another "gay park" and one other guy held my hands while the
first took me wallet and phone (but not my expensive jacket
...). If someone is too direct he must have bad intentions
as they re very discrete." (Posted on 09/11/2009)
People sitting on the fences around the monument at the very center of the
square may be interested in meeting gay people, but remember
it is also a gathering place for some pick pockets as well
as female, transvestite and even male prostitutes.
"I was there and looking to the Monument and somebody
finger me and we enjoyed the night together." (Posted by
Graham/UK on 09/07/2009)
"Once I found one really great guy- we went to another
park- dark place, and he wanted money from me- when I didn't
give it to him, he attacked me " (Posted by Paul on 01
Istiklal Avenue, Beyoglu
Two-kilometer long pedestrian street starting from Taksim
Square, winding slightly to the left in Galatasaray
district and ending in Tunel (the quarter named after the
entrance of mini historical metro). This street is always busy with people
which also connects
Taksim square to the most of the gay venues located on back-streets
around it, and you can see many gay and
related people along the way. Of course, it is not a place
to go for cruising
especially. While you walk along the
you can use eye-contact if you keep your gaydars open. But
make sure the person you meet is not involved in scam-bar
business. If someone is too direct and friendly all of a
sudden, and this conversation seems to be ending in visiting
a bar or club he recommends, get rid of him immediately.
Sultanahmet, also known as
the old city by tourists is the
most famous tourism district of Istanbul, housing the
world-wide historical remnants such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi
Palace and the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii). The parks in Sultanahmet are
comparatively safer, but there is no such a very visible gay
scene. The small park behind the Sultanahmet tramcar station and
the corner of the park behind the light show seats of Blue
mosque (the upper part of
Arasta Bazaar's entrance) can be more suitable for cruising in the
evenings. There is no cruising atmosphere at day time in any
of the parks in Sultanahmet.
Sarayburnu (Seraglio Point) is coastal
area behind Topkapi Palace with respect to Sultanahmet. It
is a waterfront by the coastal road, covered with big rocks
and concrete waterfront. There is no visible gay scene here
also. There are single people or groups of guys drinking and
young ghetto boys swimming and lying on the rocks in summer
time. Some local gay men hang out here frequently in Summer.
If your hotel is in Sultanahmet, you can try this place for
a couple of hours in early evenings, at least to get a
little sun tan. Do not stay long after dark. When you come
from Sultanahmet walk into Gulhane Park's main gate from the
tramcar street, and get out from the gate at the other end
of the park. You will be right there.
Kadikoy is the major residential district on the Asian part
of Istanbul. The coastal area, the parks near Kadikoy-Besiktas Iskelesi
(the older ferry pier in Kadikoy),
the breakwater (the one
with light house) are well-known gay cruising areas. These places
usually get cruisy in the evening. There is no obvious gay
atmosphere at day time. In summer time the breakwater can be more
busy during the day, especially on weekends, when you can see
people sitting on the breakwater's wall, lying on the rocks,
fishing or drinking beer. You can get to Kadikoy from
Eminonu, Kabatas and Karakoy ports by ferryboats, journey
lasting about 20-30 minutes.
For ferryboat schedules see:
You can see the
bridge connecting Europe and Asia behind Ortakoy Mosque.
Once a small fishing town, Ortakoy has
become popular in recent years with bars, restaurants and
cafe-shops creating a summer-town atmosphere within the
city. It is closer to major Besiktas district along the
Bosporus Straight. The coastal area around the Ortakoy
Mosque is very busy and there's a vibrant night life in
summer time, especially busy during the day on Sundays.
10-15 minute ride away from Taksim with a taxi but it may
take much longer during rush hours. You can also use public
buses which follows the coastal route from Eminonu, Karakoy
and Taksim heading to Sariyer, Bebek districts. Do not
expect an obvious gay scene here also, but if you have extra
time you can visit Ortakoy just for fun at least for an
The park at Sarachane quarter of Fatih district, offially
named as Fatih Anit Park. It is rather
closer to Aksaray, in the surroundings of administrative building
of Istanbul Municipality (Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi).
(see on Google map) Actually there are many parks on both side of the
street. The cruising is focused at the park around the ruins
Roman church's (Polyeuktos). This is the most risky cruising
place. Be careful with people you meet here and make sure
not to carry your valuable things with you, because there
are always some pick-pockets around. If you are coming from
Taksim, you need to stop at Sarachane bus-stop (at the
underpass), right before Aksaray and walk up the steps.
Click here for photo stream of Fatih Park and its
vicinity by Pink Turkey Facebook group.
Click here to
send your feedbacks about these places
Cruising Cinemas & Blue
There are no gay exclusive cinemas/movie
theaters in Istanbul, some heterosexual porno/erotic movie
cinemas are frequently visited by gay men. Because of
Turkey's bisexual culture it's possible to have at least
some limited action in most of such places. In several of
these venues, gays used to be welcomed. We say "used to be"
because most of these cinemas have been closed down for
various reasons since 2007.
General information about (now mostly closed) cinemas.
Although not very frequent, beware of pick pockets when you
get in close-contact with anyone. Typically these venues are
dark and depressive (which might be exciting for some
people) and not very clean. There are regulars of each
cinema easily recognizable from their relaxed attitudes and
try not to get in conflict with them, and "have some
respect" if you do not want no fight. Otherwise the tourists
are very welcomed by Turkish people. The main focus of the
cinema-lovers are to seduce "straight" guys who happen to go
in by chance (!), when they are at the peak of their horny
mood, but versatile gay men are also always around.
In addition to the entrance fee, you are expected to pay
extra tip to the staff inside when you enter - something
like 1 Lira- for the sake of showing your seat even if they
don't do it at all sometimes. Also you pay another 1 lira
for using the WC inside the cinemas. This is a ritual for
almost all cinemas in Turkey, and please do not be funny and
make a fuss about it assuming they are are ripping you off
just because you are a tourist. You will see all locals pay
this. It is heard very rarely that they may ask you to pay
more than regular price on entrance. To avoid this check the
price which is stated clearly on a sign-board somewhere at
cashier's desk. The fee is paid on entree as you can guess.
Here are the cinemas most of which are closed but we still
prefer to list them which may still be listed on some guide
books. At least you will not be surprised if you try to find
them, no matter.
Ruya Sinemasi (Closed down in 2009)
Istiklal Caddesi No:128, Taksim-Beyoglu, Istanbul
This is a regular movie theater now, re-named Yeni
Ruya Sinemasi (New Ruya Cinema)
Gunes Sinemasi (Closed down in 2008)
Cakiraga Mahallesi, Kurkcubasi Kulhani Sokak, No:5, Aksaray,
Aydin Sinemasi (Closed down in 2008)
Millet Caddesi, Findikzade, Aksaray, Istanbul.
Dilbazlar Sinemasi (12:00-21:00)
Hasnun Galip Sokak
Istiklal Cad, Beyoglu. On the first left side street from
Sadri Alisik Street.
Its name has been changed as Hisar Sinemasi now.
Still open as an erotic blue movie but everything is under control. It was not the
popular one anyway and there is nothing so exciting here.
But since there is nowhere else left, the cinema-lovers can
still try. You need to be discrete. The staff is strict. If
you are a nostalgic (!) person, ancient erotic movies are
Visitor feedbacks about gay cinemas in Istanbul:
"Appears to be that all cinemas showing blue-movies in
Istanbul and listed on your website have been closed down by
the authorities. Any info on this issue?" Message Date:
"all blue cinemas in Istanbul is closed....that's it"
Message Date: 27/01/2009
"They are closed. I dont know the reason but it seems
that in Istanbul the authorities they don't like gays in such
places. Just put out from your guide this cinemas cause they
don't exist anymore... " Message Date: 08/04/2009
"All cinemas been closed in Istanbul I was there last
week mid June 2009 however there is two still open in the
outskirts the city" Message Date: 14/06/2009
"I learned that only the small one (Dilbazlar) is still
open, this happened in April this year. Any other place to
go? Thank you and best wishes" Message Date: October 06,
Click here to
send your feedbacks about these places
Cruising Venues in
There are several straight venues around Taksim square which
function as meeting places for gay men in the evenings, usually before going to
night clubs. They are mostly
self-service cafe-restaurants and the managers/staff are not
very gay-friendly in real meaning. Probably because of
their location, especially some gay-men living in the
neighborhood would always be around. There will also be
many rent boys and bad hustlers in and around these venues
and it is recommended to be selective with the people you may encounter.
These venues are located around Taksim Square or along the
Istiklal street and easy
to find. The major ones are Taksim Mc Donald's, Haci Baba (both next to Taksim Ms
Donald's) Taksim Burger King's (facing Taksim square at the
entrance of Istiklal) and less visibly Simit Sarayi (across
the street from Mc Donald's), Star Bucks, Gloria Jeans
(along the Istiklal)
For more details about these venues see
gay coffee bars page...
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