Taksim in Turkish means “distribution” and the low stone reservoir on the south side is the building from which Taksim Square takes its name. The reservoir was constructed in 1732 to distribute water brought from the Belgrade Forest by aqueduct. Steps on the north side of the square above the main bus terminal lead up to the pleasant Taksim Parkı, with its bench-lined paths and open-air tea gardens.
The Atatürk Cultural Centre is to the east of the square and is one of the leading venues for İstanbul’s various international festivals. It is also home to the State Opera and Ballet, the Symphony Orchestra and the State Theatre Company, but was closed for restoration at the time of writing.