Istanbul, a city of 15 Million people on two continents, is one of the greatest football cities in the world. It hosts huge football clubs like Galatasaray SK, Fenerbahçe SK, Besiktas and a large number of fantastic small stadiums.
Fenerbahçe SK / Ülker Stadyumu Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Spor Kompleksi
The Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium (Known for sponsorship reasons as Ülker Stadyumu Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu Spor Kompleksi, or Ülker Stadium for short) is located in the Kaldiköy district of Istantbul. It is the traditional home venue of major Turkish multi-sport club Fenerbahçe SK. The stadium was inaugurated in 1908 and renovated between 1929 and 1932, 1965 and 1982, and 1999 and 2006. It is not particularly spectacular from the outside, but the stadium lives and breathes football with its steep stands that bring supporters close to the pitch. The ground on which the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium is built is a holy place in Turkish football. This is where professional football originates from and where all teams that played in the Istanbul Football League played their home matches until the Taksim Stadium was built. Even the bitter rivals Galatasaray and Beşiktaş played their first professional matches on this ground.
Nef Stadium (officially known as the Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi – Nef Stadyumu) is serving as the home ground of the Süper Lig club Galatasaray SK. It is located in the Seyrantepe quarter of the Sariyer district, on the European side of Istanbul. Nef Stadyumu is a relatively basic modern stadium and is situated far outside the centre. It looks nothing like the iconic former Ali Sami Yen Stadyumu that has unfortunately made space for luxury skyscrapers. Galatasaray left the neighbourhood Mecidiyeköy in 2011 and moved to a place next to the highway outside of the city which only has a large ultramodern shopping mall. Although the new stadium does not have as much charm as the former one, a visit to a match of Galatasaray in Nef Stadyumu is still worth the experience. On match days the centre of Istanbul is filled with singing Galatasaray fans hours before the kick-off. Nevizade, a narrow street full of bars and restaurants, is the home of Galatasaray. The former Taksim Stadium was located in Gezi Park. The stadium was used by all professional football clubs in Istanbul, including Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş. The ground was built in the courtyard of the former military barracks. Nowadays, it is an urban park and one of the few green spaces within the city.
Vodafone Park is s located in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul, Turkey. It is the home ground of Beşiktaş JK. The stadium was built on the site of Beşiktaş’s former home, BJK İnönü Stadium. Vodafone Park is one of the most beautifully located stadiums, in the neighbourhood of Beşiktaş, next to the Bosphorus, the Dolmabahçe Palace and near Taksim Square in Istanbul’s centre. The stadium was rebuilt in 2016. Since then, unfortunately, added a roof to the stadium which means that you do not have a magnificent view of the Bosphorus strait and the Asian part of Istanbul anymore. However, the addition of the roof made sure that the noise stays inside the stadium. From the outside, the stadium is just as spectacular. It looks like a colosseum with its gigantic pillars. Even the non-football lover can appreciate this beautiful piece of architecture. Vodafone Park is the home ground of the Turkish football club Beşiktaş, one of the country’s big three football clubs. Beşiktaş and the Çarşı fan club are traditionally left-wing and derive from the working class. The stadium is also built to be environmentally friendly and generates power from solar panels. They also use rainwater to sprinkle the pitch.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Stadium (also known as Kasımpaşa Stadium) is located in the Kasımpaşa neighbourhood of Istanbul. Situated on a hill surrounded by streets higher than the stadium it is a must-see for stadium lovers. On top of that, the ground is located in the city centre of Istanbul. The main reason why you should visit the stadium is its location. Hidden in the centre of Istanbul near the famous and bustling Istiklal shopping street. The stadium lies on a hill and from Refik Saydam Street you get a magnificent view of the home ground of Kasımpaşa. You will look over the green pitch with its eye-catching blue and white stands. In the background, you will see apartment blocks and the Golden Horn of Istanbul. The stadium is named after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He grew up in a poor family in Kasımpaşa. Football was his big passion and he dreamt about nothing else, but his father did not allow him to play football because it would not make the family any money. Erdoğan used to sneak out of the house to continue playing and even became a semi-professional footballer at local clubs Camialtispor and IETT.
Atatürk Olympic Stadium / VEFA Stadium / Fatih KaragümrükSK
The Atatürk Olympic Stadium is located in the western district of İkitelli. It is the largest-capacity stadium in the country with a capacity of 74,753. The stadium is named after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey. Its construction began in 1999 and was completed in 2002. It was originally built for Turkey’s failed bid for the 2008 Olympic Games that were ultimately awarded to Beijing, China. Nowadays, Atatürk Olympic Stadium is the home ground of the Turkish national football team and of the Turkish football club Fatih Karagümrük. In the past, Istanbul Başakşehir used the stadium as its home before it moved to the Fatih Terim Stadium. Galatasaray and Besiktas also had short stints in the Olympic stadium when their own grounds were being refurbished. The story of Fatih Karagümrük has gone a little bit under the radar. Back in 2012, the Turkish football club was still playing amateur football and not a single fan could have dreamt of what was to come. After having been promoted to the fourth tier, which is the lowest professional level in Turkey, in 2012, the club went on to play two seasons at this level before being promoted to the third tier. They continued to play in that league until 2019, and then the unimaginable happened. What followed were two successive promotions and in 2020 the club suddenly played in Turkey’s highest division. They went from amateurs to the highest division in a space of eight years. Ever since their promotion to the highest tier of Turkish football, the club has been playing their home games in the Atatürk Olympic Stadium because their ground does not meet the criteria of the league. The Olympic stadium is a bit too big for Fatih Karagümrük, but when they play against top sides like Fenerbahce, Galatasaray or Besiktas the stadium can become quite full of away fans.
Fatih Karagümrük used to play its home matches in Vefa Stadı, also known as the Karagümrük Stadyumu. It is a beautiful stadium surrounded by apartment blocks which have been built on top of a cliff. Vefa Stadı is located near the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in the Fatih district, one of Istanbul’s most historic and popular neighbourhoods.
Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadium / İstanbul Başakşehir F.K.
The Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadium is located in the Başakşehir district of Istanbul. The stadium is named in honour of Turkish footballer and manager Fatih Terim. Istanbul Fatih Terim Stadium was built to provide Istanbul Basaksehir with a new and modern home. The stadium opened on 26 July 2014 following 16 months of construction. the club had played at the much-too-large Ataturk Olympic Stadium. Istanbul Başakşehir, a football club owned by people who have links to the political party of Erdoğan.
Esenyurt Necmi Kadıoğlu Stadium is located in Esenyurt district in Istanbul. It was named after Necmi Kadıoğlu, who served as the district mayor of Esenyurt from 2004 until 2017. It is the home ground of Istanbulspor.
Yusuf Ziya Öniş Stadium is located in Sarıyer district of Istanbul. Sarıyer plays home matches in the stadium located in the central district. The stadium was named after Yusuf Ziya Öniş, one of the founders of Sarıyer Sports Club and one of the first general secretaries of the Turkish Football Federation
Eyüp Stadium / Eyüpspor
Eyüp Stadium is the home of Eyüspor and is located in the Eyüp district of Istanbul. The stadium has a capacity of 2,500.