Club: Istanbul BBSK | Opening: 2002 | Capacity: 75,145 seats
History and description
Atatürk Olympic Stadium is the largest stadium of Turkey. It takes its name from Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, and is the home stadium of football club Istanbul BBSK.
Construction of Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadi began in 1999. The stadium was built to serve as the centrepiece of the 2008 Olympic Games, however the Turkish bid failed to get sufficient support. Subsequent bids to get the Euro 2012 or 2016 tournaments, during which the stadium was supposed to host the final, also failed.
Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadi officially opened on the 31st of July 2002 with a friendly match between Galatasaray and Greek side Olympiacos.
In 2005, the stadium hosted the 2005 Champions League final, in which Liverpool beat AC Milan on penalties after having drawn 3-3 in regular time.
One year later, in 2006, Istanbul BBSK made the stadium their permanent home. Earlier during the 2003-04 season Galatasaray had played their home matches at the stadium due to construction works performed at their Ali Sami Yen stadium. Beşiktaş will occasionally make use of the stadium during the 2013-14 season while their Inönü Stadi is getting rebuilt.
Atatürk Olympic Stadium is located on the north-western edge of the city of Istanbul at more than 20 kilometres from the city centre. It lies adjacent to the O-3 motorway.
The stadium is not on Istanbul’s metro system, not particularly easy to reach by public transport, and the easiest way to get there is therefore taking a taxi. Alternatively, bus line 146 T stops reasonably close to the stadium. This line can be taken slightly west of the city centre at metro station Aksaray or train station Yenikapi.
Eat, drink, and sleep
Atatürk Olympic Stadium is located far out of central Istanbul in a semi-urban area alongside a motorway. There is not much around, so do your eating and drinking in Istanbul’s city centre.
There are neither any hotels near the stadium, but if you come just for the match and have no interest in sightseeing Istanbul, then getting a hotel along the motorway between the airport and the stadium might be convenient. There is a Holiday Inn not too far from the stadium and a Courtyard by Marriott a little further away. Taxis will furthermore be cheaper and quicker from here than from the centre.
Relevant Internet links
Istanbulbbsk.org – Official website of Istanbul BBSK.
Ataturkolimpiyatstadi.net – Official website of Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadi.
Istanbul.com – Istanbul city guide.
IETT.gov.tr – Istanbul public transport information and route planner.