Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi Stadium: Galatasaray

Huzur Mh., Türk Telekom Arena Stadyumu, 34396 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Turkey

When Manchester United travelled to play Galatasaray in the Champions League in 1993, they arrived to be greeted by a number of banners, the most famous of which declared ‘Welcome To Hell’. That is the image that many English fans have of the Turkish club’s stadium, which is often vociferous in its support of the home team and violently opposed to the idea of the away team doing well. It is, to coin a phrase, famous for its intimidating atmosphere. Of course, the Nef Stadium wasn’t the venue United had to travel to, given that it was only opened in 2011, called the Turk Telekom Stadium from that year until 2021.

Not that any of that means it’s all that much less intimidating for visiting supporters, of course. Galatasaray might not be the same force that they were in the past, but they are still good enough to mean that few teams are excited about drawing them in the Champions League or Europa League. Indeed, they are the most successful team in Turkey and are one of just three sides that has taken part in the Süper Lig every season since its creation in 1959. In 2000 they became the only Turkish club to date to win a major UEFA trophy when they lifted both the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.


Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi Stadium Stats
Year Opened2011
Average Attendance41,076
Record Attendance52,044 (Galatasaray v Real Madrid (09/04/2013))
Pitch Size105 x 68 (7140)
Former NameTürk Telekom Arena, Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi
OwnerGalatasaray SK
SponsorTürk Telekom
Clubs HostedGalatasaray SK, Turkish National Team
First FixtureGalatasaray v Ajax (2011)
Galatasaray Stats
Year Founded1905
NicknameSarı-Kırmızılılar (The Yellow-Reds), Aslanlar (The Lions), Avrupa Fatihi (Conqueror of Europe), Gala
Club MascotLeon Galatasaray
RivalsBeşiktaş and Fenerbahçe
Previous StadiumsPapazın Çayırı, Şeref Stadi, Dolmabahçe Stadi, Ali Sami Yen Stadium
KitRed & Orange (Home) / Black & Red/Orange Stripe (Away) / White (Third)
Training GroundFlorya Metin Oktay Facilities
Shirt SponsorSiXT
Team OwnerGalatasaray S.K.
Record GoalscorerMetin Oktay (497)
Record AppearancesTurgay Şeren (631)

Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi Stadium Photos

Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi Stadium Seating Plan & Where to Sit

Galatasaray - Fenerbahçe Intercontinental Derby 3-1 - LardoBalsamico [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As with most modern arenas, the Nef Stadium is built in a bowl style of continuous seating. There are three tiers throughout, apart from in the Kuzey Tribünü behind the northern goal that has four tiers. The two stand that run along the side of the pitch, the Bati and the Dogu, contain the VIP seating areas. The Güney Tribünü stands opposite the Kuzey behind the southern goal.

Galatasaray Ticket Prices

If you’re hoping to go and watch Galatasaray play then you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got a Passolig card, which can be pre-paid for in advance by visiting the company’s website. Prices differ depending on the competition you’ll be watching and the level of opposition, but you can expect to pay around 100 Turkish lira for a ‘cheap’ ticket and in the region of 650 lira for a more expensive one. The tickets are categorised based on where in the ground they’re located.

How To Get Galatasaray Tickets

The best place to start is by heading online. Unless the match is in the Champions League or against one of the club’s most fierce rivals the chances of the stadium selling out are slim, so you can also buy tickets at the stadium. You’ll still need a Passolig card, though.

Where to Buy

Getting To Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi Stadium

Train - Getting a train from London to Istanbul would take about 4 days, so you’re probably getting to Turkey by some other means. Once you’re there, though, the train is a convenient way to make it to the ground. Seyrantepe is the closest stop and is on metro line 2.

Bus - There are a number of buses that stop close to the stadium, including bus numbers 41Y, 47L and D3.

Car - E80 is the main road that runs closest to the ground, so that’s the one that you’ll want to get on before looking for signposts.

By Air - There are two airports that serve Istanbul: Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gokcen Airport. The latter is the closest geographically, but the former has a direct train into the centre of the city, making it the more favourable for those of you flying in to watch a football match.

Taxi - A taxi from Taksim square to the stadium will cost you around 50 Turkish lira and take about half an hour to complete its journey.

Parking Near Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi Stadium

There is some parking close to the Nef Stadium, but unless you’re a confident driver you’re probably best avoiding driving there and getting to the ground by some other means.

Useful Resources

Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi Stadium Hotels

The And Hotel - £50+

Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. No:18, 34110 Fatih / Sultanahmet/Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The hotel offers just over 30 rooms, so you can expect a slightly more personal experience than some of the larger chain venues offered by Istanbul. It’s around 14 miles from the stadium but just a 5 minute walk from the beach, so it’s a perfect way to enjoy a holiday whilst you’re out to watch a match. That feeling is added to by the outdoor pool for when the weather is good. You can grab a bite to eat and a drink in the hotel’s restaurant and bar, to say nothing of get to down to some work in one of the two meeting rooms. There’s free Wi-Fi and a buffet breakfast included in the cost of your stay, plus a terrace area to sit out on and relax. More details.

Mood Hotel Istanbul - £60+

Eski Buyukdere Cad. Yamac Sok. No.13, 4.Levent, 34330
The Mood Hotel is one of the larger venues mentioned a minute ago, offering more than 100 guest rooms. It also has an indoor pool rather than an outdoor one, but that just means that you can use it whatever the weather. The pool is part of the 24-hour fitness centre. There’s a restaurant and bar on site, so you can eat and drink to your heart’s content. It’s not one of the closest hotels to the ground but it is close to some of the city’s tourist attractions such as the Istanbul Sapphire, so is probably a good choice for those of you hoping to do a bit of sightseeing. More details.

Hilton Istanbul Maslak - £90+

Buyukdere Cd. No: 233, Sariyer, 34398
Sometimes staying in a chain hotel is the best thing to do when you’re in a foreign city as you know the sort of service and standard that you can expect to encounter. Few brands offer the quality of Hilton, with the Istanbul Maslak promising art deco style and an indoor pool. There are more than 280 rooms in the building that also plays host to a restaurant and bar, meaning you don’t have to leave its confines if you don’t want to. There are spa services, free Wi-Fi in the reception and a business centre. When it comes to the football, the Nef Stadium is around a half an hour walk away. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi Stadium

The Junction Pub

Asmalı Mescit, Oteller Sk. No:1, 34430 (+90 533 308 60 61)
The menu available at The Junction Pub isn’t quite as ‘English’ as the pub’s name might suggest. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, with some delicious offerings available to you. You can wash them all down with some tasty cocktails, decent lagers and other drinking options. The venue is far more modern than you might think it would be, but that means that there are TV screens but they don’t dominate proceedings. It’s a lovely venue, but maybe not for the ‘lads, lads, lads’ football watching crew. It is perhaps more suitable for a family that wants to watch the football and grab a bite to eat.

U2 İstanbul İrish Pub

Şehit Muhtar, Bekar Sk. No:21, 34435 (+90 212 243 40 45)
This is a much more suitable venue for big groups, promising Irish music, live sport and a general feeling of being more rowdy than The Junction. It’s a lovely little place, serving Irish favourites like pints of Guinness and glasses of Jameson’s. The walls are adorned with football memorabilia such as Celtic scarves and Liverpool pendants, whilst the TVs will be showing live sport pretty much whenever there’s something worth watching on. As always, if you’re in a foreign city then an Irish pub is always a pretty safe bet for good craic.

James Joyce Irish Pub

Hüseyinağa, Balo Sk. No:26, 34435 (+90 212 244 79 73)
If you’re in the mood for an Irish pub but the U2 doesn’t take your fancy because you’ve never liked Bono then you might want to consider the James Joyce. For starters the place is a little bit bigger, so you won’t feel quite as cramped if it gets busy. There are decent food options, combining home favourites with local delicacies. Speaking of dead Irish writers, you can sup on tasty Irish offerings as well as local lagers and ales, plus all of the usual soft drinks. Not necessarily somewhere you should head if you’re desperate to watch live sport, but a great atmosphere can be expected.


Having only opened its doors in 2011, it’s fair to say that the Nef Stadium’s facilities are amongst the best in Turkey.


The two sides of the ground that run along the pitch are the ones that contain the VIP areas, so if you’re hoping to watch the match in style then that’s where you’ll be heading.

Private Hire

If hiring part of the stadium is something that you’re interested in then your best bet is to get in touch with the venue directly when you’re in Istanbul.

Stadium Tours & Museum

Tours of the stadium are available between Tuesday and Sunday and take you into the trophy room, the dressing rooms and other exciting areas that would otherwise be closed off to match going fans. There is also a museum on site that you can have a look around even if you don’t want to do the tour.

About Galatasaray

Galatasaray-Fenerbahçe match 1923 - See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Galatasaray Spor Kulübü, better known in English as Galatasaray Sports Club, was formed in 1905 by Ali Sami Yen and other students that were attending Galatasaray High School. There were discussions amongst them all about the name that should be given to the the new club, with both the Turkish words for victory and courage considered, before the name of the school itself was decided upon. At the time the club was formed there were no other Turkish football clubs, so the side joined the Istanbul League that was mostly made up of Greek and English teams. They won their first title at the end of the 1908-1908 campaign, kick-starting the success that would allow them to dominate Turkish football.

When the Turkish Süper Lig was formed in 1959, as the ürkiye Profesyonel 1. Ligi, Galatasaray was one of the founding clubs. The same is true of when the Turkish Cup began to be organised during the 1962-1963 season. Despite being the oldest and most successful club in Turkey, Galatasaray’s true golden period came towards the end of the 1990s. That was when their then-ground, Ali Sami Yen Stadı, was dubbed ‘hell’ by the home supporters and it helped them to win the UEFA Cup, the first competition organised by UEFA that was won by a Turkish team. Since 1992 the fans sing the last section of the song ‘I Will Survive’ by the Hermes House Band, swinging their scarves around at the same time.

Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi Stadium History

li Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi Türk Telekom Arena opening - Qwl [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s entirely reasonable to say that the Nef Stadium lacks the history of the Ali Sami Yen Stadı, given that it only opened its doors in 2011. Yet it’s the crowd that gives Galatasaray’s home its intimidating atmosphere, so in that way it’s no more pleasant to travel to from an away supporter’s point of view. One thing that is a bit nicer is the general facilities on offer, which are top-of-the-range. The official name of the venue is the Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi – Nef Stadyumu, being part of the Ali Sami Yen Sports Complex as it is. The ground was the first in the country to meet the UEFA requirements to be used as a venue for UEFA tournaments such as the European Championship.

Construction on the stadium began in 2007 and took four years to be completed, but when it was opened it was nominated for the Venue of the Year and New Venue awards at the Stadium Business Awards event. Türk Telekom bought the naming rights to the stadium for a decade after it opened, promising to pay around £10 million per year for the honour. As proof of the fact that the move to the new venue didn’t change much for Galatasaray, the club won the Süper Lig at the end of their first season at the Nef Stadium. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan turned up to open the stadium for the first time, with his appearance being marred by protests from spectators who weren’t pleased with his politics.

Future Developments

Arena Under Construction - Myviki [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Being such a modern stadium, there are no immediate plans for develop the Nef Stadium itself, though it’s more than possible that changes to the surrounding areas will be carried out. It’s also worth noting that small alterations are possible, such as in 2018 when the pitch was re-laid to improve its quality.

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