Atatürk Olympic Stadium: Turkey

Ziya Gökalp Mah., Olimpiyat Stadı Yolu No:1, Istanbul, Başakşehir, 34490, Turkey
Atatürk Olympic Stadium From The Air

The Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadı, better known as the Atatürk Stadium, is located in the İkitelli district of Istanbul. It is the largest stadium in Turkey in terms of capacity and is the country’s premier football ground. Named in honour of the Turkish field marshal Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the stadium boasts a capacity of 76,761 and was granted the status of being a 5-star sporting complex by UEFA in 2004.

That meant that the ground could be used for major UEFA events, taking on the honour of being the host venue for the Champions League final in 2005. That would have been impressive enough in and of itself, but when Liverpool came back from 3-0 down against AC Milan to lift the title in a match considered to be the greatest ever in the competition’s history, the Atatürk found its place cemented in European Cup history.

Stats

Atatürk Olympic Stadium Stats
Year Opened2002
Capacity76,761
Record Attendance79,414 (Galatasaray v Olympiacos (2002))
Pitch Size105 x 68 (7140)
Clubs HostedTurkey national football team, Galatasaray , İstanbul Başakşehir, Kasımpaşa, Beşiktaş
First FixtureUnknown

Atatürk Olympic Stadium Photos

Atatürk Olympic Stadium Seating Plan & Where to Sit

Валерий Дед [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Atatürk Stadium is built in a bowl style, with the lower section offering a tier of uninterrupted seating.

The North and South Tribunes stand at either end of the pitch and behind the goals, whilst the West and East Tribunes essentially run alongside the edges of the pitch. These side Tribunes also boast additional tiers, mainly comprising of hospitality section. There are two in the West Tribune and one in the East Tribune.

Getting To Atatürk Olympic Stadium

Train - Let’s be honest, given a train journey from London to Istanbul would take you via France, Germany, Hungary and Romania, it’s unlikely that that’s the option you’ll plump for when looking at travel. Once you’ve reached the city, however, you might want to use the Metro to find the ground and if that’s the case then you’ll be wanting to head to Olimpiyat Parki. That’s on the blue M3 line, which can be reached by taking the M1b line from the European side of the city.

Bus - Clubs that are involved in major European matches in the Turkish city often arrange buses for their supporters in conjunction with the Turkish authorities. This is the safest way to travel and you’ll be able to find out more about it by looking at the club’s social media channels nearer the time.

Car - The Atatürk Stadium is located just off the E80, which runs off the O-3 from the centre of the city.

By Air - Obviously the majority of people travelling from England to watch a match at the Atatürk will be flying over to Turkey. If that’s you then you’ll want to be aiming for Istanbul Atatürk Airport, which is more convenient for the stadium than the city centre. There are then express buses and metro options for you to make it into the centre of town.

Taxi - A taxi will taker around half an hour to complete its journey on a quiet day, though it’s worth bearing in mind that on the day of a big match the traffic will be extremely heavy. The journey should cost you around 85₺, which is about £10.

Parking Near Atatürk Olympic Stadium

There are spaces for more than 6,000 cars at the stadium, but don’t be expecting to be able to park there unless you’ve spoken to the stadium ahead of time.

Useful Resources

Atatürk Olympic Stadium Hotels

Qua Hotel - £30+

Mahmutbey Mh. Peyami Safa Cd. No:25 Bagcilar Istanbul
There are very few hotels located all that close to the stadium itself, so you’re best moving slightly further afield if you want to find yourself somewhere to stay. The Qua Hotel is located in the Bagcilar district and offers a full-service spa complete with an indoor pool. There’s also free Wi-Fi in the public areas and a bar and lounge. Given that there are more than 150 rooms, it’s fair to say that you’ll be able to get somewhere to stay here if you’re quick enough off the mark. Don’t be surprised if the prices go up when the match draws closer, though. More details.

Hampton by Hilton Istanbul Kayasehir - £50+

Kayabasi Mah. Sehit Mustafa Bozoklu Cad. No:5/1, Basaksehir Istanbul
Sometimes when you’re abroad in a far foreign land the best thing that you can do is to stay at a chain hotel where you know the quality will be decent. That’s exactly what the Hampton by Hilton offers, complete with a breakfast that’s included in the cost of your stay. Public areas have Wi-Fi, so you’ll be able to get onto the internet if you need to for some reason, with the hotel being quite well business-orientated. The hotel was given a renovation in 2014, so the finish and look to the place should be nicer than you’ll find elsewhere. More details.

Centro Westside by Rotana - £70+

Mahmutbey Mah Tasocagi Yolu Cd No 39/c Bagcilar Istanbul TR
The hotel boasts a coffee shop, a deli and a restaurant, so there are options aplenty when it comes to grabbing something to eat. You’ll also be able to get a drink and have a relax in the hotel’s bar. If you’re there on business then take advantage of the business centre and the associated six meeting rooms. Self-parking is available on-site, whilst the Wi-Fi is free to use. There’s also an indoor pool within the health club, so if you have a few beers and overdo it then you can make up for it in the morning! More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Atatürk Olympic Stadium

Balkon Cafe Bar

Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, Şehbender Sk. No:5, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul (+90 212 293 20 52)
There aren’t any bars at the stadium, so you’re best off having a few drinks in the centre of Turkey before heading out to the ground ahead of the match. If that’s your plan then you’d do a lot worse in terms of venue than the Balkon Cafe Bar, which is a rooftop venue that offers amazing views over the city. You can have a few drinks whilst you chow down some delicious food, including the likes of burgers and pizzas as well as the usual Turkish offerings.

The Junction Pub

Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, Oteller Sk. No:1, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul (+90 533 308 60 61)
At the centre of Taksim and Beyoğlu is the appropriately named The Junction Pub, which has been open and serving since 1996. It’s right next to a Metro station, so you’ll be able to get around relatively easily after you’ve finished your revelry. If you want to grab something to eat then this is the place to do it, with a young staff working in the kitchen that are constantly trying to reinvent themselves and offer guests something scrummy to eat. It’s an international bar, so don’t worry if your Turkish isn’t tip-top.

Mateo Cafe & Bar

Evliya Çelebi Mahallesi, Cezayir Sok. No:5, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul (+90 212 245 97 90)
Another bar that welcomes international supporters is the Mateo Cafe & Bar, located not far from the river in the centre of Istanbul itself. A rather more intimate setting than the other two locations on the list, expect to find yourself enjoying tasty local dishes and cocktails or beers if you head here. Live music is not uncommon and there’s a rack of spirits that you’ll be able to choose from if you feel a bit full after eating.

Facilities

In amongst UEFA’s numerous requirements of a 5-star venue isn’t just the fact that their members get to enjoy all of the trappings of hospitality suites but also that it’s a pleasure to attend matches there for the regular supporter.

From swish and shiny toilets through to the bars and eating areas being top-class, there’s plenty of be impressed by at the Atatürk.

Hospitality

One of UEFA’s chief requirements when it comes to awarding their stadiums with 5 stars is the ability of their members to enjoy all of the trappings that come with having the ability to hang out in the hospitality sections of the grounds.

With that in mind, then, the Atatürk offers 36 private lodges that are equipped with a bar and catering area. Skyboxes are also on offer, as well as lounge areas for those that are seated in one of the premium seats on offer throughout the stadium.

Private Hire

As with most football grounds that have the likes of private boxes and hospitality lounges, there is the ability to hire out the Atatürk if you’ve got an event that you’d like to host there. We can’t tell you loads about that, though, so you might want to get in touch with the stadium directly to find out more.

Stadium Tours & Museum

At the time of writing it’s not possible to do a tour of the Atatürk, but obviously if that changes then we’ll let you know.

Atatürk Olympic Stadium History

The Atatürk Stadium is relatively young by Turkish standards, with construction having got underway in 1997 before being opened five years later. It was part of Turkey’s ultimately doomed bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, which they eventually missed out on to Beijing.

The construction costs sat at around $140 million and when it first opened it boasted 80,597 seats. Both the International Association of Athletics Federations and the International Olympic Committee have certified the venue as being a first-class one for the hosting of track and field events, but it’s best known to most as being a football venue. Galatasaray played their home matches there for the 2003-2004 season because their own ground was being renovated, though no team calls it their permanent home at the time of writing.

Who knows what might happen at the Atatürk Stadium in the future, but whatever comes next it’s unlikely to rival the goings on during the 2005 Champions League final. Liverpool were in the final of the competition for the first time since the Heysel Stadium Disaster in 1985, playing Italian club AC Milan.

The Italians, managed by Carlo Ancelotti, took a 3-0 lead in the first-half and many thought the tie was over as a contest; after all, Italian clubs are known for their defending. Instead, Rafa Benitez’s reds scored three goals in 6 minutes to draw the tie level before going on to win on penalties. The match is known as the Miracle of Istanbul and is widely considered to be the best ever played in the tournament. Little wonder, then, that so many Liverpool supporters think of the Atatürk as the Turkish Anfield!

Future Developments

At the time of writing, the Atatürk is very much considered to be a multi-purpose venue, thanks in no small part to the athletics track that runs around the edge of the pitch. It is hoped that the ground will be used in the 2024 European Championships, with the Turkish Football Federation planning to rebuild the stadium ahead of that.

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