Istanbul travel guide. Bosphorus tour: Asian Side.
The Bosphorus trip is one of the best things to do in Istanbul. Beside the spectacular Bosphorus tour by boats, you can also have a lovely Turkish breakfast at the cafes by the sea, walk around to see the mansions, castles and other historical buildings, go for a fish-raki meals at one of the hundreds of restaurants or enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee or tea with other Istanbulians.
Here in this post we are introducing you the towns located along the Bosphorus if you want to go on a Bosphorus tour or even a long walk on the Asian side by the Bosphorus, from South to the North of the Bosphorus.
Selimiye is a town in Uskudar located behind the Istanbul Harbour. It is famous for the military quarters called Selimiye Kislasi.
Selimiye Kislasi (quarters, barracks) was built in the early 19th century by Selim III for the new Ottoman Army, Nizam-ı Cedid. It was assigned to the British Army during the Crimean war in 1850’s. During the war, famous nurse Florence Nightingale served at Selimiye Kislasi. The room used by the nurses is a museum today.
Salacak is the neighbourhood between Uskudar and Harem on the Asian side facing Kız Kulesi (Maiden Tower) and historical peninsula. Salacak has one of the best Istanbul panoramas both during the day and night. It is hard to believe but there was a beach in Salacak until the 50’s before the road along the sea was built.
Beside visiting the Maiden’s Tower, the best thing to do along Salacak shore is to sit one of the cafes and take photos of old Istanbul with the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque and the sun going down over the minarets and Istanbul silhouette.
Uskudar is a district by the Bosphorus on the Asian side between Beykoz in the North and Kadikoy in the South. The name of the town comes from Scutari, Scutarion which meant militay barracks during the Roman period. This name was mutated to Uskudar in time. During the Ottoman period Uskudar was one of the suburbs (Uskudar, Eyup and Galata) outside the city walls.
Did you know?
The first name of Uskudar was Chrysopolis in ancient Greek. Uskudar hosts Karacaahmet Mezarligi, the biggest cemetery in Turkey and one of the biggest in the world.
Kuzguncuk is a town by the Bosphorus on the Asian side located between Uskudar in the South and Beylerbeyi in the North.
The name of the town is believed to be mutated from Hrisokeramos (golden tile, clay roofing tile) which was used for a church with golden coloured roof. Another belief is that there was a dervish called Kuzgun Baba settled in Kuzguncuk during the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmet and the town named after him.
Whatever the origin of the name is, Kuzguncuk is one of the most multicultural places in Istanbul where a Greek church, Armenian church, a synagoge and a mosque serve side by side. This cosmopolit feature also contributed to the cultural life of the town and many famous Istanbulians such as artists, actors and authors lived in Kuzguncuk. The town is famous for old Istanbul architecture and the fish restaurant by the sea called Ismet Baba.
Have breakfast in the café by the sea, walk around the streets of Kuzguncuk, go for a cup of tea at Fethi Paşa Korusu (woods) have a raki-balik meal at Ismet Baba fish restaurant in the evening.
Did you know?
- Kuzguncuk is the first place on the Asian side that Jewish people settled after they were brought from Spain.
- Usually Jewish people used to work as fishermen, Armenian people as jeweller and Greek people as innkeeper.
- There was a big fire in Kuzguncuk in 1866 which changed the architecture of the town.
Beylerbeyi is a town on the Asian side between Kuzguncuk and Cengelkoy in Uskudar district, where the Bosphorus Bridge is built on the Asian side.
Beylerbeyi, like Ortakoy on the European side has a small avenue with Beylerbeyi Mosque (1778), cafes and fish restaurants. However, you need to go a little further to Cengelkoy if you want to have a raki-balik or a meal with alcoholic drinks because the restaurants in Beylerbeyi don’t serve alcoholic drinks because of the mosque in the avenue.
The town also hosts The Beylerbeyi Palace, which was built in 1861-1865, in the mid of 19th century, the longest century of the Empire as the historian İlber Ortaylı claims in his book.
You can have breakfast or dinner in Beylerbeyi with a very nice view of the Bosphorus.
Did you know?
- Before the Ottomans the town was called Istavroz Bahceleri (the gardens of the crucifix) because of the cross that the Roman Emperor Constantinus the Greatest put up in the gardens.
- “Bey” means lord or commander in Turkish. Beylerbeyi is the lord of the lords or commander of the commanders.
- There were two Beylerbeyi in Ottoman Empire: Anadolu Beylerbeyi (Minor Asia) and Rumeli (Thrace and Balkans) Beylerbeyi.
Cengelkoy is a town by the Bosphorus on the Asian side between Vaniköy and Beylerbeyi.
It is one of the best places in Istanbul for the Bosphorus view and dining. The town was called Sophianea during the Roman period, which came from the palace that the emperor Justinien built for his wife Sophia. During the Ottoman period it was called “Cengelkoy” (cengel is hook, koy is village) because there were huge anchors left from the Roman times.
Cengelkoy has a very beautiful Bosphorus view. It is also one of the best parts of the city to have a nice breakfast at Çınaraltı cafe and play backgammon with friends on a weekend.
Kandilli is a typical small town by the Bosphorus on the Asian side between Vaniköy in the South and Anadoluhisarı in the North.
Kandilli Rasathanesi also known as “Istanbul Rasathanesi” or “Rasathane-i Amire” in history of Turkish science, was established in 1868 in the Pera Street, presently Istiklal Street. In the beginning, it was not an astronomical observatory, but housed the central meteorology office. After the 31 Mart rebellion in 1909, it was moved to Maçka because it was destroyed in the uprising. In 1911, it was moved to Kandilli by a scientist, Fatih Hoca (Gökmen). Observaory was annexed to Bogaziçci University in 1982. In 1983 the name became Kandilli Rasathanesi ve Deprem Araştırma Enstitüsü, Kandilli Obsrvatory and Earthquake Research Institute (KOERI).
Anadoluhisari is the fortress and the town in Beykoz district on the Asian side. Anadoluhisari facing Rumelihisari on the European side is located between two bridges on the Bosphorus.
Anadoluhisari was built in 1390 by the Ottoman Sultan, Beyazıt I (Yıldırım Beyazıt) to support the siege of Constantinople. After the city was conquered in 1453 by Mehmet II (Fatih Sultan Mehmet) the fortress lost its importance as a military building and the area grew as a town centred around the fortress.
There is a stream called the Göksu running through Anadoluhisari and flowing into the Bosphorus. Even if it is not as beautiful today, it was once one of the meeting places for lovers who used to go on a boat trip and flirt.
You can sit at one of the cafes around the Göksu for a nice glass of tea and a chat with a friend or an Istanbulian. You can also go to one of the local restaurants around Göksu and enjoy a meal of rakı-balık, a traditional Bosphorus pleasure.
Kanlica is a town by the Bosphorus on the Asian side in Beykoz district, located between Cubuklu in the North and Anadoluhisari in the South. Kanlica is famous for sweet yoghurt.
This typical small Bosphorus town is famous for Kanlica yoghurt, a kind of yoghurt served with powdered sugar. You can have Kanlica yogurdu at Cinaralti (cafe, restaurant) by the sea, go for a walk, brunch or coffee in Mihrabad Korusu (woods).
Beykoz is a district at the upper end of the Bosphorus on the Asian side and the Black Sea coast. In the south is Uskudar, in the east is Sile and opposite is Sariyer on the European side.
The first historic people to settle the upper-Bosphorus were Thracians and Greeks and the ancient name for the area was Amikos or Amnicus, named after a Thracian king. The name of the area then became Beykoz during the Ottoman period derived from Bey (prince, lord, mister in Turkish) and Koz (village in Persian).
Beykoz, one of the greenest parts of Istanbul, was famous for glassworks, which began in the 17th century and by the 18th and 19th centuries were a well-establised factory making the ornate spiral-designed or semi-opaque white glassware known worldwide as “Beykoz-ware”.
You can get to Beykoz from Uskudar, Kadikoy and Umraniye on the Asian side and Mecidiyeköy and Taksim on the European side by bus, dolmus (shuttle) and ferry.
Did you know?
- The sailors in Archaic Ages killed animals as sacrife in Beykoz in the name of Zeus and Poseidon in order to travel in good weather and be protected from the storms before sailing away in the Black Sea.
- Ottoman Sultans and statesmen made hunting kiosks in Beykoz because it was a favourable hunting area.
Anadolukavagi is a fishing town in the very north of the Bosphorus on the Asian side facing Rumelikavagi on the European side.
Anadolukavagi is a nice, quiet fishing village out of the city where Istanbulians go by ferry to have a nice time by the Bosphorus, eat fish at the restaurants by the sea and enjoy the view of the Bosphorus from Yoros Kalesi.
The only tourist attraction in the town, Yoros Kalesi is a Genoese fortress that was built on a very strategic point overlooking both the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. It is one of the most ideal places to enjoy the view over the city.
You can take a ferry from Eminonu, go along the Bosphorus, have a rakı-balık meal and enjoy the view of the Bosphorus from Yoros Kalesi.
Video Credit Ismail Sarbay
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