Istanbul travel guide: Besiktas
Besiktas is a district on the European side opposite Uskudar on the Asian side. Besiktas and Uskudar are central parts of the city for transportation. It is possible to take buses, dolmus or boats to the northern and southern parts of the Bosphorus.
Name of Besiktas
Besiktas literally means “cradle-stone” in Turkish. There are two theories for the origin of the name Besiktas. The first theory is that there are Byzantine records of a church that the area was called Kounopetra (cradle-stone) which was built in honour of a relic taken from the stable in Nazareth where Jesus was born. The stone was then removed to Hagia Sophia and disappeared during the Fourth Crusade. Another theory is that the name Beşiktaş was mutated from beştaş (five stones) referring to the pillars to which ships were moored in the time of Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa, the famous admiral of the Ottoman Navy in the 16th century.
Akaretler, Barbaros Avenue & Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa Turbesi (Mausoleum), Besiktas Carsisi (shopping street), Ihlamur Kasri, Ortakoy & Ortakoy Mosque, The Ciragan Palace, The Dolmabahce Palace, The Istanbul Paintings & Sculpture Museum, The Naval Museum, The Yildiz Park
What to see & do in Besiktas
- Have breakfast at the Kaymakci Pando
- Walk around at the fish market
- Go to a Besiktas football game at the Inonu Stadium
- Go shopping at the Ortakoy street market on Sundays
- Have a cup of Turkish coffee at the cafes by the Bosphorus
- Go to a concert at the Turkcell Kurucesme Arena
- Have a drink at the Akaretler, old blocks of houses that were once part of the Dolmabahce Palace
- Walk to Ortaköy along the Çırağan Street
- Take a boat from the ferry station to Uskudar
Did you know? Besiktas has sister cities and twin towns all over the world: Trencin (Slovakia) Erlangen (Germany) Brooklyn (USA) Güzelyurt (Northen Cyprus Turkish Republic) Burgaz (Bulgaria) İskeçe (Greece) and Liverpool (UK).
How to get there?
- From Sultanahmet: You can take the tram to Kabatas and walk along the Dolmabahce Palace or take another bus from Kabatas to Besiktas.
- From Taksim: You can take a bus from the Taksim Avenue, take a dolmus from the Gümüssuyu Street or take the metro to Kabataş and walk or take another bus.
- From the Asian side: You can a boat from Uskudar or ferry from Kadikoy.
Akaretler is a street in Besiktas named after the old blocks of houses that were once the part of the Dolmabahce Palace. The blocks were built in 1875 by Sarkis Balyan (a member of the famous Armenian family who were the royal architects of the Ottoman Empire in 1800’) in order to support the Aziziye Mosque financially. Today the street is a posh street with residances, restaurants, bars, shops and offices. You can get to Akaretler easily from the Beşiktaş Avenue. Simply walk past the Naval Museum, across the street at the traffic lights and turn right.
Arnavutkoy is a Bosphorus town located between Ortaköy and Bebek on the European side. Opposite Arnavutköy on the Asian side are Kandilli and Vaniköy. Istanbul Guide: Ortakoy, Kurucesme, Arnavutkoy, Bebek
Bebek is a town by the Bosphorus in Besiktas on the European side between Arnavutkoy and Rumelihisari. Istanbul Guide: Ortakoy, Kurucesme, Arnavutkoy, Bebek
Beşiktaş Carsisi / Shopping Street
Besiktas district on the European side is famous for the palaces along the Bosphorus, Besiktas football team and their fan group called “Carsi” as well as the carsi itself, the shopping street in Besiktas center. Carsi is a nice place to go for shopping, or a drink or dinner at the small bars and restaurants around. Also it is easy to get to Ortakoy, Uskudar or Kabatas and Karakoy from Besiktas.
The home of the football club of Besiktas JK, located near the Dolmabahce Palace in Besiktas district on the European side. Inonu is the only stadium in the world from which a football fan can view two continents, Europe and Asia.
Did you know?
- Recently it was chosen the stadium that has the best view all over the world.
- Besiktas fans are proud of the İnönü Stadium’s record of football’s loudest ever decibel level (132dB) in a match against Fenerbahçe, breaking the previous record which was held by the Liverpool fans in Anfield.
Istanbul has many choices for breakfast. Kaymakci Pando in Besiktas is one of the local breakfast shops in Istanbul, serving people breakfast for over hundred years. Kaymakci Pando, located in Besiktas Carsisi (shopping street) in a small shop, is run by Pando Bey, also called Bulgar (Pando Bey’s family immigrated from Bulgaria) Pando Bey’s famous breakfast is made of honey, kaymak (clotted cream) cheese, omelette with cheese or sucuk, olives, milk and tea. Mumcu Bakkal Sok. No:3 Besiktas
Kurucesme is a small town by the Bosphorus on the European side located between Ortakoy and Arnavutkoy. It was called Bithias, Kalamos, Amopolos in ancient times. Istanbul Guide: Ortakoy, Kurucesme, Arnavutkoy, Bebek
Ortakoy is a town on the European side between Besiktas and Kuruceşse in Besiktas district, where the Bosphorus Bridge is built on the European side. Ortakoy was a village and a summer resort during the Ottoman Empire. Istanbul Guide: Ortakoy, Kurucesme, Arnavutkoy, Bebek
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