Şehir Merkezleri
Bağdat Caddesi
Bagdat Street never seems to end. This 6km long tree lined strip on the Asian side of Istanbul is packed with restaurants, cafes, bars, luxury car dealers and, of course, shops. From high end brands to large department stores and smaller boutiques, Bagdat Street is one of the most popular shopping districts in Istanbul.
Bagdat Street served as link between Constantinople and Anatolia for centuries. It was given its name in 1638 following the capture of what is now the Iraqi capital by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Over time it developed into a popular residential area for the city’s elite who built large mansions here.
Although many of these mansions were demolished to make way for newer apartment blocks, the Street remains one of the most desirable areas to live in Asian Istanbul due to its central location, close proximity to the Marmara Sea, and plethora of amenities.
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Bebek
Bebek, meaning ‘baby’ in Turkish, is a quaint and affluent suburb which rises up from the Bosphorus and into the tree-dotted areas above. Most come to Bebek to enjoy the collection of upmarket waterfront cafes and restaurants or to spot local celebrities enjoying a Sunday brunch.
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Boğaziçi Köprüsü
The Bosphorus Bridge is not an ordinary bridge. Connecting two continents and carrying nearly 200,000 vehicles a day, it is the most famous landmark of Turkey's largest city, Istanbul. Completed in 1973, the nearly 1 mile (1.5 km) long suspension bridge spans the Bosphorus Strait, connecting Eastern Europe to Western Asia.
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Cihangir
With its narrow cobbled streets, cozy cafes and boutiques, Cihangir is one of Istanbul's best loved districts. Spread over a rather large area just downhill from bustling Istiklal Street, this quaint, bohemian centre is especially popular with local and foreign artists, musicians, writers and intellectuals.
Cihangir incorporates parts of the Cukurcuma, Purtelas and Kurtulus neighbourhoods, where grand trees stand guard outside pretty 19th century apartments leading down to the Bosphorus. It seems every corner is occupied by a grape vine-laden cafe or wine bar. The best place to start is Siraselviler Caddesi and Cihangir Mahallesi and the streets off it such as Susam Sokak.
The Cihangir Mosque, once made of wood, occupies a central position with views of the water. This tiny mosque was designed by master Ottoman architect Sinan.
Many up and coming designers have set up shop here, selling an eclectic range of unusual fashion and accessories, most at reasonable prices.
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Çamlıca Tepesi
Camlica Hill rises up from Anatolian Istanbul in all its brilliance, offering a unique perspective on the city. Popular with Sunday strollers, lovers and those needing some fresh air, Camlica Hill is a dearly loved refuge from the stresses of everyday life. Located about 4km from Uskudar.
Camlica is split into two hills: Kucuk Camlica (‘Little Pine Hill’) and Buyuk Camlica (‘Big Pine Hill’). Buyuk Camlica is the highest point in Istanbul at 267m above sea level.
Not surprisingly, Buyuk Camlica offers the best views, though Kucuk Camlica, with fewer visitors and wonderful gardens, forests and walking trails, is ultimately the more peaceful of the two. The views from Buyuk Camlica are truly amazing, with a panoramic vista of all of Istanbul’s main waterways, the Bosphorus Bridge, the historic Eminonu Peninsula, the Princes’ Islands and even Mount Uludag near Bursa.
During springtime, many tulips are planted here in anticipation of the Istanbul Tulip Festival, contributing to the usual mass of brightly colored flowers. The hills and their surrounding pine forests also attract many different species of birds and other wildlife while the park at the summit has large open spaces from which to enjoy the view.
A scattering of tea gardens and restaurants have set up shop on Buyuk Camlica, and Kucuk Camlica has its own resident tea garden. There are also many street stalls and the Turkish tradition of picnicking and barbequing is a common site on the hill; it gets especially packed with families on weekends.
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Çengelköy
This quaint fishing village on the Bosphorus meaning ‘hook village’ is dotted with leafy trees and waterfront tea gardens while stately Ottoman era mansions rise up on the hill above. Though the area has become a residential hot-spot for Istanbul’s upper class, Cengelkoy still manages to exude a cozy charm.
Cengelkoy is well known for its high quality fish restaurants, where locals come to feast on fresh seafood washed down with chilled raki. If you manage to adopt the Turkish love of tea while in Istanbul, there are few better ways to spend an afternoon than at a Cengelkoy tea garden peering out at the little fishing boats and mighty Bosphorus Bridge with a steaming cay in hand.
It’s also worth stopping by Cengelkoy’s small Carsi (market), which has several boutique stores selling dried fruit, nuts and sweets.
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Çukurcuma Mahallesi
There’s no better way to spend an afternoon than rifling through the eccentric collection of goods in Istanbul’s Cukurcuma district. This charming area, which is also a favorite place of residence for artists and expats, is a world of its own, where rambling apartments house some of the finest collections of antiques, boutique fashion and kitsch in the city.
From Istiklal Street, head about halfway down to the historic Galatasaray High School and wander left and downhill in the direction of the Bosphorus. The best streets in the area are in and around Cukurcuma Square, such as Faik Pasa Sokak and Cukurcuma Caddesi, however, don’t be afraid to stray from the most worn paths.
One of the best ways to experience this area is to literally lose yourself in the many winding side streets and alleyways where you’ll stumble on narrow stores packed to the ceiling with everything from century-old artifacts to cigarette packets dating from the 1930’s, art works, carpets, historic maps, retro furniture and just about anything in between.
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Eminönü
The Eminonu district forms part of the Eminonu Peninsula and is at the crossroads of 3 bodies of water: the Golden Horn, Bosphorus Strait and the Marmara Sea.
Eminonu is on the southern side one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks - the Galata Bridge, which spans the Golden Horn.
The Bridge is no ordinary bridge and is an attraction in itself. Locals flock to fish over its side, or to indulge in its famed nargile cafés, bars and seafood restaurants which line the underside.
Most visitors come to Eminonu for its historical sites - including the New Mosque and Rustem Pasha Mosque - for shopping at the Spice Bazaar - and its surrounding backstreet markets, or for transport purposes.
Eminonu heaves with crowds during the summer months; between the tourists heading to the Spice Bazaar to buy Turkish delight, and locals perusing the streets behind it for budget pots and pans, the area attracts a wide variety of nationalities and personalities.
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Eyüp
Situated outside the historic city walls along the Golden Horn, Eyup is home to some of Istanbul’s holiest sites. Muslim pilgrims come from across the world to visit the Eyup Sultan Mosque & Mausoleum and Tomb of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (Eyup) - the Prophet Mohammed’s standard bearer and friend who was killed during the first Muslim siege of Constantinople. It is considered one of the holiest places for Muslims in the world.
Because of this, Eyup becomes especially crowded on Fridays, the Muslim holy day, as well as during Ramadan and other religious festivals, when prayer mats are spread around the areas surrounding the Mosque to allow worshipers to pray together in open air style.
Though during the years of the Ottoman Empire Eyup was a popular place of settlement for refugees from central Europe and the Caucasus, these days the area is largely home to Istanbul’s more religiously conservative inhabitants.
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Horhor Bit Pazarı
In amongst the garish lingerie shops and grey apartment blocks of Fatih sits Horhor Flea Market, a tribute to past lives and lasting beauty. Sure, it doesn’t look like much from the outside; the red, Soviet-style block and tired playground nearby don’t exactly exude charm. But inside the cool, dimly lit corridors are quiet, save for the occasional jingle of a teaspoon. Fleas or no fleas, this is no ordinary antique market.
Horhor is teeming with treasures just waiting to be re-discovered. With more than 200 stores spread over six floors, this is the place to go for old and antique items in Istanbul. The market was born out of flames, literally. In 1981, a fire destroyed the antique stores in Kuledibi and its distinguished artisans moved to the present location in Aksaray. The stores are now packed to the ceiling with a wide range of furniture, tableware and collectibles from the Ottoman era as well as some foreign artifacts and lamps.
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Sea