By Justin Mays
Located on the Asian side, Uskudar is bordered by Umraniye, Beykoz, and Kadikoy. With a history as far back as the 7th century, Uskudar is where you’ll find Turkish culture, and history in all its glory. The ferry ports here make reaching the European side quick and easy.
The bustling Uskudar port is the entry point to a slew of historical villages along the Bosphorus shoreline. Today’s blog will help you explore the majestic seaside villages of Uskudar, and learn about what they offer.
Guide to Exploring Uskudar
Moving north from the first transcontinental bridge to the second, the areas of Kuzguncuk, Beylerbeyi, Çengelköy, Kandilli and Anadolu Hisar delight the senses.
Walk north from the port and meander through the park areas lining the coast. Observe the small row boats, fishermen, and cats lounging about.
Stop first at the lovely Kuzguncuk. Filled with tiny colorful wooden houses, the streets seem like something out of a tale from the past. This neighborhood was home to many minorities, as evidenced by its mosques, synagogues, and churches.
Small art studios, shops, including a famous Nail Bookshop, galleries, and fish restaurants dot the area. Make your way inland to the community gardens and enjoy the park.
Keep exploring until you reach Beylerbeyi under the bridge. Beylerbeyi is Turkish for “Lord of Lords.” Visit the Ottoman summer place museum, Beylerbeyi Sarayi, and carry on to Cengelkoy.
You may recognize the name from the small indigenous Cengelkoy cucumbers served at breakfast time.
This neighborhood has a high concentration of yalis, the wooden seaside villas unique to Istanbul, and some of the most expensive properties in the city.
Many new luxury builds dot the hillsides. Grab a tea by the small harbor’s famous ash tree. You will pass two handsome large buildings in Cengelkoy, Sumahan on the Water, a boutique hotel in an old distillery and the Kuleli Military High School.
Kandilli and Anadolu Hisar are the last two neighborhoods on your journey.
Hire a captain to take you from the seaside on a small wooden boat to see the front of the yalis from the waters. There are also alluring forests that add to the beauty of this neighborhood.
Kandilli also has a summer pavilion, the Kucuksu Palace.
Topkapi Palace might be on top of everyone’s list to visit while in Istanbul, but Kucuksu Palace’s breathtaking architecture and beauty cannot be ignored. Built in the 19th century, this spectacular palace was used as a place for leisure.
Interestingly, one of the very first high schools for girls, Kandilli Anatolian High School for Girls, is located here.
Anadolu Hisar is home to a medieval fortress and has had many new restaurants pop up in the past couple of years. It is also home to the Goksu River (Sweet Waters), with waterside cafes.
The end of your journey will feel bittersweet, and you will be filled with nostalgic memories of old Istanbul. Perhaps you will even spot your future Istanbul home on your adventure!
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