The best green area close to Istanbul is, for sure, the Belgrade Forest. This extensive woodland area, located about 20km from Istanbul, makes for a pleasant city escape.
The Best Green Area of Istanbul
With around 5,500 hectares of forest and many bird and animal species, Belgrade Forest is a tranquil haven.
The Forest contains vast reservoirs that have supplied the city with water for centuries, going as far back as Byzantine times. Some of these historic reservoirs can still be seen today, most of which were constructed in the 18th century.
Belgrade Forest is named for the fact that during the 16th century, Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent resettled the area with Serbs in order for them to guard these crucial water supplies.
Flora & Fauna of the Belgrade Forest
The forest has a delightful mix of trees including oak, oriental birch, common hornbeam and the Anatolian chestnut. Many varieties of birds and animals such as weasels, deer and snakes can be spotted- even the occasional fox or wolf, if you’re very lucky!
Outdoor Activities in the Belgrade Forest
Walking, Jogging & Hiking:
There is a jogging track which commences at the fountain by the Neset Suyu (Neset Spring) and weaves a 6 ½ km route with exercise equipment stationed along the way for public use.
Adım Adım volunteers are running for social responsibility causes in Belgrade Forest.
(A beautiful example of volunteer works in Istanbul: http://www.adimadim.org/adim-adim-initiative/ )