The Asian Side

It’s not at all wrong to describe the Asian Side (or Anatolian Side) as “Istanbul’s calmer face”.

If you want to have a comprehensive experience of Istanbul, you need to experience the calmness of the Asian (or Anatolian) Side as well. Turning your back on the European Side, you will examine the magnificent architecture of the Haydarpasha Train Station. It is the first stop for many travelers who come to Istanbul by train, as well as the entrance to Kadıköy.

When you arrive in Kadıköy by ferry, you will immediately find yourself in a large square. The Haldun Taner Theatre is one of the most important meeting places in Kadıköy for culture and the arts. The buses and minibuses depart from the station in the square.


Colours of the Historical Market

Kadıköy, which is both the largest district on the Asian Side and one of the largest districts in the city as a whole, was first known as Chalcedon. The Historical Kadıköy Market offers a wide variety of options for gourmets, music lovers, and entertainment seekers.

Fishmongers and spice sellers are important fixtures of the market. Indeed, the aroma of Kadıköy is that of the sea mingled with thousands of different spices. Çiya, a restaurant which specializes in Southeastern cuisine, is a meeting point for those who love the traditional flavors of Turkish cuisine. Mercan and Şampiyon Kokoreç, two establishments flavored by a younger clientele, offer a different color to the market’s atmosphere. Kadıköy is also home to such well-known restaurants and food stores as Beyaz Fırın, which sells specially-prepared chocolates and baked goods; Şekerci Cafer Erol offering home-made jams and sweets; Baylan Patisserie, known for it unique ice-cream dish, “Coup Grillet”; Ali Muhittin Hajji Bekir, specialists in Turkish delight and a variety of sweets; and Brezilya Baharatçısı, a shop that sells thousands of varieties of spices, and has operated out of the same location for half of a century.

The Flea Market, where second-hand goods, clothing, and electronic goods are sold, and the Antique-Sellers Street are the destinations for all antique lovers. Another important aspect of the market is the ever-active booksellers and music stores. The Akmar Arcade is a particular favorite of music lovers and aficionados of second-hand bookstores. Kadıköy does have a rather impressive nightlife. A variety of bars and restaurants addressing every taste animate the nightlife in Kadife Street.

By climbing uphill through the small streets behind the Kadıköy Market, you can reach Bahariye Avenue, the primary shopping district in Kadıköy. In addition to the brand outlets on Bahariye Avenue, a number of discount stores selling household goods are also found there.

After exploring Bahariye Avenue from one end to the other, you may want to return to Kadıköy Square. If you are tired and prefer not to walk, the Nostalgic Moda Tramway offers a perfect solution to your dilemma. The tramway travels on a single rail through avenues that are otherwise crowded with traffic.


Moda: Freshly-brewed tea by the sea

If you make your way from Bahariye uphill, you will find yourself in Moda, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Kadıköy, known especially for its beautiful sea views. Here, you can sit down in one of the many tea gardens that line the square and take in the lovely atmosphere while sipping tea.

Regardless of whether it is summer or winter, you should definitely try the ice cream at Ali Usta Creamery. From the Moda Sea Club, one of the symbols of the neighborhood, you can descend toward the seashore for a stroll along the water accompanied by the sound of music issuing from the bar.


Tranquility & Outdoor Fun in Kalamış

Kalamış has changed but it remains as a beautiful seashore on the Asian Side. The Kalamış Marina, awarded a blue flag, provides world-class boating services and is the location for many boat shows. Furthermore, the many bars and restaurants found on the marina -which is known as an entertainment center- offer an exciting night life.

The nearby neighborhood of Fenerbahçe is famous for the Fenerbahçe Sports Club, one of Turkey’s largest football clubs, and beaches. Furthermore, this area’s pedestrian and bicycle trials, beautiful green parks, and public sport fields are widely popular throughout Istanbul.


Sparkling Bağdat Avenue

With its wide sidewalks, popular restaurants, chic cafes, and sparkling store windows displaying famous brand goods, Bağdat Avenue almost reminds one of a fashion runway. Baghdat Avenue is one of the best places for shopping in Istanbul. Bostancı, the neighborhood that connects Bağdat Avenue to the seashore, is reminiscent of a charming village with its train station, ferry harbor, tea gardens, and fish and kokoreç shops lining the water. From here, you can make your way to the pearl of Istanbul, Prince Islands, by ferry, sea bus, or boat.


The Asian Side of the Bosphorus

Salacak is the first neighborhood on Istanbul’s Asian Side that borders the Bosphorus, just at its southern mouth. It’s said that the most beautiful view of Istanbul’s silhouette is to be found here. Every moment in Salacak is enlivened by an array of sights common to the city -the patrons of tea gardens sipping tea and watching the sunset, pedestrians out for their evening stroll, tourists and visitors to the Maiden’s Tower.

Üsküdar, one of the oldest areas of settlement in all of Istanbul, is merely ten minutes walk away from the north of Salacak. The neighborhood is also home to a large number of monuments and historical sites.

The Fountain of Ahmed III is located in Üsküdar’s main square is one of the must-see's in Üsküdar. Others are the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque and the Şemsipaşa Mosque, both designed by Sinan the Architect. Kanaat Restaurant, specializing in Turkish-Ottoman cuisine since 1933, is another location in Üsküdar that you should visit.

You can then make your way to Kuzguncuk. With its antique houses and charming streets, you should not pass through this neighborhood without drinking a foamy Turkish coffee at Çınaraltı Kahvesi, eating seafood at “İsmet Baba’nın Yeri” and sampling the pastries and cakes at “Limonluk Kahvesi”.

After Kuzguncuk, you will come face to face with Beylerbeyi. While it is particularly famous for its palace, its antique wooden houses, renovated seaside mansions and fish restaurants also enhance the calm, quiet charm of this neighborhood.

In addition to Beylerbeyi Palace itself, you should also visit the İskele Square, Fountain and İskele Kahvesi.


Çengelköy and its seaside mansions

Çengelköy, a neighborhood whose name is famously associated with cucumbers, is one of the most beautiful areas along the shores of the Bosphorus. Although the majority of the historical seaside mansions in this area have been lost to fire, seaside mansions such as Sadullah Pasha and Edip Effendi remain as examples of the magnificent architectural tradition. Before leaving, you should buy börek (pastry) from one of the neighborhood’s famous börek shops and have a tea in the shade of the old monumental sycamore tree. You should visit the S.A.V. Classic Automobile Museum in Çengelköy. Proceeding to the area of Kuleli, you will come across the Kuleli Military High School. The building has undergone a variety of renovations since the time of Mehmed the Conquerer, and is now used as a high school.


Kandilli: Istanbul’s only observatory

Kandilli, along the Bosphorus, is located directly across the neighborhood of Bebek on the European Side. This neighborhood, which includes the only observatory in all of Istanbul, is also famous for “Kandilli Scarfs”. Kandilli was consistently a favorite residence for wealthy families and those who wanted to be near to the palace. From the peak of the hill on which the observatory is located, there is spectacular view of both the Bosphorus Bridge and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge. Among notable sites in Kandilli - which still preserve its rich historical heritage - are Kandilli Girls’ High School, Mehmed Pasha Seaside Mansion, and the Kandilli Lighthouse.

Let’s continue onward then to Kanlıca... This neighborhood is especially famous for its yoghurt, served with powdered sugar. With its lovely Bosphorus views year-round, Mihrabad Woods located in this area, continues to be a favorite place for a leisurely promenade.


 chalcedony_kadıköy-stone-istanbulBonus: Did you know that there is a semi-preciouss stone called Chalcedony named after Kadıköy (Chalcedon) ? :)

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