Şile, which is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours away from the center of Istanbul, is one of the important escape points around the city. Şile is one of the oldest settlements in Istanbul. It is so old that we know that people were living here even in the Neolithic times. Today, it is a place for Istanbulites, who are tired of the busy pace of the city, where they can leave their stress behind by making sweet escapes here. It is a region that is preferred not only for a quiet and long breakfast but also for weekend getaways or longer holidays. Here you can rent bungalows or villas, or you can choose to camp. There are many different accommodation options where you can enjoy nature to the fullest. You can reach Şile by city buses or by intercity buses departing from the bus stations.
How do I get from Istanbul to Şile?
The distance between Istanbul and Şile is approximately 70-80 kilometers. If you want to go to Şile with your private car, you can reach Şile by following the Şile sign over the 1st and 2nd bridges (just before and after the exits and entrances), and by following the Sarıgazi-Şile direction via TEM. Transportation with your private vehicle will take approximately 45 minutes.
If you do not have a private vehicle, you can use a public bus or Şile Ağva Üsküdar tourism buses that run regularly from Üsküdar and Harem to Şile. The journey to Şile by bus takes about one and a half hours, and the journey by public bus takes about 3 hours. If you prefer the public bus, two separate lines are running from Üsküdar to Şile, which are 139 and 139A.
History of Şile
It is known that the first settlers in Şile were the Greeks. It is understood that the first settlement dates back to the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, and this shows that Şile is one of the oldest settlements in Istanbul. The name of Şile, on the other hand, emerged when the Miletos tribe was influenced by the beauties of Şile and named it "Marjoram'' in their language. Until the region had its current name, it was called by similar names such as Philee, Shila, Aschil, Artena, Kilio, and Kalpe.
It is understood that the first established and settled city in Şile was founded by the Miletos in the 8th century BC, under the name Philee, in the rocky areas of the district. It is known that the Miletos, who dominated the Black Sea coast, founded Şile as a trade city. After various tribes established dominance in the region, the Romans dominated Şile in the 1st century BC. Gürlek Cave was also an important natural prison that served as a prison for Christians during the conflict between the Romans and Christians in the 3rd century AD. The Genoese dominated the region for a while, and then the Seljuks seized the region in 1050. About 50 years later, the region changed hands with the Crusades. Şile, which officially joined the Ottoman lands in 1401, remained Ottoman for 500 years, and during the First World War, it was under the control of the British with the Armistice of Mudros in 1920. In 1923, one of the first municipalities of the Republic was established in Şile, which was cleared of the enemy in 1922.
This 2,000-year-old castle is located on a tiny island. Although its construction was started by the Genoese, it was completed and used during the Ottoman Empire. The past of Sile Castle is not well known. It was most likely constructed by the Byzantine Empire as a watchtower to protect a small harbor. It was seized by the Genoese in 1305. It was taken over in 1396 by the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid's army. Limestone quarried on the island was used to construct the Sile Castle. It had four floors and a square ground plan. It was twice repaired: once during the Byzantine rule and once during the Ottoman era. Subsequently, it was neglected and eventually destroyed. Because of illicit treasure hunters' excavating, it had significant losses in the 20th century.
Unfortunately, its current appearance was restored in 2015 and the outcome received harsh criticism. As a result, it was given the moniker "Sponge Bob Castle" because of the cartoon character resemblance. It appears to be a newly constructed building in my perspective and has lost some of its historical charms. Since it is located on an inaccessible island, Ile Castle cannot currently be visited.
This lighthouse has become the most significant symbol of Şile that has protected the Isle for many years. Sile Lighthouse is the largest lighthouse in Turkey and the second largest in the world. Many people find lighthouses fascinating. If you are one of them, you can visit this lighthouse that stretches towards the middle of the sea with the wild winds coming from the sea, and you can visit the tiny maritime museum inside. Built by a French architect in the 17th century during the reign of Sultan Abdulaziz who throughout his 15-year rule built lighthouses along the beaches, this lighthouse is stunning. Its construction was intended to aid in the navigation of ships traveling from the Black Sea to Istanbul during the Crimean War. The largest lighthouse in Turkey, the Sile Lighthouse, conforms with international requirements. Constructed on 60-meter-high rocks, the 19-meter-tall lighthouse features a covered stone tower that is 110 cm thick. It is painted horizontally in black and white so that the lighthouse is clearly visible and can be identified during the day.
There are some spots in Turkey, and which are known for the legends told about them. Crying Rock is one of them. It symbolizes that the lovers who cannot reunite with each other leave themselves to the wild waves of the Black Sea and that the rock sheds tears for this. If you are going to visit this rock, which has a weeping water flow, you can also consider spending time on the wonderful beaches around it.
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Frequently Asked Question
How do I get from Istanbul to Şile?
Istanbul and Sile are separated by roughly 70–80 kilometers. If you want to travel to Ile in a private vehicle, you can do so by following the Ile sign over the first and second bridges (at the exits and entrances, respectively) and by traveling in the Sargazi-Ile direction through TEM. Your vehicle will need to travel for about 45 minutes.
If you don't have your own vehicle, you can take a public bus or one of the frequent Üsküdar and Harem to Sile Agva Üsküdar sightseeing buses. The bus ride to Sile takes around an hour and a half, while the public bus ride takes about three hours. Two distinct bus lines are operating if you like them.
How far is Şile Istanbul from Taksim?
It is 73 kilometers from Taksim to Şile, and it takes approximately an hour and a half by car. Best way to go Şile is to rent a car.
Is Şile worth visiting?
Şile is one of the important escape points around the city. It is a region that is preferred not only for a quiet and long breakfast but also for weekend getaways or longer holidays. Here you can rent bungalows or villas, or you can choose to camp. There are many different accommodation options where you can enjoy nature to the fullest. You can reach Şile by city buses or by intercity buses departing from the bus stations.