Northern Bosphorus Sights Istanbul

Here’s the northern continuation of your Bosphorus cruise from the Southern Bosphorus page:

After the Bosphorus Bridge and Beylerbeyi Palace, you come to…

Çengelköy (Asia)

A picturesque Bosphorus village with huge old plane tree by the ferry dock, and townfolk relaxing in its shade to sip tea and coffee, play cards or dominoes, and watch boats pass. More…

Kuleli Naval Academy (Asia)

Kuleli means “with towers,” so you’ll recognize this Turkish naval college when you pass. It was built in 1800 when Sultan Selim IIIsought to modernize the Ottoman armed forces. During the Crimean War (1855-1856) it was one of two hospitals supervised by Florence Nightingale (the other was the Selimiye Barracks—see the Southern Bosphorus page).

Arnavutköy (Europe)

The seafront of this “Albanian Village” is lined with photogenic Ottoman yalis (wooden Bosphorus seaside mansions).

Rumeli Hisarı (Europe)

The mighty Fortress of Europe was built in just four months during 1452 on orders of Mehmet the Conqueror. Commanding the narrowest part of the Bosphorus (about 700 meters), it cut off Byzantine Constantinople from its grain supplies from the Black Sea coast, making it easier for the sultan to conquer the city in 1453. More…

The town of Bebek, with its pretty bay, is on Rumeli Hisari’s south side. Bosphorus University, founded as Robert College by New Englander Cyrus Hamlin in 1863, shares the hillside with the fortress.

Fatih Bridge

The Fatih Köprüsü (Conqueror’s Bridge), beautifully visible from Rumeli Hisarı (and vice-versa) is named for Mehmet the Conqueror.

Anadolu Hisarı (Asia)

Opposite Rumeli Hisarı is the much smaller Fortress of Anatolia, built about 1390 by Sultan Yıldırım Beyazit I, and strengthened by Mehmet the Conqueror in preparation for his conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

Küçüksu Kasrı (Asia)

Palace No. 6: The “Sweet Waters of Asia,” famed in 19th-century European visions of Istanbul, meander from the Asian hills into the Bosphorus by this fine little Baroque hunting lodge finished in 1857 for Sultan Abdül Mecit I. More…

Çubuklu & Hıdiv Kasrı (Asia)

Atop the promontory at Çubuklu is the fine Art Nouveau villa(1903) of Abbas II Hilmi PashaKhedive (Viceroy) of Egypt, now a restaurant and tea garden. The khedive, a quasi-independent monarch, spent his summers in IstanbulMore…

Emirgan

This European Bosphorus village is known for the Emirgan Korusu, a spacious forested garden park, and the Sakıp Sabancı Müzesi, one of Istanbul’s finest art and culture museums. More…

Tarabya (Europe)

From the Greek Therapia (healing), this Bosphorus town got its name from its healthful atmosphere. Today its small bay is surrounded by indoor/outdoor restaurants. Several grand old Ottoman-era summer embassies of European powers (including Great Britain and France) stand in their gardens on the Bosphorusshore. More…

Büyükdere (Europe)

This town is home to the Sadberk Hanım Museum, a distinguished small art and ethnography museum founded by the wealthy Koç family in a historic yalı (seaside mansion) and a modern gallery. If you have the time and enjoy fine art, and/or have an interest in Turkish history and culture, don’t miss it!

Sarıyer (Europe)

The largest town on the northern Bosphorus shore, with a fish market and several seafood restaurants on the shore. Buses, minibuses and taxis run north to the Black Sea beach resort of Kilyos. This is a good spot to leave your Bosphorus boat so you can return to Istanbul by bus, minibus or taxi. More…

Rumeli Kavağı (Europe)

The farthest northern dock on the European shore of the Bosphorus, it has a small beach, several seafood restaurantsand, looming to the north, the Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge, the third built to cross the Bosphorus.

Anadolu Kavağı (Asia)

Final dock on the Bosphorus cruise-tour, there are seafood restaurants (if you haven’t brought a picnic), and you can hike uphill to the seven-towered fortress of Yoros Kalesi on Yuşa Tepesi (Joshua Hill) to enjoy the panoramic Bosphorus view, including the third, northernmost intercontinental bridge.

If you take the traditional ferry’s Bosphorus tour, you will have to wait three hours at Anadolu Kavağı for the ferry’s departure for the return to Istanbul.

If you take a boat operated by TurYol, you’ll be back at the Galata Bridge in less than an hour. More…

Kilyos (Europe)

This northernmost suburb of Istanbul near the mouth of the Bosphorus on the shore of the deep, chilly Black Sea is a favorite beach resort for Istanbullus in hot weather. The ferryboats don’t come this far, but you can take a bus, minibus or taxi here from SarıyerMore…

—by Tom Brosnahan

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