literally "the village in the middle" (orta) of the European
Bosphorus shore 8 km (5 miles) northeast of Sultanahmet (map), is
now among Istanbul's coolest,
chic-est, most artsy neighborhoods,
with trendy boutiques, atmospheric
cafés and bistrots,
and crowds of young, sophisticated
residents and visitors.
It's a good place to stop for tea or coffee, a snack or a meal, a stroll,
some boutique window-shopping or a
rest, particularly if you've spent
the morning on a Bosphorus
If it's a Sunday, expect
an impromptu street market of artists
displaying their wares for admiration
and (they hope) sale.
It doesn't jump out at you,
but Ortaköy has
a lot of history.
If you descend from a bus or minibus
at Osmanzade Sokak, you're right
near the Etz
Ahayim Synagogue, with the
steeple and bell tower of a small Orthodox
church not far away.
east on Osmanzade to get to the Bosphorus shore
and Ortaköy's most
famous landmark: the Büyük
Mecidiye Camii (Grand Imperial
Mosque of Sultan Abdülmecid I),
usually called simply the Ortaköy
Camii (Ortaköy Mosque),
almost in the water on the Bosphorus
shore, a late example of Istanbul's imperial mosques.
eclectic-Baroque mosque (1854) is the
work of architect Nikogos Balyan,
the designer of Dolmabahçe
Palace, a scion of the famous Armenian
family of imperial architects.
Within the mosque hang several masterful
examples of Arabic calligraphy executed
by Sultan Abdülmecid I (1839-1861)
himself, who was an accomplished calligrapher.
In June 2014, the restoration work on the Ortaköy Mosque was completed and it was again opened to worshippers and the public.
Coffeehouses and tea
the water fill the seaside next to
the mosque now
as they have for decades—perhaps
centuries—and are one of Ortaköy's
On weekends, vehicular traffic along the Bosphorus shore road can be extremely heavy and slow, so midday on weekdays is the best time to visit Ortaköy.
—by Tom Brosnahan
| Above, Ortaköy Mosque (Büyük Mecidiye
the Bosphorus Bridge, Istanbul.
waterside cafes and promenades are
crowded on any fine day.