Tarabya, Bosphorus, Istanbul

During the 1700s and 1800s, when the hot days of summer spread disease in the crowded streets of Constantinople, the wealthy and well-connected escaped the city to Tarabya, in the cooler air and healthful breezes of the Bosphorus shores.

Among the choicest resorts was a small, picturesque cove called Therapia in Greek. It had been a favored getaway spot since the times of the Byzantines.

Foreign diplomats built sumptuous villas and “summer embassies” on the shores to north and south of the cove. Constantinopolitan society moved here for the summer to stroll and dine by the pretty cove.

Now called Tarabya, the cove is surrounded by restaurants that still draw crowds of city folk in summer. If it’s lunch or dinner time when you pass through, stop for a meal. If it’s not, stop for a drink and a rest.

The landmark by which you can identify Tarabya from the Bosphorus is the big Grand Tarabya Hotel (Büyük Tarabya Oteli), now being renovated.

—by Tom Brosnahan

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