Istanbul is a city that spans great bodies of water, joining the continents of Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus.
Although to most people "Old Istanbul" means the historic European peninsula with Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and Byzantine Hippodrome, the first known settlement in this area was actually at Chalcedon (Kadıköy) on the Asian shore.
Today the Asian districts of Istanbul, including Üsküdar(Scutari), Kadıköy and other districts along the eastern Sea of Marmara shore, are more than just residential suburbs.
Much of the city's growth is eastward on the Asian side. The burgeoning business center at Kozyatağı, the YHT High-Speed Train station at Pendik, and Sabiha Gökçen Airport at Kurtköy, are important Istanbul destinations in their own right.Any visitor can spend a few pleasant, interesting hours on the Asian shore, but some choose to make it their Istanbul hotel base—with good reason. More...
Take a ferry from the Eminönü ferry docks to Üsküdar, or the Marmaray from Sirkeci, visit Üsküdar's historic mosques and its lively shopping districts for a few hours, then float back to the European side, having taken an intercontinental cruisein a day!
Go north from Üsküdar by bus or taxi to Beylerbeyi to visit the gem of an Ottoman palace of that name. More...
Go south from Üsküdar by bus, taxi or Marmaray and Metro to Kadıköy, a bustling suburb with active ferry docks, city bus station, and a Metro station. Wander through the market, just inland from the ferry docks and Metro station, and the Moda neighborhood, just a few minutes' stroll south, for its pleasant tea gardens offering wonderful views of Old Istanbul.
Farther southeast along the Sea of Marmara shore are some of Istanbul's nicest garden suburbs: Fenerbahçe, Suadiye and Bostancı, reachable by Metro, bus, or by fast seabus catamaran ferry from Kabataş or Yenikapı.
The Princes Islands in the Sea of Marmara are also reachable from Bostancı, and from Pendik a car ferry sails to Yalova on the Marmara's southeastern shore.
—by Tom Brosnahan