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Princess Islands:
4 Most Visited Islands in Istanbul

4 Most Visited and Beautiful Princess Islands in Istanbul

 

Princess Islands are 4 islands are generally called Adalar (Islands) in Turkish.  They are known as; Buyukada, Heybeliada, Burgazada and Kinaliada. Sedafa is the fifth resident island, but not as famous as the other 4 princess islands, which is a small settlement. The name of the islands are known from the Byzantine period.

 

Princess Islands have regular ferries serve by taking passengers to 4 of these islands on particular days of the week. These ferries take passengers from various parts of the city. Like Bostanci, Kadikoy and Kartal neighborhoods on the Asian side, Sirkeci and Kabatas regions on the European side.

 

 

Driving is not allowed on the islands, except for those belonging to the local municipality for public works. So you are supposed to walk, or rent a bicycle or horse-drawn transport. Many local people in the city have their own summer house, or rent houses on the island. They go there for swimming or picnicking on small beaches for weekends.

 

Istanbul has two important touristic sights that will last almost all day. Visiting one or more of the Princess Islands and a vessel tour on the Bosphorus. The Princess Islands are a compound of 9 islands on the Asian shores of Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara.

 

BuyukAda, or “Big Island”

 

Buyukada is the major and most famous among other Princess Islands. It covers an area of 5.4 square kilometers and a population of about 7,500, which increases 10 to 15 times more in summer. The island's older name was Prinkipo. You will encounter historical places from the 6th century on the Island. Such as Aya Yorgi Church and Monastery, Ayios Dimitrios Church, Hristos Church and Monastery. Also, there are historical buildings such as the Hamidiye Mosque built by Abdülhamit Sultan II.

When you take a horse-drawn vehicle, you can select between a long path, or a short way to see the island. The south of Buyukada is very quit and forested, but its north side is a vast residential area near the pier.  So most of the private yachts dock at the south end.

 Dil Burnu promontory situated in the West of Island is the most preferred place for picnickers. Yoruk Ali beach, Prenses beach, Kumsal beach and Nakibey beach are allowed to be used by local people for swimming. There is a wide number of restaurants, cafes and shops tsaking place around the pier. You can visit the island's museum near the pier. It is also feasible to spend the night in comfortable hotels in Buyukada.

 

 

 

Heybeliada – Princess Islands

 

Heybeliada, the 2nd biggest island in the archipelago, was called Khalkitis or Chalki throughout the Byzantine period and had lots of copper mines that were closed in recent times.

There are lots of charming buildings on the Heybeliada Island, like the Naval Academy, established in 1773, and the Greek Orthodox High School. There is a great high school building on the north hill and in the mid of pine trees, but it is not open today.

Halki Palace is a famous hotel established for parents of students participating in the Greek high school in 1862. The palace was ruined by fire and renovated in 1995 as a hotel. A small church committed to the Virgin Mary takes place in the yard of the Naval Academy.

There are 2 valuable museums in Heybeliada Princess Islands. One museum is the home of the 2nd president of the Republic, Inonu, and the other museum is the house of the early Republican writer Huseyin Rahmi Gurpinar.

The Mill which is known as Degirmen is a beautiful picnic area on the side overlooking the island of Kasik. On this side of Heybeli Island, there is a public beach and water sports club situated in a beautiful bay. There are lots of running and hiking paths in the hills and pine gardens.

Many restaurants and cafeterias are established around the pier, which is very famous mainly in the summer on weekends. Also, the princess island - Heybeliada is very crowded in the winter months due to many schools and sanatoriums.

 

 

Burgazada

 

Burgazada is the 3rd greatest of the Princess Islands which was also famous as Panormos in the Hellenistic period. In recent times, the island is known for the home of Sait Faik Abasiyanik, a Turkish story writer since the beginning of the 20th century. His home is turned into a museum now and also there is a cafe he frequently visited at Kalpazan Kaya which has a magnificent view of the sunset.

Other places to see on this beautiful island are some Byzantine churches and monasteries, like Ayasoannes Prodromos (Aya Yani) church, Christos Metamorfosis Monastery and Aya Gheorghios (Aya Yorgi) Church and Monastery. It has a beautiful soaring and water sports club and lots of rocky beaches, but the island does not provide much accommodation place overnight. Burgazada was surrounded by pine forests, but unluckily in 2003, it was destroyed by a huge fire.

Other places to see on this beautiful island are some Byzantine churches and monasteries, like Ayasoannes Prodromos (Aya Yani) church, Christos Metamorfosis Monastery and Aya Gheorghios (Aya Yorgi) Church and Monastery. It has a beautiful soaring and water sports club and lots of rocky beaches, but the island does not provide much accommodation place overnight. Burgazada was surrounded by pine forests, but unluckily in 2003, it was destroyed by a huge fire.

 

 

 

Kinaliada | Princess Islands

 

Kinaliada, the smallest island among these 4 Princess Islands which has wonderful summer houses that local people and visitors rent for the season. A great number of Armenian people have an interest in this island to come for their summer holidays. Its name is known as Kinali, which comes from its reddish color due to the iron and copper extracted in the past.

Its beautiful beaches draw the attention of many people and visitors from the city on which Ayazma beach is one of the best examples of them. The Water Sports Club also has an Olympic pool. The island has great rocks, so there are not lots of trees around.

There are lots of perfect restaurants and cafes along the pier where there is an extraordinary mosque on the left of the pier. The Hristos Monastery is situated on top of the hill. It was established by the Byzantine emperor Romanus IV (Diogenes) when exiled and where it was buried. The local people and visitors are allowed to visit the monastery only on Fridays. Due to the size of the island, there is no horse carriage on the island. You can have an enjoyable walk everywhere you want. There is not a wide range of alternatives for those who want to stay the night on the island.

 

 

 

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