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BLOG Lesser Known Istanbul - The Asian Shores

15 August 2016 / Culture

Istanbul Asian Side

Welcome to the Asian side of Istanbul. When thinking about Istanbul for tourism, most people mention the dominating Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar and stunning Hagia Sofia on the European side. But Istanbul, situated on the Bosphorus strait, has two cities; the European and Asian sides.

Since the two sides were connected by the Bosphorus Bridge in 1973 and later the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge in 1988, the Asian side of Istanbul became a fabulous holiday and living destination. Property investors are winning if buying in popular Asian side neighbourhoods as real estate is hugely sought after as tourism increases.

Asian Istanbul, also known as the Asian side of Istanbul or Anatolia, captivates and enchants. As Turkey's vibrant and culturally rich area, Asian Istanbul offers tradition, modernity, and natural beauty.

                                                         Exploring Istanbul's Asian Side

Getting There and Getting Around

Istanbul's Asian side may be more renowned for its residential status than the most iconic locations. Still, the more relaxed pace of life, compared to the frenzy of European Istanbul, is undeniable. Residents of the popular areas of Kadıköy and Üsküdar are mostly business commuters. With an ever-improving infrastructure, the business district of Istanbul on the European side is more easily reachable than ever.

Foreign investors looking for long-term rental opportunities should take heed of the Asian side. For example, the Marmaray under Bosphorus rail link opened in 2013; it travels from Europe to Asia in just 7 minutes, and new bridges and underwater tunnels are being added rapidly. These are enormous advantages for anybody buying property in Istanbul away from the craziness and expense of the European side.

While many tourists stick to the historical European side, it cannot be forgotten that Sabiha Gökçen International Airport services Istanbul's Asian side. As the Istanbul hub for Pegasus Airlines and Turkish Airlines, alongside many European and Arab budget airlines, the Asian side of this vibrant city hosts many visitors.

With their better-planned living spaces, relaxed atmosphere, iconic landmarks, waterfront mansions and more access to green areas and coastlines, these charming residential neighbourhoods of the Asian side are fast attracting tourists looking to escape Istanbul's notorious crowds and holiday let opportunities should not go unconsidered, especially with so many reliable travel links to the other side. Most people tend to head to Kadikoy and Uskudar, which are also connected to Eminönü, Karaköy and Beşiktaş on the European side by ferry.


Kadikoy's Coastal Area and the Famous Bull Statue

Kadıköy and Üsküdar form the historical cores of Istanbul's Asian side. Both were once independent cities in their own right before Istanbul's ever-growing might swallowed them up in the late 19th century. Both are lively places with large student populations that enjoy the vibrant nightlife scene on bar street and the famous Bahariye Street.

Beyond its commercial and cultural offerings, most visitors head to Bahariye Street. The energy and buzz are infectious, drawing you in and making you feel part of the vibrant Kadikoy community. Bahariye Street offers an experience that combines modern urban living with the warmth of Turkish hospitality

Kadikoy also features the Sureyya opera house, the famous Kadikoy market, music shops and coffee shops. Its narrow streets are filled with cafés, bar streets and restaurants, but with a more working class and local feel than the nightlife hotspots of the European side such as Beyoglu and Nisantasi. Do seek out the Kadikoy bull statue of the Asian side that is over 100 years old. Kadikoy bull statue is a famous place to take your photograph and a popular meeting point for locals and tourists alike.

While in Kadıköy, you may even be tempted to ride the fixed-position hot air balloon, easily recognisable by its yellow colour. For an impressive market experience on the Asian side, the Kadikoy market on a Tuesday is something to behold. Alongside many stalls, Kadikoy market is often labelled foodie heaven, among other traditional markets. Use Kadikoy's ferry terminal to get around sites of the Bosphorus Strait. Otherwise, Kadikoy's harbour is also home to the famous Kadikoy lighthouse, a notable landmark at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus Strait.

Enjoy the Waterfront Promenade of Uskudar

The district of Üsküdar, one of Istanbul's oldest-established residential areas, has a busy waterfront and many sprawling neighbourhoods. Salacak, Üsküdar's long promenade along the coast, is famous for views of the European shore, clearly showing Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque.

The most famous destination, Maiden's Tower, is now an upscale restaurant and venue for wedding parties. Catch the water taxi to Maiden's Tower and enjoy an evening of fine dining. Classic Ottoman wooden houses can also be found in the streets of Salacak behind the coast.

The Asian Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, not to be confused with the European version of the same name, also known as İskele Camii (Mosque of the Pier) due to its location next to Üsküdar ferry terminal, is one of Istanbul's most impressive mosques.

Beylerbeyi Palace, designed by infamous architect Sarkis Baylan between 1861 and 1865, and commissioned by Sultan Abdulaziz, lies under the legs of the Bosphorus Bridge. Set amongst an attractive garden, the palace's French neo-baroque style retains traditional old-city Ottoman traits in the selamık (men's quarters) and the harem (women's and family quarters). More about Uskudar.


Ride the Nostalgic Tram of Asian Istanbul

An exciting thing to do in Kadikoy is to ride the heritage tram, which travels in a circle starting at the station behind the pier. The tram passes through Altiyol, Bahariye, Moda and Muhurdar neighbourhoods before returning to its starting point. Seeing city life, passing the main port and shopping street before squeezing its way through the narrow residential backstreets with their colourful wooden-clad houses is fantastic.

Shopping on Bagdat Avenue

Put aside the shopping malls because Bağdat Caddesi (Baghdad Avenue), with its roadside cafés, trendy stores and high-end restaurants shaded by trees and wistfully scattered among fantastic shopping outlets, is impressive. The road lies parallel to the Marmara coast and is named so as it once marked the start of a road that connected Istanbul with Baghdad.

Today, the fashionable road offers department stores, fashion stores of world-famous brands, local and international cuisine restaurants, vibrant nightlife, art galleries, and luxury car dealers. It is also the celebration centre of Asian Istanbul, just as Taksim is to the European side.

Welcome to the Moda Neighbourhood

Moda neighbourhood occupying the peninsula just south of Kadikoy is an old, quiet, but cosmopolitan part of Istanbul and is also home to Moda Pier. Some neo-classical architecture in the historic district can still be found, and parks are ideal for evening strolls and drinks while gazing upon the minaret and dome-filled skyline on the other side of the Bosphorus.

Bohemian Moda features independent record shops, ateliers, small theatres, rare bookstores, and many places to enjoy a traditional Turkish breakfast. Chic geeks are never too far away from comic book stores; if you are looking for an antique deal, Moda is the place to be.

Moda attracts the talented artists of Istanbul, the crafters behind handmade bags and clothes, dolls and jewellery sold at the front of their workshops. Young designers and artists with working studios and exhibition spaces are easy to find. Hidden exhibitions can be found in the strangest places, such as the basement of publishers like Torna.


The Iconic Haydarpasa Train Station

Haydarpasa train Station, built by the Germans in 1908 in a distinctive Teutonic-castle style, is no longer a working station since 2013 but is still one of the Asian side's most famous historical landmarks. Apparently deliberately built with this architectural style in mind because, in the age of railways, it was the point at which passengers from deep inland Asia had their first sight of Europe, located across the Bosphorus. The train station was once the busiest and perhaps Europe's most storied and romantic train line, the Orient Express, which ran from Paris to Istanbul between 1883 and 1977. Today the train station is the most famous historical landmark of Asian Istanbul.

Other Things to Do in Asian Istanbul

Other historic sites on the Asian side of Istanbul include Çamlica Hill. On the top is a public park with cafes that have distinctly Ottoman atmospheres. The Asian Side Toy Museum is also a favourite, founded by poet Sunay Akın. Housed in a historical mansion in the Göztepe neighbourhood, just east of Kadıköy, the museum features 2000 toys, including a French violin from 1817 and an American doll from 1820.

The Anadolu Citadel's interior may not be open to the public, but this medieval building is worth stumbling upon. Somewhat smaller and older than its European counterpart, the citadel is situated on the meadow where the tranquil Göksu River empties into the Bosphorus, surrounded by traditional wooden houses. Suppose you venture further on the Asian side of Istanbul. In that case, Içmeler near Tuzla features Istanbul's only hot spring and is a great place to try local specialities. Lastly, catch the ferry from Kadikoy to the famous Princes Islands.

Buying Property in Asian Istanbul

Beyond the aesthetic appeal, the Asian Side of Istanbul offers amenities and conveniences that cater to your every need. From world-class shopping centres and trendy boutiques to renowned schools and healthcare facilities, everything you require is within easy reach. Furthermore, the Asian side's well-connected transportation network ensures effortless access to the European side through ferries and the Marmaray commuter rail line from Gebze, making it ideal for those seeking both worlds.

Investing in property on the Asian side is a smart financial move and an opportunity to become part of thriving communities. Moreover, the real estate market in the Asian side of Istanbul is witnessing remarkable growth, making it an attractive investment opportunity. Whether you are seeking stable returns on investment or a second home in a rapidly developing region, the Asian side of Istanbul presents promising propositions.

Contact our experienced real estate professionals, who will guide you through every step, ensuring seamless and rewarding experiences. Alternatively, browse our portfolio of apartments and villas for sale on the Asian side of Istanbul.

Also, Read About European Istanbul

As you enter European Istanbul, you are immediately immersed in its rich history. The area features renowned architectural wonders, including the majestic Hagia Sophia, the grand Topkapi Palace, and the awe-inspiring Blue Mosque. But, beyond its historical treasures, European Istanbul boasts vibrant and cosmopolitan atmospheres. The bustling districts of Beyoglu and İstiklal Avenue testify to Istanbul's modern face with their trendy cafes, chic boutiques, and lively nightlife. More About the European side.

Also About Istanbul

Upmarket Residential Areas: Whether you are looking at the Asian side or the European side of Istanbul, this article talks about upmarket districts. These areas promote fine living, and many surround the Bosphorus Strait to offer the famous waterfront lifestyle of Istanbul.

Where Should I live in Istanbul? This article will help those considering a move to Istanbul who are unsure of which area to buy property. Don't forget, though, our real estate agents are on hand via the chat feature or telephone to help you make a real estate investment in Istanbul, Turkey.

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