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27 July 2022 / Travel

Uskudar Area Guide and Things to Do

The Uskudar area of Asian Istanbul is not as highly spoken of as other districts. Yet, for curious travelers and house hunters looking for an alternative social scene, Uskudar delivers much more than expected. Bordered by Beykoz, Umraniye, and Atasehir districts facing the European Besiktas and Fatih districts, the shoreline Bosphorus location boosts the daily population alongside neighboring Kadikoy.

Known as a conservative district of Istanbul and home to roughly 500,000 million people, historical traces exist in mosques, houses, and Ottoman fountains of Uskudar. Additionally, vibes from everyday life and social communities thrive in cafes, restaurants, and traditional shopping districts. But one major bonus of Uskudar is that the shoreline location is a major ferry port to Istanbul's European continent. This makes it easier for commuters and travelers who want to know more about this Istanbul district.

Guide to the Uskudar Area of Istanbul - Turkey

1: How to Get to Uskudar

Regular and affordable ferry services to Uskudar leave from Eminonu, Kabatas, and Besiktas on Istanbul's European side. However, we like the Marmaray train running under the Bosphorus from Kazlicesme to Uskudar. The clean and cheap cross-country bus system arrives daily from other places within Istanbul. Otherwise, Sabiha Gokcen airport serves the Istanbul Asian side, including Uskudar, with a frequent, year-round flight schedule. The transfer time from the airport is just 40 minutes.

Uskudar Istanbul Ferry

2: Maidens Tower

Maidens Tower, called Kiz Kulesi in Turkish, is an iconic image of Istanbul. The tower sits on a small rock opposite the Uskudar shoreline in the middle of the Bosphorus. The building might be a small, humble monument of Istanbul compared to more significant places like the Topkapi Palace. Yet, it still commands respect as an ideal place to dine because of the urban legends behind it. They say a fortune teller told a king his daughter would die. Hence he built the tower and sent her to live there for many years. Unfortunately, one day, a basket of fruit arrived, and a snake within the basket bit her and ensured her demise.

3: Camlica Hill For Amazing Views

Head to Camlica Hill in Uskudar for amazing views because, as the name suggests, the hilltop location presents front-row seats to the all-encompassing Golden Horn and Bosphorus. The hilltop spot stands at 288 meters above sea level. Hence the highly underrated views deserve more admiration in travel magazines and guide books. The local council runs Camlica hill and park, and they do a marvelous job of making relaxing places among the hustle and bustle of Istanbul city. Expect trees, flowers, and plants with spectacular greenery among tea houses. Also, keep an eye out for the Camlica mosque and tower.

4: The Sultan Ahmet Fountain of Uskudar

Fountains are iconic landmarks across Istanbul city. They reflect Ottoman days when locals headed there to get water. In Uskudar, the most famous is the Sultanahmet fountain, built in 1728. The Ottoman rococo architecture instantly makes this fountain stand out by drawing observers' eyes to intricate details. The fountain was dedicated to Emetullah Rabia Gulnus, the Sultan's mother, buried in Uskudar. Initially sitting on the Bosphorus shorefront to serve weary travelers coming in by boat, the fountain was moved in 1933. Two restorations have taken place to restore the fountain to its original glory, proving Uskudar's dedication to preserving historical landmarks.

5: Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

Another thing Istanbul is famous for is its historical mosques. After the city was built on seven hills to replicate Rome, the Ottomans naturally made their mark by putting mosques on these seven hills. The mosque to seek out in Uskudar is Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, a shining reflection of Ottoman architecture from the 16th century. Built by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, who made his mark on Istanbul for centuries to come through timeless, classic buildings, everyday travelers arrive to admire the place of worship. However, there are 187 mosques in Uskudar, and 56 are classed as having historical importance, so keep an eye out for them when exploring.

Uskudar Istanbul Locations

6: Kuzguncuk Neighbourhood

Turks love exploring Kuzguncuk, a neighborhood of Uskudar with old repainted Ottoman mansions displaying vibrant colors and marvelous architecture. The most famous sits in Perihan Abla street, but do explore other areas of Kuzguncuk for landmarks like old churches, mosques, and art galleries. Local boutique shops portray local community culture. Many Turkish soap operas film in Kuzguncuk because wealthy people owned summer homes during Ottoman times. These days, most are privately held, yet worth viewing the architecture and individuality from the outside.

7: Beylerbeyi Palace of Uskudar

Beylerbeyi translates into "Lord of Lords," This palace was an Ottoman summer mansion used to host foreign dignitaries like French Empress Eugene, Naser al-Din Shah Qajar of Iran, and the duke and duchess of Windsor when visiting Istanbul. However, don't be fooled by the small size. Luxurious interior features include a reception hall with an indoor fountain and pure silk Hereke carpets, Turkey's most expensive and exquisite. A famous take behind this palace is when Empress Eugenie of France entered the palace in the arms of Abdul-Aziz Sultan, the Sultan's mother slapped her across the face. Covering 300 square meters, tour the harem, barn stables, and garden pavilions before heading to other sights to see in Uskudar.

8: Visit Cengelkoy Village

Cengelkoy is a favourite getaway for locals at the weekends who want to escape the bustle of the Istanbul center and enjoy traditional Turkish breakfasts with stunning Bosphorus views. Painters and photographers also flock here for beautiful views and to produce stunning masterpieces. The shoreline is home to Sadullah Pasa Seaside mansion, one of many famous yali mansions built during Ottoman times. In addition, the quirky car museum gives a good insight into the automobile industry.

9: Neighbouring Kadikoy

Neighbouring Kadikoy is popular with middle-class families and students because of the large university. It stands out the famous Bagdat Street, with various bars, cafes, books shops, and cinemas, as well as the lively nightlife scene and fish market. Haydarpasa train station is perhaps the most famous landmark, hosting trains running the famous Orient Express route.

10: From Uskudar to Sile

A bus service operates from Uskudar and heads to Sile on the Black Sea. The ride takes just 1 hour, so if you wonder what to do at the weekend, jump onboard. Istanbul tour agents also sell tickets that visit Kum Baba tomb and explore the region’s history of cotton production. The famous beach is a great place to hang out, but the surrounding green mountainsides draw crowds with scenic landscapes. Book a basic hotel to extend your time in Sile and spend days fishing, snorkeling, and sailing down the Goksu river.

11: Selimeye Barracks and Florence Nightingale Museum

British soldiers used Selimiye Barracks during the Crimean War, and Florence Nightingale came here in 1854 to treat wounded British soldiers. The room where Florence Nightingale stayed is now a museum and worth visiting. As well as being the 1st Army Command headquarters, the Military School Museum is in the South-East tower, and Florence Nightingale Museum is in the North-West tower.

12: Mimar Sinan Market Place and Hamam

Once again, this landmark of Uskudar was the work of Mimar Sinan, the famous Ottoman architect. Originally built as a marketplace to support the income for Toptasi mosque, the famous traveler Evliya Celebi remarked about the interior hamam and said, "It is very spacious, the air is pleasant, and the structure is pleasant. They have cute, beautiful, clean tellaks and blue loincloths." In 1932, a wealthy citizen purchased the marketplace, built three more adjoining shops, and converted the bath into a carpenter's shop. However, in 1962, another wealthy citizen of Uskudar restored the structure to its former glory.  

Living in Uskudar Istanbul

13: Living in Uskudar

Many foreigners look to Uskudar when they are looking for somewhere to live or somewhere to invest in real estate. As a prominent district of Istanbul, Uskudar's vibrant real estate market forever turns with buyers and sellers, providing high liquidity and potential capital appreciation. There are many separate neighborhoods within Uskudar. If you are considering investing in property and want to know more about living in Uskudar, call us today, and chat with a local agent. Alternatively, browse our portfolio of property in Istanbul, and use the contact form to find out more information via phone or email or to arrange a viewing.

About Other Districts in Istanbul

Beyoglu: Sitting in European Istanbul, next to the Golden Horn, Beyoglu presents another face to Istanbul, away from the historical Sultanahmet district with UNESCO World heritage sites. Previously called Pera up until the 20th century, Beyoglu includes smaller neighborhoods, all of which are a delight to explore. In addition, for property, Beyoglu commands high prices per square meter in Istanbul, but home buyers tap into an authentic district with much to offer.

Besiktas: Welcome to the Besiktas area of Istanbul, Turkey. Besiktas's importance to Istanbul ranges from its football club to historical attractions to daily vibes attracting ex-pats looking to live in Istanbul. Besiktas is also attracting increasingly more travelers who want to discover their interests. Over the last decade, Besiktas's impressive reputation has boosted to global fame.

Fatih: This central district puts Istanbul city on the global map because it hosts the most international visitors as Istanbul's bustling tourism hub. While other areas of Istanbul are bland and offer nothing in daily life, Fatih stands out with intrigue and exciting history. In recent years, the district attracted more home buyers looking for an authentic taste of Istanbul. If you have not already been to this famous district, put it on your list of places to visit after the Uskudar area of Istanbul.

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