Things to Do in Ortakoy Neighborhood, Istanbul

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Ortakoy Neighborhood in Istanbul

Things to Do in Ortakoy Neighborhood, Istanbul

Most of the Bosphorus neighborhoods named as “Köy” which literally means “the village” in Turkish. The Bosphorus villages had only a few inhabitants up until the 19th Century. The Old City (Constantinople) and Galata (Pera) were the major residental areas throughout the Byzantine and Ottoman eras.

When Ottoman Sultan left traditional Topkapi Palace in order to live in the modern Dolmabahce Palace, the prominent people of Istanbul started to built their elegant houses by the Bosphorus.

Things to Do in Ortakoy Neighborhood

  • The Village In The Middle

Ortakoy literally means “the village in the middle” since it’s centrally located on the European Side of Istanbul. Ortakoy is Istanbul’s meeting place for the weekends. It provides a cozy atmosphere with its trendy boutiques, cafés and restaurants.

Locals come to Ortakoy to have a breakfast, hang around the square and stroll through its lovely street market. Majority of the folk eat Kumpir (baked jacket potatoes) at lunch before leaving Ortakoy.

Ortakoy Neighborhood is Located in Bosphorus Area
Istanbul Ortakoy Neighborhood

Ortakoy Neighborhood Square

  • Brotherhood Of Religions

Istanbul has been a house for Islam, Christianity and Judaism for hundreds of years. 1/3 of the population was non-muslim in the Ottoman period. Ortakoy is a perfect representative of this hybrid culture of Istanbul.

Etz Ahayim Synagogue, Ayios Fokas Orthodox Church and Ortakoy Mosque (Büyük Mecidiye Camii) located very near to each other.

Three Religions in Istanbul

Brotherhood Of Religions

  • Ortakoy Mosque (Buyuk Mecidiye Mosque)

This eclectic Baroque mosque is the work of Ottoman architect Nikoğos Balyan. Nikoğos was a member of a famous Armenian family of chief architects. Balyan family served Ottoman royalty during 19th century and they left their mark on Istanbul. Nikoğos is also known as the designer of majestic Dolmabahce Palace.

Some good examples of Turkish calligraphy hanged on the interior walls of Ortakoy Mosque. These handicrafts are made by Sultan Abdülmecid I himself, who was also a talented calligrapher.

Ortakoy Mosque is built by Sultan Abdülmecid in 1854. Dedicated to its founder, it’s also known as Buyuk Mecidiye Mosque.

Interior of Ortakoy Mosque
Ortakoy Mosque Istanbul Bosphorus

Ortakoy (Buyuk Mecidiye) Mosque

  • Esma Sultan Yalısı

Bosphorus shores are sided with historical Ottoman houses. One of these houses was owned by Esma Sultan, the sister of Mahmud II. Sultan Mahmud II instituted series of reforms during the late Ottoman Empire period. He aimed modernization in the state administration and army.

Esma Sultan‘s house is located in the heart of Ortakoy. Unfortunately building is almost destroyed due to a fire. The house has been restorated recently and reinforced with steel and thick glass. Nowadays, it’s being used as an impressive wedding hall with its great Bosphorus view.

Esma Sultan Yalisi
Istanbul Ortakoy Things To Do Esma Sultan Yalısı

Wedding party at Esma Sultan Yalisi

  • The House Cafe Restaurant

Coffeehouses and tea terraces surrounding the Ortakoy Square. Restaurants overlooking to the Bosphorus provides a great view. Among all local restaurants, The House Cafe stands out with its great location.

The House Cafe is a waterfront restaurant that is located next to Ortakoy pier. Some Bosphorus boats stop right next to the restaurant, therefore it provides a great scene for your souvenir photos.

Where to Eat in Ortakoy? The House Cafe
The House Cafe Ortakoy

The House Cafe Restaurant in Ortakoy

Have a Breakfast in Ortakoy
Turkish Breakfast Place at The Bosphorus

Great Turkish Breakfast by The House Cafe

  • Walking from Ortakoy to Bebek

The path from Ortakoy to Bebek, considered as the most enjoyable walking route of the city. The Ortakoy is a cozy place to hang around, whereas Bebek is a trendy neighborhood with its sophisticated and wealthy residents.

Some of Istanbul’s best fish restaurants are located at Bebek. Providing a breath-taking view of Bebek Bay and Bosphorus. I can recommend you Poseidon Restaurant as the best seafood restaurant in Bebek.

One of the most popular night clubs in Istanbul, Sortie located in Kurucesme, a neighborhood right between the Ortakoy and Bebek.

Walking Route from Ortakoy To Bebek
Ortakoy to Bebek

Take a Walk from Ortakoy to Bebek

Where To Stay in Ortakoy?

Ortakoy houses two of the most prestigious hotels in Istanbul. Four Seasons Hotel at the Bosphorus and Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel. These two hotels are located at the heart of the Bosphorus and provides the best view of Bosphorus.

Both hotels are expensive, but even if you would not stay; it’s strongly recommended to have some drinks to enjoy the lovely atmosphere. You are also advised to check Hotels in Istanbul with Bosphorus view blog post.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel at The Bosphorus
ciragan-palace-kempinski-hotel-istanbul

Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel at The Bosphorus

Four Seasons Hotel at The Bosphorus
Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus

Four Seasons Hotel at The Bosphorus

Where is Ortakoy Located? Map of Bosphorus

Ortakoy Neighborhood on a Map

Map of Bosphorus


Further Recommended Reading


Things to Do in Ortakoy Blog Post By Serhat Engul

Things to Do in Ortakoy Neighborhood, Istanbul 2019

Things to Do in Ortakoy Neighborhood, Istanbul was last modified: February 1st, 2019 by Serhat Engül
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