Ortaköy Istanbul’s Cozy Village At Bosphorus


Ortaköy Neighborhood At Istanbul’s Bosphorus

Majority of the Bosphorus neighborhoods named as “Köy” which literally means “the village” in Turkish. The Istanbul Historic Peninsula and Galata was only residental areas throughout the Byzantine and Ottoman times. Whereas Bosphorus settlements were small fisherman villages with a few inhabitants.

The population of Bosphorus increased after the second half of the 19th century. The Sultan left traditional Topkapı Palace and moved to the majestic Dolmabahçe Palace. Following the Sultan, wealthy people of Istanbul built their elegant houses by the Bosphorus shores.

Ortaköy Mosque And Ortaköy Square By The Bosphorus Shore


Ortaköy Square and Ortaköy Mosque.

The Village In The Middle

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

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

Brotherhood Of Religions

Istanbul have been a house for Islam, Christianity and Judaism for hundreds of years. 1/3 of the population was non-muslim in the Ottoman period. Ortaköy is a perfect representative of this hybrid culture of Istanbul. Etz Ahayim Synagogue, Ayios Fokas Orthodox Church and Ortaköy Mosque (Büyük Mecidiye Camii) located very near to each other.

The House Cafe Restaurant At Ortakoy


A lunch at The House Cafe Ortaköy.

The House Cafe Restaurant

Coffeehouses and tea terraces surrounding the Ortaköy Square fill the seaside next to the Ortaköy Mosque. The restaurants overlooking the Bosphorus are one of Ortaköy’s prime attractions. Among all local cafes and restaurants, The House Cafe stands out as a real gem.

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


Interior of the Ortaköy Mosque © Serhat Engül

Ortaköy Mosque (Büyük Mecidiye Mosque)

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

Several masterful examples of Turkish calligraphy hanged on the interior walls of Ortaköy Mosque. These handicrafts are executed by Sultan Abdülmecid I himself, who was also an talented calligrapher.

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

Esma Sultan Yalisi

Wedding party at Esma Sultan Yalısı

Esma Sultan Yalısı

Bosphorus shores are filled up with historical Ottoman houses. A beautiful house was owned by Esma Sultan, the sister of Mahmud II, a distinctive Ottoman Sultan who lived in 19th century. Mahmud II instituted series of reforms during the late Ottoman Empire period. He aimed modernization in the Ottoman administration and army.

Esma Sultan’s house was located in the heart of Ortaköy. It’s been a victim of a fire and seriously damaged. The house is partly restorated and reinforced with steel and thick glass. Nowadays, it’s being used as a impressive wedding and concert hall with its great Bosphorus view.

Best Walking Route At Istanbul’s Bosphorus Shores From Ortakoy To Bebek


Walking path from Ortaköy to Bebek.

Walking From Ortaköy To Bebek

The path from Ortaköy to Bebek, considered as the most enjoyable walking route of the city. The Ortaköy is a cozy place to hang around, whereas Bebek is a trendy village with its sophisticated and wealthy residents. Some of the best fish restaurants of the city are located at Bebek. Providing a breath-taking beauty of Bebek Bay and Bosphorus.

Most popular night clubs of Istanbul: Reina and Sortie located next to each other in Kuruçeşme, a neighborhood right between the Ortaköy and Bebek.

Map Of Bosphorus Villages


Map of the Bosphorus showing the location of Ortaköy and Bebek.

Hotels In Ortaköy

Ortaköy houses two most prestigious hotels of Istanbul. Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus and Çırağan Palace Kempinski Hotel. These two hotels are located Bosphorus waterfront and provides the best view of Istanbul’s renowned Bosphorus. Both hotels are very expensive, but even if you would not stay; it’s strongly recommended to have some drinks to enjoy the lovely atmosphere.


Stunning view of Bosphrous from Çırağan Palace Kempinski Hotel.

Further Recommended Reading:

Istanbul Private Tours By Local Tour Guide Serhat Engul

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Ortaköy Istanbul’s Cozy Village At Bosphorus was last modified: May 29th, 2017 by Serhat Engül

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