Beykoz is a district in the suburbs of Istanbul, Turkey at the upper end of the Bosphorus on the Anatolian side. Beykoz includes everything from the streams of Küçüksu and Göksu (just before Anadolu Hisarı) up to the opening of the Bosphorus into the Black Sea, and the villages in the hinterland as far as the river of Riva. This is one of the most pleasant and peaceful districts of Istanbul, with much greenery still intact.
Places to see
The Bosphorus coast road runs up to Beykoz from Beylerbeyi (just below the Bosphorus Bridge) and there are roads down to the coast from the Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge too. The district can also be reached by water of course; by ferry from Eminönü, Beşiktaş. There are also smaller boats from Yeniköy to Beykoz, and from Bebek or Emirgan to the villages of Kanlıca or Anadolu Hisarı.
Of the three most distinctive buildings on the way up the Bosphorus to Beykoz, one is a classic Ottoman imperial hunting lodge (Küçüksü Kasrı); one is much older, the castle of Anadolu Hisarı was constructed by the Ottomans during the build up to the conquest in order to secure the Bosphorus for the Turkish armies; and one is more recent, the prominent white tower on the hill above Kanlıca is Hidiv Kasrı, built in 1907 as the holiday home of the Khedive of Egypt. Hidiv Kasrı is now a restaurant set in a very attractive park. Kanlıca and Anadolu Hisarı are pleasant vıllages with cafes on the waterfront to sit and take tea.
Along the coast are some of the most expensive houses in the city and many politicians and famous people in Turkey have villas here. Some of the grandest of the huge wooden Ottoman seaside houses called 'yalı' can be found from Anadolu Hisarı up to Beykoz itself. As well as the obvious attraction of living by the water the large areas of forest parkland on hillside along much of this coast make the Beykoz waterfront a peaceful retreat from the city. But the water is the clincher: the scent of the sea coming off the Bosphorus, people fishing, the huge ships sliding by, the sound of foghorns in the evening; no wonder the restaurants and nightclubs on the shore are the classiest in the city, and the coast before Beykoz has its share of these - clubs such as Hayal Kahvesi or Club 29 in Çubuklu, restaurants such as Körfez or Lacivert (both near Anadolu Hisarı). Much of the coast is built on unfortunately, and the buses that drive the coast road are a law unto themselves but there are still plenty of spots on the waterfront to eat, drink, fish or just sit. In places such as Yalıköy there are boats moored up selling grilled mackerel.
In Beykoz itself there is a large park on the hillside (Beykoz Korusu), and a number of attractive Ottoman fountains. The town centre also has a village feel to it, with smallish, aging buildings, many of them houses rather than blocks of flats, especially on the hills that climb up away from the coast. Being far from the city infrastructure such as natural gas is taking its time to arrive, but the general peacefulness of neighbourhood and the possibility of a Bosphorus view more than compensate. There is however very little in the way of night-life, or even evening-life, or smart places to eat and drink this far up the Bosphorus (although one or two places are opening up now)
Beyond Beykoz there are large areas of forested countryside where the people of Istanbul come for picnics at the weekend. And it is then that Beykoz suffers some of the traffic congestion that so plagues the city as a whole. Some popular picnic spots include: The upper Bosphorus villages of Anadolu Kavağı, Anadolu Feneri and Poyrazköy. Kavak being particularly popular as the last stop on the Bosphorus ferry cruises, where people stop to eat fish and walk up to the castle on the hill. Fener and Poyraz are smaller but very pleasant fishing villages; The Black Sea village of Riva; where you can swim but you must be careful as this is near the mouth of the Bosphorus and sometimes there are dangerous currents. The inland around and between Cumhuriyet Köyü, Ali Bahadır, Değirmendere, Akbaba, Dereseki and Polonezköy are all popular retreats, and new roads are being put through to service the luxury housing that is going up in places.
There are a number of tombs of Muslim saints and holy places that also attract visitors, particularly the tomb of the saint Yuşa (a nephew of the Prophet Mohammed), on a hill just before Anadolu Kavağı.
by Fatih Kocaoglu- flickr.com
by Volkan HVC - flickr.com