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ANADOLU HİSARI

"The Anatolian Castle"

ahis1Anadolu Hisarı is to the Asian side of İstanbul what Rumeli Hisarı is to the European side: namely, a suburb dominated by a castle built to control the approach to what was then Constantinope along the Bosphorus. 

Around Anadolu Hisarı

The main reason to come for a visit would be to take a closer look at the ruins of the castle although you cannot actually get inside it and the coast road slices straight through what would have been the middle of it. 

The original castle was the handiwork of Sultan Beyazıd I (1481-1512), great-grandfather of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror who later reinforced it. Planning an assault on Constantinople, he selected a site for the castle that had once been occupied by a temple to Jupiter. 

Completed in 1394, his castle had a central keep with a surrounding wall as well as an outer barbican with three towers that still stands today. From it the sultan launched an assault on Constantinople in 1395 which only came to an end in 1402 when the invasion of Timur the Lame (Tamurlane) resulted in his being carried off in chains to Ankara. 

In a garden behind the castle is a monument of minor interest, a namazgah or open-air prayer platform probably dating back to the 18th century and still in use for Friday prayers in summer.

Beside the castle flows the Göksu river. Today the line-up of boats along its banks makes for a pretty sight but it's hard now to recall the days when it, together with the Küçüksu river further   , made up a pleasure ground called "the Sweet Waters of Asia" to which people would flock for picnics and other entertainments. ahis2

The shore is still partially lined with yalıs, the fine wooden mansions that were once an even more impressive feature of the Bosphorus than they are today. This is where you'll find the oldest surviving yalı, the Köprülü Amcazade Hüseyin Paşa Yalı, dating back to 1698 when it was built for the Grand Vizier Huseyin Paşa. Only its central section still survives sitting in the shadow of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet (FSM) Köprüsü, the Second Bosporus Bridge, that was erected in 1988.

It was in this yalı that the Treaty of Carlowitz that ended the Austro-Ottoman War of 1683-99 was thrashed out. Its disadvantagous terms are usually seen as marking the point at which Ottoman power started to go into decline. 

Almost next door is the lovely 19th-century Zarif Mustafa Paşa Yalı which was once home to a strand of hair from the Prophet Mohammed's beard (since donated to Fatih Cami). Like many of the yalıs it has had a colourful history, having been used at one stage to store weapons that would be smuggled to the Turkish resistance in Anatolia in the aftermath of the First World War as well as having been hit by passing ships on two separate occasions. It now belongs to a member of the wealthy Sabancı family. 

Also worth looking out for (and the yalıs are really better observed from the water than from land) is the Hekimbaşı Salih Efendi Yalı, named after the physician to the sultans who lived here in the mid 19th century. One of its most famous visitors was the British travel writer, Freya Stark. Its still painted the traditional rusty red colour that was known as "Ottoman rose".

TEMA-Vehbi Koç Doğal Kültür Merkezi

TEMA is an organization that has done a great job of reafforesting many parts of Turkey, and its centre on the hills above Anadolu Hisarı is home to many flowering plants. It's long overdue for  some maintenance but the Bosphorus views are spectacular.

Transport info

There is a limited but timetabled ferry service to Anadolu Hisarı (http://sehirhatlari.com.tr/en/timetable/cengelkoy-istinye-368.html) and this is certainly the nicest way to get to and from the suburb in summer. 

Otherwise you can pick up a bus in the 15 series from Üsküdar and trundle along the coast road. 

Nearby areas

Kandilli

Kanlıca

Küçüksu

 

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