Çamlıca has been much in the news recently because of controversial plans to build a huge mosque here that would be visible all over İstanbul. Otherwise it is best known for two large hilltop parks.

Büyük Çamlıca was well-known to 19th-century visitors as a beauty spot commanding great Bosphorus views. Its revival was inspired by the master conservator Çelik Gülersoy. Today, sadly, that beauty is somewhat diminished by the serried ranks of radio and phone masts that surmount it, although the views remain matchless and there’s a great “Ottoman” cafe in which to take tea.

Küçük Çamlıca keeps a lower profile. However, it too boasts panoramic views and attractive new buildings that replicate the area around the İftariye, the little kiosk in Topkapı Sarayı where the sultans used to break their fast during Ramadan. Some might find its secluded paths more inviting than those of Büyük Çamlıca.

The parks aside, you might also like to look for what was once the Çamlıca Girls High School, actually in the Acıbadem district. This building was originally planned as a private home by Vice Admiral Ahmed Ratıp Paşa who commissioned it from the architect, Kemaleddin Bey. Ahmed Ratıp Paşa played a role in  the creation of the Hejaz railway intended to link the existing rail line from Constantinople to Damascus to Mecca and Medina but was accused of taking bribes and dismissed.

In 1938 the building was turned into a girls' high school. It was made redundant by the building of a purpose-designed school next door and now stands empty and unvisitable. 

Transport info

You can get to Çamlıca by bus from Üsküdar. 

Nearby areas



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