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YEŞİLKÖY

yesilkoy1

Old name: Hagios StephanosSan Stefano

Market: Wednesday (Yeşilköy Halkali Caddesi, Bakırköy)

If you're stuck at Atatürk Airport with time on your hands it's worth considering a trip into Yeşilköy (Green Village), a pleasant waterside suburb overlooking the Sea of Marmara.

It has lot of lovely old wooden houses and a cluster of churches all named after St Stephen, the patron saint of the area. More importantly it has a range of cafes, restaurants and bars where you're likely to get a great deal more bang for your buck than in the airport lounges. 

According to some sources Yeşilköy (Green Village) was chosen as a new name for San Stefano in 1926 by novelist Halit Ziya Uşaklıgil (1866-1945), a nature-lover and local resident.

Backstory

Yeşilköy started life as the Byzantine settlement of Hagios Stephanos, a name given to it after the bones of the first Christian martyr, St Stephen, made a temporary stop here on their way from Constantinople to Rome because of a storm. yesil2

Yeşilköy is haunted by an absence. Onee upon a time this was the site of a huge Russian Orthodox church built by the Russians between 1895 and 1989 to mark the furthest point that they reached during the Ottoman-Russian War of 1877-78 (AKA the ’93 War).

Designed by the Russian architect Bozarov, the church served as a mausoleum for 5,000 Russian soldiers, but when the Russians declared war on the Ottomans at the start of the First World War it was speedily dynamited, an event that featured in Turkey’s first motion picture The Destruction of the Russian Monument in San Stefano produced by Fuat Uzkınay in 1914.

The site in Kalatarya (Şenlikköy) is now occupied by the army. 

yesil3Catholic churchAround Yeşilköy

Most people will head straight for the water which is where the nicest restaurants - and views - are.  It's here, too, that you'll find assorted 19th-century churches, all of them named after St Stephen. The most conspicuous is the Roman Catholic church with an altarpiece depicting the saint's death by stoning in Jerusalem in  34 or 35.

The Armenian church of Surp Stepanos is in İnci Çiçeği Sokak, the Greek Orthodox church in Mirasyedi Sokak. 

Otherwise the most enjoyable thing to do here is just wonder the main streets admiring the old houses and pausing every now and then for refreshment at one of the appealing cafes.

Transport infosil4Armenian church

Dolmuşes run from near Taksim Square to Yeşilköy or you can take the Marmaray train service from Sirkeci.

The easiest way to get here from Atatürk Airport is by taxi - it's a short hop so shouldn't cost too much.

Nearby areas

Florya

yesmonWhat the lost Russian memorial church looked liked before it was blown up

 

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