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YENİKÖY

austriaAustrian Consulate and Cultural CentreOld Names: Neohorion, Nihori

While not as obviously recognisable from a Bosphorus ferry as Arnavutköy Yeniköy is nonetheless one of the suburbs with the clearest identity. It's a popular residential area with the rich and famous whose yalis (waterside mansions) lurk behind high walls and guardposts. Typically, one Yeniköy resident is Tansu Çiller, Turkey's first and so far only female prime minister (1993-96). 

Until the 1950s this was a neighbourhood with a large Greek population and two of their churches as well as one Armenian one and a synagogue survive as reminders of the more cosmopolitan past.

Around Yeniköy

As you come into Yeniköy from İstinye you will see a Shell petrol station on the water side of the road. In the small park behind it stands the fine Mihrişah Valide Sultan Çeşmesi, a lovely fountain erected in 1805 and newly restored. 

Right in the centre of Yeniköy on the main road is the tiny inconspicuous synagogue commissioned by Abraham Kamondo in 1870 so that he would have somewhere to pray while spending the summer in Yeniköy.

On the hillside behind the synagogue is the Greek Orthodox Church of Panagia (St Mary), built in 1837 and with a detached belltower. 

More obvious on a quick visit is the 19th-century Armenian Church of Surp Hovhannes Migırdıç (St John the Baptist) looming over the top of Villa Park. Behind it you will find the other two Greek Orthodox churches dedicated to Sts George and Nicholas. Both date back to the early 19th century and are in a better state of repair than the ruinous schoolhouse where Greek children once studied nearby. 

As you head out of Yeniköy towards Kalender and Tarabya you will see on the water side of the road the small Osman Reis Cami, built in 1904 on the site of a lost 17th-century mosque. It's a rare example of a mosque built in the First National style of architecture by Alexandre Vallaury who also designed the impressive Ahmed Afif Paşa Yalısı immediately behind it in with its fairy-tale turrets. Agatha Christie stayed here as a guest in 1933 while writing Murder on the Orient Express.

As you leave Yeniköy for Kalender you will pass the huge stone Cezayirliyan Yalısı on the inland side of the road. Gifted by Sultan Abdülhamid II to the Emperor Franz-Josef I, it changed hands several times in the post-WWI period before winding up back in Austrian hands. Since it now houses the Austrian Consulate and Cultural Centre it's sometimes possible to see inside it. 

Although Yeniköy is full of lovely mansions it's hard for a casual visitor to appreciate them because of their heavy security. Most are easier to see from the water than the land. One exception is the Said Halim Paşa Yalısı originally built for a Greek owner in 1863. Eventually it became the property of the grand vizier Said Halim who held the office in the troubled years between 1913 and 1917. In 1914 it was in this mansion that the Young Turks signed the agreement that took them into the First World War on the side of Germany. 

But even this yalı is something of a mirage since the original burnt down in 1995. What you see now is a replica built to serve as a high-society entertainments venue. 

Transport info

All the buses heading up the Bosphorus to Sarıyer pass through Yeniköy although it's nicer to try and take one of the infrequent ferry sailings to its small harbour - the long Bosphorus cruises from Eminönü operated by Şehir Hatları stop in Yeniköy, for example. 

Nearby areas

Emirgan

İstinye

Kalender

Tarabya

 

 

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