"With Towers" suburb

kulel1One of the most conspicuous buildings on the Asian shore of İstanbul is the huge military school at Kuleli, just north of Çengelköy, with its fairy-tale asymmetrical towers. It's best viewed from the decks of a Bosphorus cruise boat or from across the water from Kuruçeşme.

The original barracks on the site was erected shortly after Sultan Mahmud II abolished the Janissaries in 1826 in favour of creating a modern standing army. The original building was redesigned in 1845 by Garabet Balyan after a fire but had to be rebuilt yet again during the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz. Florence Nightingale's first hospital for the wounded of the Crimean War (1853-56) was situated here, before moving to the Selimiye Barracks, near Kadıköy.

Today the barracks serve as a military high school. Ex-students include Cemal Gürsel and Cevdet Sunay, Turkey's fourth and fifth presidents, the great military leader, Gazi Osman Paşa, and the writer Irfan Orga, author of the poignant Portrait of a Turkish Family.

It is believed to stand on the site of a Byzantine monastery called Metanoia (Repentance) set up by the Emperor Justinian's wife Theodora as a refuge for ex-prostitutes. 

Transport info

To get to Kuleli you can pick up any bus heading along the coast from Üsküdar or places en route.

Nearby areas



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