Turkey // Istanbul and around //


The suburb of Kadıköy makes for a surprisingly enjoyable outing from the European side of the city. It’s a lively place, with some great shops, restaurants, bars and cinemas. One of the area’s charms is its local feel – which is hardly surprising, as unlike in Sultanahmet or Beyoulu, most of the people out and about here are residents. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, when the introduction of steam-driven ferries made it feasible to commute across the Bosphorus, Kadıköy became a popular residential area for foreign businesspeople and wealthy Greeks and Armenians. Their most visible legacy is the churches southeast of the ferry terminal. There’s a scattering of older constructions amid the concrete: look out for the tall, narrow curves of the cream Art Deco-style Kuru Kahveci Mehmet Efendi building, home to the famous purveyor of Turkish Coffee, and the beautifully restored Süreyya Opera House on Bahariye Caddesi (see p.130); dating back to 1927, its ornate Neoclassical facade is adorned with relief-work pilasters, cherubs and classical-style theatre masks.

Most sites of interest in Kadıköy are located between the waterfront Sahil Yolu (coast road) and Bahariye Caddesi, a right turn off Söğütlüceşme Caddesi, the steep, wide street that leads uphill from the ferry terminal. The two latter streets have their own tram, a grittier version of İstiklal Caddesi; indeed, the area bounded by Söğütlüceşme Caddesi to the north, Bahariye and Emın Bey caddesis to the east and south and the Bosphorus waterfront to the west is becoming a mini-Beyoğlu, with a similar mix of alternative-clothing outlets, bookstores and bric-a-brac shops dotted among the cafés and restaurants that spill out onto jam-packed pedestrianized streets. It’s also a great area for shopping, especially for spices, coffee, olives, dried fruit, nuts, Turkish delight and other goodies, in the colourful permanent market centred on Guneşlibahçe Sokak.

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