Büyükada – English

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             BUYUKADA GUİDE

Büyükada is the county town of all 9 Islands of Istanbul. With its 6812 inhabitants (in 2009) it covers 5.400km2. Summer habitants can go up to 10-15 times of this number. Most of the houses are used as summer house.

There are two hills on the Island. The one on the north is called İsa Tepesi (Jesus hill) approximately 164m high and the other on the south is called Yüce Tepe (St George) is approximately 202m high.


Apart from settling main flora is formed of spiky leaf plant (Pinus Brutia) and Maki Garig type. The only plant that forms of its own forest is Red Pine tree.

Major forest family, Red Pine tree is southern peninsula plant, which perfectly suits Island’s climate, where Island is the northern tip of its survival environment. Red Pine tree has leaved in shallow soil and in human interference throughout centuries on the island, which led to its deformation; relatively short, bent and crooked body.

Second forest family is Maki. This is the most characteristic and natural vegetation type of all Mediterranean regions in Turkey. These are relatively taller types.

Among settlements there are plenty of exotic plants and flora types, which are seen and adapted to the Island.


There is very limited information about pre-Byzantine period settlements on Büyükada. The most important antique treasure discovery, Alexander the Great’s father Macedonian King Philip II’s gold coins, on the Island was found in 1930 near the Greek Orthodox cemetery in Karacabey. There were 207 gold coins in total, which are currently in Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

Büyükada, like other Islands, have gained fame with its prisons and monasteries throughout 7 centuries of Byzantine rule. During consequences of fights for throne, political and religious arguments occurred led to exile and torture of many princes, princesses and religious people.

A month and a half before Turks conquered Istanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmed’s naval commander Baltaoğlu Süleyman Bey, surrounded Kınalıada, Burgazada and Heybeliada. Due to its castle Büyükada resisted for a while before its capture.

After the conquest of Turks, peace and silence have been bought to the islands. Local people leaved on fishing and agriculture. Monks of the monasteries and churches have survived by producing hand made religious works.

Settlements of Turks on the Island have begun with small boats services, which started in 1846. With a bigger boat services and regular timetable has been set in 1875. Thereon population on the Island has risen rapidly. Apart from rich Turks, who preferred the Island, foreigners have shown interest too. Villas, mansions, hotels, buildings, churches and mosques have been built reflecting architectural styles of the period.

In 1861, during Sultan Abdülaziz period Organisation of the Municipality of Adalar called 7th Office that was one of the three municipality offices established in Istanbul, was centralised in Büyükada.

There have been damages in 1894 earthquake and a marketplace fire at the beginning of 1900’s.

An increase in the Turkish population, who came to Island for summer vacation after 1945, has led to its escalation of house buildings, which began along the port later spread from coast to hills.

In 1984 Büyükada has been selected as SITE area in order to protect and maintain its character as being one of the most distinguished places of Istanbul.


Büyükada is 21 km from Kabataş pier, 9 km from Bostancı pier and 5.5 km from Kartal.

Transportation services are of traditional and speedy catamaran boats, all being provided by Sea Bus Administration of Istanbul. There is also ‘Sea Taxi’ service provided by Sea Bus Administration of Istanbul.

Traditional boat trips can be taken from piers of Kabataş (European side), Kadıköy, Bostancı, Maltepe and Kartal (Asian side) by purchasing the tokens at site. Furthermore ‘Akbil’, which is an electronic token system used for the transportation amongst all over Istanbul, provides a discount for the trips. Getting back happens in the same way.


Boat trip durations;

Kabataş – Büyükada (direct):                                                                      60 minutes

Kabataş – Kadıköy- Kınalıada – Burgazada -Heybeliada – Büyükada: 105 minutes

Bostancı – Büyükada (direct):                                                                     30 minutes

Bostancı – Heybeliada- Büyükada:                                                            45 minutes

Bostancı – Kınalıada – Burgazada -Heybeliada – Büyükada:                   60 minutes

Büyükada boat pier telephone number: (0216) 382 60 06


Sea bus durations;

Kabataş – Büyükada:   30 minutes

Bostancı – Büyükada:   10 minutes

There are links to and from Büyükada to other islands.

Büyükada sea bus terminal telephone number: (0216) 382 44 36


Local transportation on the island is provided by horse carriages. Apart from municipal use motor vehicles are forbidden. Therefore, there is minimum noise and air pollution on the island.



There are five banks on Büyükada. All with ATM machines.

1-        Denizbank- Gülistan Cad. No.12,                Tel.  (0216) 382 11 42

2-        T. İş Bankası- Düz Sokak No. 4,                  Tel.  (0216) 382 64 67

3-        Ziraat Bankası-Recep Koç Cad. No.13-B,  Tel.  (0216) 382 10 00

4-        Akbank – Recep Koç Cad. No. 11/A,           Tel. (0216) 382 63 19

5-        Yapı ve Kredi Bankası- Gülistan Cad.10,     Tel. (0216) 382 22 16


Hotel Splendid Palace

23 Nisan Cad. No. 53 Büyükada – İstanbul

Tel: (0216) 382 69 50-51-52,   Telefax: (0216) 382 67 75

e-mail: [email protected]


Meziki Hotel

Malülgazi Caddesi No. 24 Büyükada – İstanbul

Tel: (0216) 382 34 44, Fax: (0216) 382 24 22 



Villa Rıfat

Yılmaz Türk Cad. No. 5 Maden, Büyükada – İstanbul

Telefon : (0216) 382 60 68,  Fax: (0216) 382 30 81


İdeal Pansiyon

Kadıyoran Caddesi No. 4 Büyükada – İstanbul

Tel: (0216) 382 68 57


Club Mavi

Büyüktur Yolu No. 12 Nizam, Büyükada – İstanbul

Tel: (0216) 382 60 75,   Fax: (0216) 382 70 08



Marine House Butik Hotel

Ş. Recep Koç Cad. No. 8 E Büyükada – İstanbul

Tel: (0216) 382 29 29 – www.marinehousehotel.com


Mimoza Pansiyon

Çınar Cad. No.17 Büyükada – İstanbul

Tel: (0216) 382 74 35,  GSM: 0530 665 76 51


Gala Hotel

Çankaya Cad. No. 3 Büyükada – İstanbul

Tel: (0216) 382 22 23,   Fax: (0216) 382 22 25

www.galabutikhotel.com – [email protected]


Panorama Butik Hotel

23 Nisan Cad. No. 28 Büyükada – İstanbul

Tel: (0216) 382 30 30 –  www.panoramabutikhotel.com


Ada Pansiyon

Yörükali Mevkii No. 3 Büyükada – İstanbul

Tel: (0216) 382 43 74,   GSM: (0530) 545 40 05



Palmiye Pansiyon

Altınordu Cad. No. 25 Büyükada – İstanbul

Tel: (0216) 382 15 88 –  www.palmiyepansiyon.net



By Şükrü

Gülistan Caddesi No.16

Tel: (0216) 382 85 87- 382 87 00,  Fax: (0216) 382 87 00



Ali Baba Restaurant

Gülistan Caddesi No. 20

Tel: (0216) 382 37 33,  Fax: (0216) 382 36 00,  



Milano Restaurant

Gülistan Caddesi No. 22

Tel: (0216) 382 63 52,  Fax: (0216) 382 35 16


Façyo Restaurant

Gülistan Caddesi No. 26

Tel: (0216) 382 60 63,  www.facyo.com.tr



Liman Çıkmazı No. 9/1

Tel: (0216) 382 66 71


Konak Lokantası

Ş. Recep Koç Caddesi No. 87

Tel: (0216) 382 54 79,  Fax: (0216) 382 84 19  



Köşem Restaurant

Ş. Recep Koç Caddesi No. 49-C

Tel: (0216) 382 11 20


Lunapark Gazinosu

Birlik Meydanı

Tel: (0216) 382 24 86  



Altınfıçı Birahanesi

Gülistan Caddesi No. 8

Tel: (0216) 382 18 46   


Umut Büfe

Yelüfürdü Sokak No.4

Tel: (0216) 382 60 60



Bahar Pastanesi- Atatürk Meydanı No.12

Tel: (0216) 382 19 74,   www.bahar.net


Dolci Pastanesi- 23 Nisan Caddesi No. 1/3

Tel: (0216) 382 37 70


The General Directorate of the İstanbul Islands Public Security (Karakol – Police Station) is found in Karakol Meydanı, which is to the right of main clock tower as you enter the island. For any security enquiry please call (0216) 382 6036.


Adalar Devlet Hastanesi (Islands General Public Hospital) can undertake minor operations. For major operations, patiences are taken to Kartal General hospital with Municipality’s fast ambulance boat.


Alternatively as for first aid and medical requirements, there are four pharmacies to attend your needs.

Büyükada Eczanesi- Çınar Cad. No. 2.       Tel: (0216) 382 67 56

Halk Eczanesi- Çınar Cad. No. 17,              Tel: (0216) 382 60 37 – 382 76 93

Merkez Eczanesi- 23 Nisan Cad. No. 12,   Tel: (0216) 382 63 92

Yeni Eczane- Çınar Cad. No. 11,                  Tel: (0216) 382 38 00


In case of medical emergencies please contact Tourist Information, Municipality Officer (Zabıta), Hospital at Lala Hatun Caddesi No. 47 Tel: (0216) 382 62 28 or call an ambulance on 112.


Anadolu Club

Club was established under the name of Prinkipo Yacht Club Company Limited in 1906 under the leadership of an English lawyer called Leo Pearce. After the declaration of the Republic in 1923, name was changed to Büyükada Yacht Club Ottoman Incorporation. In 1937, Club suffered a bankruptcy, where Ataturk ordered it to become a Büyükada branch of Anadolu Club of Ankara.

Address: 23 Nisan Caddesi No. 58, 34970 Büyükada   

Tel: (0216) 382 68 30 – 382 11 24


Büyükada Su Sporları Derneği (Büyükada Watersports Association)

The Association was established in 1985 by eleven residents of Büyükada. Its purpose was to teach and encourage children to enrol with water sports. Swimming lesson started in 1995 for summer season only. In 1999, indoor swimming pool was built. There are indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Any child who leaves and studies in Büyükada can use club facilities free of charge. Children who practiced to date at the facilities have won many competitions.

Address: Deniz Kulübü Sk. No. 18 Büyükada

Tel: (0216) 382 75 76 – 382 76 01,  Fax: (0216) 382 32 76


Adalar Kültür Derneği (Association of Adalar Culture)

The Association was established in 1994 and activated in 1995 under the name of Büyükada Culture and Charity Association. Its name once again changes to Association of Islands Culture and Charity in 2006. Ever since its establishment it’s been producing twice monthly Büyükada newspaper, engage in cultural and art activities, film and photography festival, has its own classical Turkish music choir especially active in summer months and involve in environment studies and charities.

Address: Çınar Meydanı No.14 Büyükada

Tel: (0216) 382 73 78 –  www.buyukada.org


Büyükada Şehid Murat Yüksel Primary School (0216) 382 76 86

Büyükada 125. Yıl Atatürk Primary School         (0216) 382 64 66

Büyükada Greek Primary School                        (0216) 382 64 82


Pier Building: It represents an Ottoman Neo-Classic style. Although it’s not certain, it is strongly believed that the architect is Mihran Azaryan.  (Vedat Tek, who built Bostancı and Moda piers, designed and adapted same style to the building). Building was constructed in 1914. Its titles have been hand-made by Mehmed Emin Efendi of Kütahya. Restoration on the building carried out during 1999-2001.

Kiosks: The timber buildings, collectively known as kiosks’, began to build on the island as early as late 19th century. It is a unique blend of traditional Turkish houses and Western styles. There are plenty examples of distinctive style of Art Nouveau buildings, which are not even in existence in Belgium, where it’s originated, Germany and France. You can see these buildings if you take a horse carriage ‘mini tour’.

Orphanage:  It is located further along the Jesus Monastery on Jesus hill among the most beautiful woodland area. It’s been constructed by French company as a hotel in 1898. The architect Alexandre Vallaury was French origin who was born and lived in Istanbul. The building covers 26,000m2 area. Its length is 101m and height changes between 22 to 24m according to its format.

The building itself is of a very distinctive Turkish timber architecture with its roof design, windows and extensions. This gives the building quite a different dimension and function in its use. This building is probably the only of its kind in the world, certainly in Turkey, that it is constructed and sits on wooden carcass system of such greatness.

Although it has been constructed at the time as a hotel, idea has never been put into practice due to lack of permission from the Government at the time. Later on it’s been purchased by the rich Greek family and has been donated to the Patriarchate.

It has been used by the Patriarchate as a school for orphan Greek children. In the beginning of 1970’s it was evacuated. Ever since it has been kept empty.


Hamidiye Mosque: It is situated in a garden off Ada Camii Street. It’s been built in 1895 by the order of Sultan Abdulhamid II. It is a good example of an Ottoman Baroque style. It sits on two floors and of limestone. Ground level has been built as a primary school for those who have not been schooled at the time. Later on School has been moved and that space has been added to the mosque. The mosque has a rectangular plan. The prayer box and walls are embellished with imitated title designs. Its minaret is made of ‘küfeki’ stone with a single balcony.

Nizam Mosque: It was constructed in 1967 and situated at Nizam Caddesi No. 81

Hacı Havva Özen Mosque: It was constructed in 1986. It is situated in the market place at Recep Koç Caddesi, 26

Kumsal Mosque: It was constructed in 1985 and situated in Kumsal at Deniz Sokak No. 22

St. George Monastery (Aya Yorgi Monastery): According to Patriarchate’s records construction date is 1751. Small church, chapel and prayer sections are known to be as old as the church itself. It is a small building with 2 floors and covered with bricks. The church behind the bell tower is referred to as ‘the new Aya Yorgi’ on the hill is relatively new. Built in 1905 and opened for worshiping in 1909.

St. Nicholas Monastery (Aya Nikola Monastery): The monastery is located in north of Karacabey Bay. During Byzantine times, the original monastery and church had been constructed near the coast. As time passed, the monastery collapsed and fell under sea. Reconstruction took place in 16th century at its present location. After massive earthquake in 1894 Heybeliada Clergy School collapsed. The banker Stefanovik who had helped with reconstruction of school used remaining ruins in reconstruction of St George.

Jesus Monastery (Hristos Monastery): This is located at the second highest hill, Jesus hill, where it takes its name from. It is believed that it goes back to Byzantine times, which in 1597 was reopened for worshiping by Patriarch Meletios Pigas. August 6th is its festive day. This symbolises vintage. In the old days if you visited on its day, you were greeted with bunch of grapes.

St. Demetrius Religious Community Church: This church is located near the market place, where Zağnos Paşa meets Alaçam Street. It sits on a rectangular plan and situated in a very well kept garden. It’s believed to be built in 1856-1857 with collected efforts and donations of all four islands Orthodox community. This is the main church, where rituals are been conducted during all religious festivals.

St. Mary’s Church (Panagia Church): This church is located where market place meets horse carriage square. As the name indicate it attributes to three Christian festivals; birth of Virgin Mary (October 26th), Virgin Mary’s entrance to place of worship (November 21st), death of Virgin Mary (August 15th). The biggest church on the Island is also dedicated to the death of Virgin Mary and located in an old cemetery.


St. Theodore Chapel (Aya Todori): A small timber chapel between houses in Maden region. One has to look carefully to spot it. This is believed to be an old graveyard chapel.

Profit Alias Cemetery Chapel (Profitis Ilias) it is situated in the Greek Orthodox cemetery at St. Nicolas. It is a 4x7m rectangular timber building constructed in 1878.

Armenian Catholic Church: It is located on the left hand side of the road on route from Anadolu Club to Çankaya Square. It’s been dedicated to Virgin Mary and commissioned by merchant Andon Apelyan in 1868.

St. Pacific (San Pacifico) Latin Catholic Church: It is situated off the central clock tower. It is in the corner of Lala Hatun Street and Yeni Street. It’s been constructed in 1885. Unlike Orthodox churches, it is dressed with simple interior with no icons.

Jewish Synagogue (Heset Le Abraham): It is located in Kumsal among residential area. It is built in 1921 and virtually impossible to see the building façade, which is covered with high walls. One can identify it with David’s star, which stands above the wall.


Muslim Cemetery: It’s been constructed in Tepeköy, highest tip of the Island, at the beginning of 20th century with permission of Prime Minister of the time, Rıfat Pasha. There are few famous Turkish people buried in it such as; Abdullah Pasha, Şakir Pasha, Ahmet Refit Altınay, İbrahim Necmi Dilmen, Tahsin Nahid, Aliye Berger, Ahmed Fehim, Mahmut Emin Koral, Doğan Avcıoğlu.

Greek Orthodox Cemetery: It is situated behind St. Nicholas Monastery. There is a section which belongs to Armenians and Latin Catholics. Empress Irene and Patriarch Hrisantos have been buried here.


There is only one cinema open during summer in Büyükada.

Lale Cinema is an open-air cinema, starts at 10pm and usually shows a different film each day. It’s closed during winter.

Address: Çınar Caddesi No. 52, Tel: (0216) 382 70 69


1- Nakibey Beach 

2- Kumsal Beach

3- Yörükali Beach

4- Prenses Beach

5- Eskibağ Beach


Cape of Dil, which is located on the west side of Büyükada is in 500 meters long and 100 meters width. On the north hand there is Bay of Değirmen and on the south hand there is Bay of Yörükali with its beaches and facilities. It’s one of the most popular places amongst Büyükada day trippers. It’s also a picnic area for tourists under pine trees.


The Island is round. So you can travel either way to and from the horse carriage pickup place. Usually there are two major routes. One is considered shorter than the other, therefore, shorter one called ‘mini tour’ and the other relatively longer one is called ‘grand tour’.

Mini Tour starts its round from central market place through Çankaya, Nizam, Lunapark (skirts of St Nicholas, where horses rest) Greek cemetery, Maden and back to central market place.

Grand Tour follows same route of ‘mini tour’. When one arrives to Lunapark, where horses rest, carriages take a route to the back of the Island, where there is wilderness. One goes through the woodlands, which later on joins the ‘mini tour’ at the Greek cemetery and follow the same route back to central market place.

By following the attached map you can also complete this tour either by cycling or walking.


Adakule is built by Forest Administration on Yücetepe in 2008. As its main function is fire observation, it’s also a great place for sight-seeing. You may enjoy your tea or coffee in the the tower, which is reachable by taking the way on the uphill from Birlik Meydanı to Aya Yorgi Monastery.


Taylan Karaduman- İskele Binası Büyükada         (0216) 382 25 04

Leydi Büfe- 23 Nisan Caddesi No.13 Büyükada   (0216) 382 54 56

Semo Hediyelik- Recep Koç Caddesi No. 32 Büyükada  (0216) 382 20 09

By Çetin- Gülistan Caddesi No. 3 Büyükada         (0216) 382 57 62


– Rent a bike from bicycle shops, which are located at the centre.

– Observe Island’s beautiful timber houses and panorama by taking a mini tour on foot,

   horse carriages or bicycle.

– By taking the grand tour you may see additionally non-residential places in the island.

– Rest in Lunapark café/restaurant under pine trees by going to Birlik Meydanı.

– Climb the St. George hill for a magnificent panoramic view of Istanbul and have a meal at

   the grounds of St. George’s church.

– Take the same way to enjoy the view from Adakule.

– Enter into the forest from Birlik Meydanı to visit Jesus Church and Orphanage on Jesus hill.

– Visit Hamidiye Mosque by taking the way from the pier.

– Visit St. Pacifico, Armenian Catholic Churches, Panagia and St Demetrius by foot.

– Visit St. Theodore Chapel, St. Nicholas Manastery, Profit Alias churches by walking or horse


– See Jewish Synagogue in Kumsal town.

– Picnic at Dilburnu or walk ahead to drink tea from samovar in Aşıklar Gazinosu.

– Go to any of the listed beaches and swim.

– Go to Turing Culture House on Çankaya Caddesi.

– Eat at any of the restaurant by the sea.

– Go to cinema in the evening (in summer season).

– Stay in any of the listed hotels and pensions.


1- The prices are per carriage not per person.

2- Carriages are for maximum 4 adults and 2 children. It is strictly forbidden to sit next to the  


3- After midnight, 50% charge to be added to normal tariff.

4- There will be an additional 5 TL charge for each suitcase above 40×60 cm. carried on


5- Detailed tariff for each destination is clearly noted on the notice board in carriage square.

6- For any complaints on horse carriages, please take their carriage number, which is written   

     by the driver, and call (0216) 382 70 71 or (0216) 382 25 63 or refer to Minion Officers at

     carriage square.


We hope that you had a nice and pleasant stay on Büyükada.

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