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Bakırköy is one of the oldest districts in Istanbul. Located on the European side of city, this district lies between the E-5 highway and the coast of the Sea of Marmara. Being a residential and developed area, Bakırköy is mostly inhabited by an upper middle class population.
History of Bakırköy dates back to Byzantium times. Bakırköy was named as Hebdomon and had very important buildings built in Byzantium period. That’s why it had been always visited by the ruler class although being located outside part of the city walls. Campus Martis (Cantonment), Campus Tribunals (Courthouse), Jucundiaena (Palace of Pleasure) and Church of St. John Baptist the Forerunner can be given as an example to important buildings which were located in Hebdemon. In Ottoman period, Bakırköy continued to be an important district and name changed to Makriköy. The district became a favourite summer resort for Sultans and other ruler class which caused many large houses to build during Ottoman period.
Bakırköy became a residential area in the late 19th century. Around 1970s, Bakırköy was one of the calmest and desired location to live in. Today centre of Bakırköy become an important commercial area having a lot of shopping malls. It’s not hard for one to guess that this district is generally crowded at any time of day. Capacity, Carousel, Galleria, Bakırköy Yeraltı Çarsısı (Bakırköy Underground Bazaar) are couple of well-known shopping malls and areas of Bakırköy.
Bakırköy has not only shopping malls to offer but also other facilities to make it a well-known part of the city. Veliefendi Hippodrome, being Turkey’s largest and also oldest racecourse, is one of the most important facilities of this district. If you like horse race, Bakırköy is your place to visit. Atatürk Airport, World Trade Centre Istanbul, Ataköy Athletics Arena are other important buildings residing in Bakırköy.
Yeşilköy neighbourhood is another reason to visit Bakırköy. Known as Ayestefanos in the past, this district was a very small fishing village where Greeks used to live once. After Turkish republic, all the names changed Turkish so Ayestefanos (Saint Stefan) became Yeşilköy (Green Village) referring to nature of village. There is a beautiful marina and sandy beaches in Yeşilköy. You have to walk around in Yeşilköy at least once to discover the beauties. Peace Treaty of San-Stefano (Ayestefanos Antlaşması) was signed in this neighbourhood. Once, Russian Army arrived to Ayestefanos after famous 1977-78 Russia-Ottoman Empire Wars during which Istanbul was about to fall so Sultan had to ask for peace. After all, an agreement which had very hard conditions for Ottomans signed by two sides. This battle dominated history of Balkans.
If you want to visit Bakırköy, it is very easy to reach the district by public transportation. There is a ferry operating from Bakırköy to Kadıköy and Bostancı on the Asian side. You may find light-railway line operating in between Sirkeci and Halkalı, passing through Bakırköy. There are buses going to all other central parts of Istanbul and more, there is dolmush (dolmuş) line between Taksim and Bakırköy districts.
Photo Credits: Validd