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Sarıyer is northernmost district, on the European side of the city. Until recently, Sarıyer was a small fishing village and popular get away destination for city dwellers. Although it changed a lot in time, Sarıyer still holding its old characteristics. Contrary to other districts of city, Sarıyer is not undamaged a lot. Green and blue are still main colour of its beauty. Sarıyer boasts both a beautiful coastline and lush forest along the water.
Sarıyer, with its natural beauty, is always charming and definitely, most relaxing and calm area in Istanbul. Above all, it has the freshest air in Istanbul. This beauty is ruined only at weekends by day tripper crowd. Funnily, locals take themselves out of Sarıyer at weekends while day trippers are preparing to go to Sarıyer.
Sarıyer has a very long coastline along the Bosporus where people enjoy their times. There’re plenty nice çay places, cafes and fish restaurants along the coastline. At least, everybody should have a breakfast at seaside together with çay and famous Sarıyer Böreği.
Sarıyer Böreği is very famous. When economy of Ottoman Empire was at bottom around middle of 1890s, Sarıyer Böreği, pouring castor sugar on simple börek, originated. Although there’re many börek stores called Tarihi Sarıyer Börekçisi (Historical Sarıyer Börek Store), they’re not related to original store. If you want to eat real Sarıyer Böreği, you need to find the store (Meşhur Sarıyer Börekçisi) which is only 100 meter away from İdo port.
Sarıyer hosts two bazaars on Wednesday. First bazaar is normal public bazaar. It’s not better or bigger than others. Its special feature is having some vegetables which are more delicious and sold at Sarıyer Bazaar. The other bazaar is special because it’s one of the two antique bazaar in Istanbul.
Rumeli Kavağı is pearl of the district. Its small fishing town and known as homeland of mussels. There’s a small bazaar where you can buy mussels and take them to your home if you don’t want to eat there. There’re many restaurants at seaside and they offer delicious seafood’s with an amazing view of Yorgos Castle. Rumeli Kavağı houses beaches and shores where you can swim too. If you decide to visit, don’t skip Telli Baba Mausoleum which is located 200 meter away from the village. It’s said that Telli Baba is one of the 4 watcher and protector of Bosporus together with Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi in Üsküdar, Yuşa in Beykoz and Yahya Efendi in Beşiktaş. It’s old wives’ tale that if you visit and pray, the thing you wish would come true.
Sarıyer has many popular neighbourhoods. Yeniköy is one of them along the Bosporus. The quarter has some of the finest Ottoman era waterfront houses where richest families live now. Tarabya is popular seaside neighbourhood which is famous of historical monuments, fish restaurants and nightclubs. Büyükdere quarter is famous of restaurants which offers local dishes. It has also three Armenian Churches, Greek Church and Greek School. İstinye is very historical quarter. It has the longest shore of Bosporus. Neslişah Sultan Mosque, İstinye Hamamı, United States Consulate are important buildings located in İstinye. Emirgan quarter is famous of its park called Emirgan Korusu. It is located along the coastline and between Emirgan and İstinye.
Atatürk Arboretum is a botanical garden which belong to Istanbul University Faculty of Forestry. There are more than 1500 different plants or trees in the garden. You can have a walk, enjoy your book or just sit and chill out in the middle of green nature. Definitely, it’s one of the best place to visit in Istanbul. It’s also favourite place for photographers. Belgrad Forest is just next to it. Consequently, area is the greenest part of Istanbul.
Photo Credits: Pietro Ferreira