Located along the Bosporus on the Asian side of the city, Beykoz has a very unique character which is hard to find in other districts. While you are in Beykoz, you can feel as if you are far far away from a big city, in an old fishing town where life is calm and peaceful.
Beykoz is close Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge which is also known as second bridge among people who live in Istanbul. Kavacık is the neighbourhood where bridge ends. You may see tall office blocks, cafes, restaurants like all other places of Istanbul but if you drive only 10 min away from centre, you'll see that Beykoz has something different.
Beykoz is very rich in terms of greenery and has long coastline along Bosporus & Black sea. When you are on the way to Beykoz following the road by the Bosporus, Anadoluhisarı welcomes you and if you follow the way, you'll end at the seaside where Bosporus and Black Sea are combined. Besides, while following the coastline, you'll notice that you are getting away from civilization and going into nature inch by inch.
Beykoz was captured by Yıldırım Bayezid before Constantinople's fall. With its streams, recreation spots, large forests and seasides, Beykoz became a favourite place for elite class of Ottomans quickly. It's known that sultans built many summer palaces in Beykoz and organized hunting parties in Beykoz.
Tokat Kasrı and Hidiv Kasrı are most famous summer palaces in Beykoz. Tokat Kasrı was built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet and used by all the sultans after him too. Hidiv Kasrı was built by last Hidiv (title of Egyptian Governor) Abbas Hilmi Paşa in 1907. Palace, having 1000m2 closed area was built in Art Nouveau style by Italian architect Delfo Seminati. Now, there's a restaurant inside of the palace which offers Ottoman dishes and a garden which is used as a park where people enjoy food under the shadows of trees.
Anadoluhisarı is first neighbourhood welcoming you to Beykoz. Göksu River meets with Bosporus here. Area is famous for the fortress which has the same name with the neighbourhood. Anadoluhisari (Anatolian Castle) was built before the second Ottoman Siege of Constantinople by Sultan Bayezid. After Sultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul, castle became useless. Castle redecorated in 1993 but today it is closed to visitors. Only 5 min away by walk, there's a Marmara University Anadoluhisarı Campus which has Faculty of Management, Faculty of Political Sciences and Sport Academy.
Located next to Anadoluhisarı, Kanlıca is one of the most famous neighbourhood of Beykoz. Kanlıca is famous of its special yogurt which is eaten with castor sugar. It's so popular that you can see many people having Kanlıca yogurt while walking around.
Historical mansions in Kanlıca are very famous and most expensive houses in Istanbul. In the evenings, Kanlıca offers very nice atmosphere. There's a very old Turkish song which mentioned about that feature of neighbourhood. Its translation is something like “a life is given for a night in Kanlıca- the mystery of Istanbul is being solved in Kanlıca-moonshine plays with water, lights begin to talk-even old loves awake in Kanlıca.
Paşabahçe is 5 minutes away from Kanlıca by car. Paşabahçe definitely looks like old Greek fishing town despite of a big mosque welcoming you. There's an also church 5 minutes away from coastline. There's a narrow street pass by Mosque and it goes to seaside where there's pier, cafes and a pub. There're small boats at shore and Bosporus is just behind them. You can have drink and enjoy the view. If you want to chill out or muse, in front of pier is one of the best place in Istanbul.
Polonezköy (Adampol) is a Polish village located in Beykoz. Adampol was founded in 1842, by Polish statesman and author Adam Czartoryski after prince bought the land from Lazarist. He named the village Adampol which means Adam's farm. First residents of the village were Polishes who kept themselves busy with agriculture and forestry. They were speaking Polish and living according to their own culture and lifestyle. After the road constructed in between Beykoz and Adampol, the village started to get more attraction of visitors. Later on, the villagers started to open hotels and stores which caused Polonezköy to become a touristic village now. Not to mention, each year there happens to be a festival which aims to enhance the cultural relationship in between Polonezköy and Adampol. Nowadays, there are around 1000 residents in the village some of whom can still talk Polish fluently.
Riva is the northernmost village of Beykoz. It has long coastline along Black Sea. The village is usually visited for daily trips. In winter time, except a few hotel, everything is closed in the village.
Established by Genoese, Anadolu Kavağı is a very small fishing village beside the sea. The village has an historical atmosphere due to the Yoros Castle which was built in 15th century. Located on the north of Joshua's Hill, the castle have a nice view for photographers and view seekers. There are a few fish restaurants beside seaside. They offer delicious fishes for reasonable prices. To visit village, you can take a ferry from Eminönü or drive.
Although Beykoz is a pearl of Bosporus, it is exposed ruinous behaviours. Nature of Beykoz is being destroyed day by day. With its nature and steady lands, Beykoz captivated upper class families and also government. Last decades, many forest fires occurred and burned areas became a construction zone instead of reforesting. In conclusion, huge villas appeared on the hills or sometimes in the middle of forest while government were overlooking. Now, controversial project, constructing third bridge at north of other two bridges, will cause more damage to nature of the district. Also, it's known that many property owners changed and prices of properties increased in Beykoz.
A local guy from Beykoz explained the situation. He said:
Beykoz was a forgotten district but now all the eyes are watching the district. First, they closed all the factories and sent working class out. Then many luxury large houses appeared on the green hills of Beykoz. They'll come towards seaside from hills. Poor people will leave, new modern buildings will appear. Beykoz will not be rich of green or kids will not able to play on the streets. Governor promised us that deed of properties will be given to us because our houses are gecekondu. Yes, they are gecekondu that built illegally by our dads but governor overlooked it. Besides, we have been paying taxes for our houses. Now, governor ask very-high prices which we cannot afford and they know it. They don't deem us worthy of Istanbul.
Before big changes happen in the district, take Beykoz into your must see list during your time in Istanbul.