Ortaköy, literally “Middle village” is one of the well-known places of Istanbul and kind of local ‘must see'. Why? Mostly because of amazing view straight from postcards, Ortaköy Mosque (Büyük Mecidiye camii) in the foreground and Asian side with impressive Bosphorus bridge behind it. But it's not the only reason to see this place. If you come here, you will probably love this place the same as me and many of other people. Here you have a chance to see one-of-a-kind marriage proposals displayed as a bridge's lights. Here you can eat famous waffles with hundreds and thousands or buy a jewellery at local stand. Here you can spend hours observing people playing with pigeons or movie crew giving and interview. Here you can meet almost everything.
You would say ‘yes, but it depends on my luck, you can see such things in many other places in Istanbul'. Yes, you are right, but from my experience – here the chance is significantly bigger.
It's has been the same since Ottoman times, when Ortaköy was perceived as one of Istanbul's most cosmopolitan areas with a mixture of many religions living in harmony. That diversity is still actual today, with a couple Armenian churches, a synagogue and a greek Orthodox Church placed near the mosques. Also, this diversity appears as a mixture of bars and cafes, catering to everyone from hungry locals on a budget to more upscale places with unique view at the Bosphorus. It is not place reserved for one group of people – rich or poor. Here everybody feels free.
Ortaköy offers many things to see with breathtaking Ortaköy Mosque in the lead. The current mosque erected between 1854-56 in a place of original first one built in 18th century. Its architects were Armenian father and son who designed the nearby Dolmabahçe Palace as well and all of them in the Neo-Baroque style. The mosque's interior is small but imposing at the same time. A main chamber is square shaped with huge windows and a dome covered in pink mosaics glittering of the sun. Moreover we can observe the two-storey Hünkar Kasrı attached outside to the mosque, which was sultan's summer palace before.
Besides the mosque you can't forget about Sunday Market which has a place somewhere between charming pathways. You can find there the same varied assortment as everywhere in Istanbul's one-day markets. Nonetheless, such an accompanying view of Bosphorus is only here.