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QUARTERS OF ISTANBUL: ANADOLUHİSARI

QUARTERS OF ISTANBUL: ANADOLUHİSARI Writing about Istanbul and its characteristics all his life, Abdülhak Şinasi Hisar (d. 1963) tells in his book "Boğaziçi Mehtapları" (The Moonlights of the Bosphorus) that in the old times, when the usage of cars and the means of transportation were limited, some quarters of Istanbul were as far from one another as two cities. He even adds that, the residents of Fenerbahçe, for instance, could hear about the snow in Sarıyer, after two days.

Although more than a century has passed and the means of transportation have incomparably improved, Anadoluhisarı, located at the Asian side of the Bosphorus between Kandilli and Kanlıca, is still far like a city for those living in some of the central districts of Istanbul. Not distance-wise, but as an idea.

The history of Anadoluhisarı, the oldest Turkish quarter of the Bosphorus, goes way back to 1393, when the castle of Anadoluhisarı, from which the quarter takes its name, was constructed under the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Yıldırım Bayezid (d. 1402), whose aim was to conquer the Byzantine Istanbul. The castle made possible for the Ottomans both to control the passages from the Bosphorus and to slowly settle at the Asian side. Expanded with various additions made under Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the Anadoluhisarı castle still stands as the spiritual foundation of the quarter.

The second importance of Anadoluhisarı quarter in the Ottoman history is to do with the Göksu Stream that meets with the sea near the castle. The promenade along the Göksu, where — especially in the 18th and 19th centuries— people from all walks of life got together and socialize, had been the subject of numerous poems of the era with its splendor. Although the stream got polluted from 1980s onwards, it has been partially rehabilitated with recent projects. Its splendor might have long gone, but a brief walk alongside Göksu is still beautiful enough to remind the memories of the past.

With its historically-preserved narrow streets, six-hundred-year-old cemetery, graceful bridge over the Göksu stream, peaceful nature and last but not least, with its castle, Anadoluhisarı still exists as the secret yet breathtakingly beautiful symbol of the Bosphorus and the centuries-long Ottoman-Turkish culture. It lives in the past and present simultaneously. Both far and close.