QUARTERS OF ISTANBUL: KANDİLLİIn the 1500 years that have passed since the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine proclaimed the point where Asia and Europe merges as the new capital of the empire, numerous travelers from all over the world visited Istanbul and wrote what they saw here. Just by looking at the writings of these mostly European travelers, who came across with a different, strange world unlike theirs, one could understand that not only houses, palaces or streets, but a certain lifestyle has vanished as well.
Nonetheless, while walking in a street that overlooks the Bosphorus in one of the old quarters of the city, for a moment one might feel like nothing has changed. Sometimes, grand cities like Istanbul enable both residents and visitors to experience a short time-travel.
Kandilli, one of the oldest settlements along the Bosphorus, is that kind of neighborhood that can take you back in time. There are various stories about the origin of the name of Kandilli (in Turkish it literally means "with oil lamp"), which is located on the Anatolian side, between Anadoluhisarı and Vaniköy. According to the most accepted story, Sultan Murad IV (1612-1640) built a palace here and decorated the surrounding area with oil lamps.
Some of the most important of the Bosphorus yalıs (waterside mansion), which were used by the Ottoman bureaucratic elite as summer houses, stretch along the coast of Kandilli. The Count Ostrorog Yalısı, is named after Count Ostrorog of Polish origin, an Islamic legal expert and counselor to the empire, who bought the building in 1904. The Kıbrıslı (Cypriot) Yalısı on the other hand, built by Sadrazam Mehmed Izzet Pasha in the 18th century, has one of the longest waterfronts (64 meter) among the Bosphorus yalıs.
Another noteworthy building of Kandilli is Adile Sultan Palace. The palace, built for Sultan Mahmud II’s (1785-1839) daughter Adile Sultan by the famous architect family of the time, the Balyans, was put into service as the second girl school of the Ottoman Empire in 1916 and later it was named Kandilli High School for Girls.
The steep street climbing up just across the Kandilli Pier could be considered as the center of the quarter. A walk alongside the slope, accompanied by mostly restored historic Ottoman mansions, high trees and one Greek and one Armenian church, will take you on a journey towards the travelers’ old Istanbul. At the end of the journey, besides the Kandilli Observatory established in 1868, an indescribable Bosphorous view will be waiting for you.