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Headlands of Istanbul
2002 / October

There are so many sights and scenes waiting to be explored in Istanbul, that some aspects of the city are pushed into the background. As a city surrounded by sea Istanbul has many headlands, some remote and deserted with no buildings but a lighthouse, others lively and crowded.
We decided to take a tour of some of these promontories, and naturally our first stop was Sarayburnu or Palace Point, the most famous of all, upon which stands Topkapi Palace. This headland at the mouth of the Bosphorus, facing south over the Marmara Sea and north over the Golden Horn, was where the Megarians founded the city of Byzantium in the 7th century BC, building various temples around the acropolis. Many centuries later the Byzantines built the Mangana Palace, Haghia Sophia and other churches here, and the Ottomans subsequently chose the same site for their imperial palace of Topkapý and Sultanahmet Mosque

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Headlands of Istanbul
2002 / October

Gülhane Park on the northern side of the headland, and the many restaurants and tea gardens in the area also attract many people here. In 1919 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk took ship to Samsun from Sarayburnu quay at the start of the War of Independence, and it was on the headland that he first wore a hat as a symbol of the dress reforms in August 1924 and made a speech introducing the new Turkish alphabet in August 1928.
Travelling north up the Bosphorus we come next to Defterdar Burnu, the headland at Ortaköy which takes its name from Defterdar Pasa Mosque. In its place today, however, stands the graceful Ortaköy Mosque built by Sultan Abdülmecid in 1853-1855. The many waterfront mansions built in Ortaköy in the 17th and 18th centuries were demolished in 1871 when Sultan Abdülaziz was building Çiragan Palace. The Bosphorus mansions of the Ottoman princesses Esma Sultan and Naime Sultan survive as reminders of former splendour

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Headlands of Istanbul
2002 / October
The headland commands the best view of the Bosphorus suspension bridge, and with its lively cafés, restaurants, bars, and gift stalls set up in the side streets is a favourite place for young people to meet at weekends. Akintiburnu, or Current Point, at Arnavutköy was famous for its vineyards in the 16th century and strawberry fields in the 19th century. This is one of the most colourful districts of Istanbul, with its many 18th and 19th century houses, although several of the most magnificent were destroyed by fire in 1797. The headland is a favourite place for rod fishing and as the name implies is famous for its fierce current. Arnavutköy features a picturesque ferry boat terminal, lighthouse, and numerous fish restaurants, bars and cafés. Kireçburnu took its name from the fact that lime from the lime quarries on the opposite shore was unloaded here. The headland was a popular picnic spot in Ottoman times, and largely retains its recreational character today, with its tree clad hillside, broad esplanade, waterfront restaurants, and Bosphorus tour boats.
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Headlands of Istanbul
2002 / October
There are also several headlands along the Bosphorus that are home only to lighthouses. One of these is Çali Burnu at the northern end of the strait in the village of Garipçe 20 kilometres beyond Rumeli Kavagi. Outdoor sports enthusiasts will enjoy the climb to the top of the headland, where a small lighthouse guides ships from the Black Sea into the Bosphorus. Right opposite Çali Burnu on the other side of the Bosphorus is Filburnu, followed to the south by Kavak Burnu, and between Anadolu Kavaðý and Beykoz is the tranquil and deserted Selviburnu.
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Headlands of Istanbul
2002 / October
Kanlica Burnu, also on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus, was famous in the past for its waterfront mansions and musical gatherings, and also for its yogurt, which remains just as popular today. There are numerous restaurants and cafés, and several old waterfront houses remain. This leafy district surrounded by woods is one of the most attractive parts of the Bosphorus. The fish restaurants at the quay are a perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal and enchanting views.
Leaving the Bosphorus and turning east along the shore of the Marmara Sea, we come to Moda Burnu. This promontory became a favourite residential area for English, French and Italian families in the 19th and 20th centuries, and some of the grand houses which they built can still be seen. At weekends Moda attracts many people to its tea gardens overlooking the sea and elegant restaurants around the quay. There is also a famous sailing club here.
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Headlands of Istanbul
2002 / October

Beyond Moda is Fenerbahçe, named after the lighthouse built here in 1562, and a lighthouse still stands here at the end of the small peninsular. In the Byzantine period there were summer palaces, and in Ottoman times it was a royal garden. There are pleasant cafés in the beautiful tree-filled park, and along the west side are Istanbul Sailing Club, Fenerbahçe Sports Club and Galatasaray Sports Club.
Istanbul's headlands are pleasant places to stroll and enjoy meals and beautiful views. Each is different in character and offers its own individual angle on the city.


* Ümmühan Kazanç is a freelance writer

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