one time Arnavutköy was a small Bosphorus village
of picturesque wooden houses and waterfront
mansions, mosques and churches, and a few shops.
Vineyards, fields and orchards climbed up the
hillside behind. Arnavutköy was renowned in
Istanbul for its fragrant strawberries. These
small, delicate pink fruits, known today as
Ottoman strawberries, were first grown here
in the 19th century by the Ipsilanti family.
In May and June the strawberries were gathered
in baskets and carried down to the village square
at the watr'se edge, where they were loaded
onto boats and taken to the city markets. It
is related that some baskets of these strawberries
were sent as a gift to Halil Paşa in Ereğli
on the Black Sea coast, and were so highly praised
by the paşa, that his carriage driver Mustafa
Bey decided to try and grow them. The strawberries
flourished in the soil and climate of Eregli,
and seeing this a local farmer, Kahyaoglu Kadir,
and his Greek partner started to grow the strawberries
in the nearby village of Kestaneci.