Cross the Bosporus from the European side of Istanbul to the Asian side of Istanbul and the world around you changes drastically. The architecture and design that surround each side of the strait is so emblematic of the distinction between Asia and Europe. It also represents a world of difference in prices, offerings, and popularity.
13.4 million people visited Istanbul in 2018, and most of the tourist attractions in the city are located on the European side. That leaves the Asian side with more peace and quiet, as well as significantly more local offerings, which is what makes the Asian side of Istanbul perfect to get a more realistic and relaxed flavour of the city.
And two amazing, hidden gems of Istanbul are Üsküdar and Kodiköy districts.
One of Istanbul’s oldest residential districts, Üsküdar is home to many locals who work in Europe and live in Asia. Üsküdar is Istanbul at its most authentic. The coast of Üsküdar faces the Bosphorus too but unlike on the European side, is a lot more relaxed, making it a good place to while away the day and watch the sunset.
A classy star to the district is the Beylerbeyi Palace, an imperial Ottoman summer palace, built by the Sultan Abdulaziz to entertain visiting royalty from around Europe. It was also here that the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was kept in captivity until his death.
The heartbeat of Üsküdar is its fish market, Üsküdar Balıkçılar Çarşısı. Be it fish, dried fruit, spices, breads and vegetables it’s all fresh and much cheaper than on the European side.
Then there is the Kadiköy district, located south of Uskudar. If Uskudar is a residential district that Kadikoy is a cultural district full of bars, cinemas, bookshops, restaurants as well as all the cool stuff you can get (check out a few cool articles here, here and here). But really, in Kadiköy is really about getting stuffed.
Whereas Uskudar has a fish market, Kadikoy has a produce market selling many other kinds of produce – including rather pickle juice which tastes more salty than sour actually.
Kadikoy is also home to a great food street such as the restaurant Ciya Sofrasi, known for its regional Turkish dishes, and a whole lot of other restaurant.
I’ll let these vloggers take it away 😉
ON THE MAP (Üsküdar District)
ON THE MAP (Kadiköy District)