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ISTANBUL – Discover the Charm of Ortaköy

A Historical Gem on the Bosphorus

Ortaköy, a vibrant neighborhood nestled along the Bosphorus, has played a pivotal role in Istanbul’s daily life since the Byzantine and Ottoman eras. Its rich history and picturesque setting make it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a blend of cultural heritage and scenic beauty.

A Glimpse into History

During the 16th century, Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent encouraged Turks to settle in Ortaköy, transforming what was predominantly a Greek neighborhood into a diverse and bustling community. One of the oldest surviving structures from this era is the hamam (Turkish bath), built by the renowned Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan in 1556. Though no longer in use, its historical significance remains a testament to the area’s long-standing cultural tapestry.

Getting There

Reaching Ortaköy is a breeze with direct ferries departing hourly from Eminönü and arriving at Ortaköy İskelesi. The scenic 25-minute journey offers stunning views of Istanbul’s skyline, setting the tone for a delightful day of exploration.

Esma Sultan Mansion: A Fusion of Past and Present

A short stroll from the ferry dock brings you to the Esma Sultan Mansion, an architectural marvel with a storied past. Built in 1875 as an Ottoman-era yalı (waterside mansion) and gifted to Esma Sultan by her father Sultan Abdülaziz, the mansion was severely damaged by fire in 1975. The Marmara Hotels group undertook its renovation in the 1990s, preserving the burnt historic exterior while introducing a modern interior. Today, it serves as a versatile event venue, offering a unique juxtaposition of old and new.

The Iconic Ortaköy Mosque

No visit to Ortaköy is complete without marveling at the stunning Ortaköy Mosque. This beautiful Neo-Baroque structure, prominently situated by the Bosphorus, is easily visible from passing boats. The mosque’s original construction dates back to the 18th century, but the current iteration, commissioned by Sultan Abdülmecid I and designed by the father-son duo Garabet Amira Balyan and Nigoğayos Balyan, was completed between 1854 and 1856. Its intricate design and serene location make it a favorite spot for photographers and history enthusiasts alike.

A Neighborhood of Endless Charm

Beyond its historical landmarks, Ortaköy is renowned for its lively atmosphere. The area is dotted with charming cafes, eclectic boutiques, and bustling markets, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the local culture. Whether you’re savoring a traditional Turkish tea by the waterfront or browsing through artisan crafts, Ortaköy promises an experience that is both enriching and unforgettable.

Plan Your Visit

Ortaköy’s rich history, architectural wonders, and vibrant local life make it a destination that captures the essence of Istanbul. Hop on a ferry, take in the stunning Bosphorus views, and step into a neighborhood where every corner tells a story. Let Ortaköy enchant you with its unique blend of past and present, offering a journey through time that you won’t soon forget.

Vuitton Travel and TURKEY Tourism USA will gladly assist you with your planning and reservations for Turkey. Our contact details are below and we prefer doing business face-to-face via Zoom/Skype or on the telephone. The way travel should be planned and reserved.


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