Istanbul has plenty of options to refresh yourself on hot summer days. Not just with Judas trees and wonderful view of the Bosporus, it takes you away from the crowds of the city with its parks and forests. Especially, after the declaration of the president of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, we are all waiting to see Istanbul's central spots turn into giant Nation Parks. Erdoğan's promise of Nation Parks doesn't just include Istanbul but also 16 other major cities in Turkey. The target is 31 new parks. Mostly old stadiums, old airports and unused public spaces will turn into giant parks. At the end of the development process, some of them, including Atatürk Airport, will be listed as some of the biggest parks in the world.
On the side of this Nation Parks project, the park that excites me is Maltepe Park, which is by the shore on the Anatolian side, with 20,000 trees planted on 1,200,000 square meters. But, nostalgically, Gülhane Park has always taken me back to the past. Likewise, Yıldız Grove and Emirgan Grove are among the rare places where greenery meets history.
Gülhane Park was the outer garden of Topkapı Palace in the Ottomon Empire, and it had a grove and rose gardens in it. The Rescript of Gülhane, the first concrete step for democracy in Turkish history, was read by Mustafa Reşit Pasha on Nov. 3, 1839, during the reign of Sultan Abdülmecit in Gülhane Park. It was arranged by the mayor of that time, Cemil Topuzlu, and was turned into a park in 1912 and opened to the public. Busts of Istanbul mayors are to the right hand of the park entrance. To the right of the ramp that curves down towards the Bosporus is a statue of Aşık Veysel and towards the end of the ramp a little uphill is the Column of the Goths left by the Romans. At one time, there was also the city's first zoo. Currently, the park is an absolute heaven. Especially during the tulip festival, it is the favorite spot for tourists and photographers.
Tracks in the Belgrade Forest are ideal for bicyclists.
Today, on the other hand, I'm going to tell you mostly about Belgrad Forest. The forest gets its name from the people of Belgrade that Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent brought with him on his way back from his journey from Serbia and let settle there. This huge forest in the Sarıyer district has a size and grandeur that overshadows all the other parks in the city. Spend time in a real forest with a 6-km-long running track and off-road tracks. It's only 20 minutes from Maslak where skyscrapers rise. The forest hosts various wild plants, trees and animals. The forest - with outdoor sports areas, cafes and picnic areas - is the favorite place for people who run professionally. Off-road paths, on the other hand, are ideal for bicyclists. I suggest that people who come to walk or jog go early on weekends. Otherwise, the forest is full of people who go there to picnic after 11:00 am. But it's still has beautiful conditions you will enjoy.
Derya Cafe in the forest is one of its most popular places with a cute wooden house. It has a perfect village atmosphere with an old type heater, rugs hung on its walls and high ceilings. There are wooden tables and hammocks in the garden. I suggest people who want a village breakfast come here. Have your breakfast at shadowed camellias and get back the calories you spent during your walk by spreading organic Trabzon butter on chickpea bread. It's also possible to take a small tour in the forest after breakfast with the horses next door. The tours are pretty enjoyable and cheap. Don't forget to get your photograph taken.
There are a few streams in Belgrad Forest. Dams built during Ottoman times in the estuary of these streams are still there. While walking in Belgrad Forest, which was an important water collection center in history, streams that run across this reservoir and running tract will add to your joy. I believe it's beneficial to mention that there are not many options for water and food along the track, which you can also enjoy with your dog. When you leave Belgrad Forest, enjoy Izoletta, which is 10 minutes from the forest. It is designed like a chalet with wide Chesterfield sofas, a fireplace and wooden tables. Breakfasts are enjoyable, as are the meat dishes. All the services are creative. Discover it with your loved ones. Refresh yourself, refresh your mind.
Tips of the week
Top 3 Restaurant of the Week
- Glance / Nişantaşı
- Serafina / Bodrum
- Kapha / Alaçatı
Top 3 Hotels of the Week
- Alavya / Alaçatı
- Avantgarde / Bodrum
- Nişanyan / Şirince
Top 3 People to Follow
- Mete Aktuğ / Producer
- Kaan Çetinkaya / Architect
- Nihan Çetinkaya / Artist