Town of fairy tales: Kandilli

The ferry pier in Kandilli, where fish restaurants and cafes are located, can be considered the center of the district.

Every corner of Istanbul is a historical spectacle. Each district of this magnificent city has many different stories, breathtaking historical sites and amazing flavors. The centuries-old secrets of Ottoman mansions, the untold tales that have taken place in the narrow alleys, and beautiful sights alongside the coast make each of these districts unique in splendor. As usual, these districts are the centers of attraction for both local and foreign tourists.

The first of these districts is Kandilli, which offers many beautiful places to discover. This historical neighborhood of the Asian side of Istanbul still hold onto the beauty of past days. It is said that the district got the name Kandilli (which literally means "With Candles") from the palace built by Ottoman Sultan Murad IV which was adorned with candles.

The most famous historical structure of Kandilli is the Adile Sultan Palace. It was ordered to be built by Adile Sultan, one of the daughters of the Ottoman Sultan, Mahmud II. The architects of the palace were the famous Balyan family, known to have made many buildings around the world and in Istanbul, such as the Dolmabahçe Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace and Ortaköy Mosque.

Adile Sultan donated the palace to be turned into a school for girls before she passed away in 1899. It became the Kandilli High School for girls after 1916. After a fire in 1986 destroyed it, it was restored in 2006 and reopened as a cultural center.

The Küçüksu Summer Pavilion next to the Kandilli district is also worth seeing. The history of Küçüksu, the charming region of the Bosphorus, goes back to the Byzantine period. Küçüksu and its surroundings, known as "Kandil Bahçesi"(Candle Garden), were a popular destination during the Ottoman period. The garden, loved by the sultan, was one of the main gardens of Sultan Murad IV.

The most popular spot in Kandilli however, is the ferry pier and its surroundings. The area where fishermen and cafes are located is always lively. The shops of the local tradesmen, the flowers hanging from the historical buildings, the imposing structure of the ferry pier add a special joy to this space. Cafe Kandilli is one of the most enjoyable places to sit at in the neighborhood. The venue, managed by the owner herself, Ezgi Demir has been open for eight years. Small square windows, antique style decoration, fireplaces and the sea view are very pleasant. Cafe Kandilli is ideal for breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks. The owner Ezgi Demir is a real entrepreneur. She is in love with her work. The cafe makes you sense that she has a strong vision. Most of the tasty products on the breakfast menu come directly from Anatolian producers. I especially loved the Turkish pepperoni they had prepared themselves. At the same time, the buffalo cream was great. The brownie stuffed with real chocolate is definitely worth a try. Silver cutlery, porcelain plates and tablecloths make one feel quite nostalgic.

Cafe Kandilli offers catering services, as well. The venue can also be rented for birthday parties and special occasions. On the other hand, the back garden is a complete hidden paradise. It is full of bamboo trees, L-shaped seats, straw umbrellas and artistic objects. It is a pleasant area to spend time at in the summer months. The venue is open every day except Mondays and is pet friendly. Artists, journalists and freelance consultants all are frequent visitors to the venue. Ezgi Demir is quite proud of her cafe. ''We aimed to create a special place offering many boutique delicacies that everyone would enjoy and we achieved our aim. We've been keeping our popularity [going] for years," she says. We suggest you visit Cafe Kandilli as soon as possible.

If you are interested in photography, you would love the Ottoman-style historical houses on Sıraevler Street in Kandilli. Bordeaux, mustard yellow and eau-de-nil coloured mansions will take you on a journey in history. On the same street, you will also see the Armenian and Greek churches. Churches with magnificent icons are open to visitors on Sundays. While you are in Kandilli, you can also visit some other historical Bosphorus towns on the Asian side of the city. Stop by Kanlica where you can try the special Kanlica yoghurt, visit the famous magnificent mosque in Beylerbeyi, enjoy drinking tea under the old plane trees in Çengelköy, take photos in front of the historical walls of the Anatolian Fortress or visit Hidiv Summer Pavilion and take a boat ride on the Göksu river. I strongly advise you to visit these historic neighborhoods on the coastline of the Asian side as soon as you get a chance.
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