beykoz1Market day: Thursday

Way up the Asian shore of the Bosphorus beyond Paşabahçe lies the airy, open feeling suburb of Beykoz.

It was once known for the production of a special kind of stripy glass called çeşm-i bülbül or nightingale glass. This was manufactured, using a technique imported from Venice in the 18th century. The factory built to mass-produce the glass in 1843 stood beside a fountain of the same name, since lost, as is the factory. 

Today you might want to pause in the centre of Beykoz to admire a unique fountain with ten separate water spouts, built originally in the 16th century but completely rebuilt in 1746 by a customs collector named İshak Ağa after whom it was named the İshak Ağa Çeşmesi although most people know it more simply as the On Çeşmesi, or fountain with ten spouts. Set in a dip with steps leading down it it was completely renewed and repainted in 2008.

Also worth a visit is the lovely Beykoz Wood, what remains of the estate of the fabulously wealthy Abraham (Avram) Paşa (1830-1918), an Armenian civil servant who founded the Cercle d'Orient club in what is now the Emek Pasajı on İstiklal Caddesi (currently under redevelopment as yet another shopping mall). Unfortunately Abraham was a gambler who ran up debts that forced him to sell his extravagant house in the woods. This burnt down in 1937 but was recently reconstructed and turned into a restaurant. 

If you visited in spring or early summer it used to be possible to watch the dalyan fishing nets set up on poles in the water, a method of fishing that was described by Evliya Çelebi in the 17th century and mainly used to catch lüfer (bluefish). It was a scene that always looked as if it should be in somewhere far more exotic - Sri Lanka, for example. Unfortunately the last time the nets were set up seems to have been 2014.

A plaque on one of the houses commemorates the novelist and journalist Ahmed Midhat Efendi (1844-1912) who lived here for the last 22 years of his life. There used to be a small private theatre on the top floor.

Travelling north from Beykoz look out on the inland side of the road and uphill for the grand Hünkar Kasrı, a mansion designed by Sarkis and Nikoğos Balyan in 1855 for Kavalılı Mehmed Ali Paşa, a man who actually led an uprising against the Ottomans. This enabled the Russians to get a foothold in Constantinople when the 1833 Treaty of Hünkar İskelesi conceded them the right to bring their warships down the strait and through the Dardanelles. Mehmed Ali intended the mansion as some sort of peace offering. The work was completed by his son Said Halim Pasa but unfortunately it is not open to the public. 

Transport info

There are frequent ferries from Yeniköy to Beykoz. Otherwise you can get here by dolmuş or by one of the buses in the No 15 series from Üsküdar. Both leave from opposite the harbour. 

Nearby areas

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