Old name: Chalcedon 

The great divide created by the Bosphorus means that relatively few foreign visitors make it over to the Asian side of the city although the opening of the Marmaray should start to change that. 

In any case it's a great shame since Kadıköy is a cheerful suburb with a lively student vibe about it and an excellent central market area full of the most tempting of culinary titbits.

There are no great sights to see in Kadıköy which means that you can just relax, browse the pedestrianised markets streets and enjoy the restaurants, including the famous Çiya,  renowned as a gourmet stronghold. 

If you prefer a focus for your visits a few minor sights lurk within walking distance of the ferry terminals. Both Kadife Sokak (Barlar Sokak) and Bahariye Caddesi, the İstiklal Caddesi of the Asian side of town, are also guaranteed to repay a visit.kadik4

Around Kadıköy

When you step off the ferry at Kadıköy you will find yourself facing a low-slung building  that houses the İstanbul Conservatoire. It was originally built in the 1920s as a market hall and is long overdue for a makeover. It forms something off a setpiece with two other examples of First National architecture nearby: the original ferry terminal just along the promenade and the Kadıköy Kayamakamlığı builidng, designed in 1913 by Constantinos P Kyriakides and about to be turned into a library which is just inland behind the statue of Atatürk teaching children the new Turkish alphabet. 

If you cross the busy coast road and head up Söğütlüçeşme Caddesi you will have the labyrinth of narrow pedestrianized shopping streets around the market on your right. Keep walking uphill though and you will come to Kadıköy's most famous landmark, the Boğa Heykeli (Bull Monument) behind which lies an unexpectedly fascinating story. bull1

In 1867 Sultan Abdülaziz was the first Ottoman ruler to visit Europe for pleasure; the carriage in which he did so is preserved in the Rahmi M. Koç Museum in Hasköy. Having admired the statues he saw on display there, he returned to Constantinople and commissioned not just a bust of himself that is now in Topkapı Palace but also 24 statues of animals in bronze or marble by the French artist Pierre Louis Rouillard (1820-81). Most of them ended up in Beylerbeyi Palace while a couple still grace the lawn of the Dolmabahçe Palace. The horse in the upper garden of the Sakıp Sabancı Museum in Emirgan comes from the same horde. I wonder how many of the people who scramble onto the back of the bull at the start of Bahariye Caddesi ever pause to consider that they are climbing onto a monument that is more than 100 years old?

If you turn right at the bull you will find yourself walking along Asım Gündüz Caddesi, known to all and sundry as Bahariye Caddesi. As on İstiklal Caddesi a nostalgic tram trundles along the street if you don't feel like walking.

On the left is the square tower of the Church of Surp Levon, built in 1911 and the only Armenian Catholic church in the Asian side of the city (on the European side there is another Armenian Catholic church in Karaköy).

osmankadiA little way along Bahariye Caddesi a turning on the left leads down to the Nazım Hikmet Cultural Centre, a popular hangout for students. On the corner of the street a mural reminds passer-by that the artist Osman Hamdi Bey was Kadıköy’s first mayor.

The main sight on Bahariye Caddesi is the elegant Sürreya Opera House, built in 1924 and long used as a cinema. Although it was turned back into an opera house in 2007 it's interior is still that of a cinema of the Golden Age. You can almost imagine the Wurlitzer rising up from the floor. Nearby one shattered piece of brick wall is all that remains of the 19th-century Köceoğlu Hamam, named after Agop Köçeyan, bookseller to the sultans. 

If instead of heading up Söğütlüçeşme Caddesi you plunge into Kadıköy's market streets you will come across two vageuly old but hardly exciting mosques: the 17th-century Osman Ağa Cami and the İskele Cami (Harbour Mosque), facing the water, that was built in 1760 but had to be entirely rebuilt in 1858. 

Buried in the market are two 19th-century churches. The first, the Greek Orthodox Church of St Euphemia, overlooks a small square marked with a state of a tiny crocodile, a reminder of the Amasya-born geographer Strabo's suggestion that the locals used to feed the crocodiles living in a stream here. St Euphemia is believed to have lived in Byzantine Chalcedon where she was thrown to a bear for refusing to recant her Christianity. The church is an 1830 rebuild of a 1794 original.kadik1

Nearby is the 19th-century Armenian Orthodox Church of Surp Takavor (Christ the King).

The Kadıköy church you are most likely to be able to see inside is the huge Greek Orthodox Church of Hagia Triada (Holy Trinity), dating back to 1902 and set in a sizeable garden near Barlar Sokak. 

The back streets of Kadıköy feature some fine wooden houses in varying states of repair as well as some terraced stone houses such as the ones in Barlar Sokak. Until recently the small streets leading inland from the coast road were mainly in a fairly poor condition but recently there have been signs of gentrification. 

Eating and drinkingkadik5Kadife (Barlar) Sokak

Barlar Sokak with its themed house-bars used to be the cool place to hang out but these days much of the night-time action seems to have moved into the streets around the market stalls, no doubt because there's more space in which to spread out there.


In summer when your thoughts fly to an ice-cream sundae where could be better than this long-lived (1961) cake shop which has a back garden where you can linger over the house specialty, a Küp Griye or caramel sundae.

Tel: 0216-336 2881, Muvakkithane Caddesi No. 19


A temple to Turkish cuisine especially of the southeasten variety, Çiya is spread across three buildings in the same street which means that you should be able to find a seat even at busy times of year. Most people rave about it. My own experiences there have tended to be quite ordinary. 

Tel: 0216-418 5115, Güneşlibahçe Sokak

Kadı Nimet Balıkçılık

A personal favourite, this small fish restaurant right in the heart of the market where you know that all the ingredients will be super-fresh is always packed to the gunnels with enthusiastic diners. 

Tel: 0216-348 7189, Serasker Caddesi No.10A

Küp Café

One of Turkey’s many saklı bahçes (hidden gardens) lurks behind the low-key façade of this café. Come here to down a drink with the locals amid tall shady trees in the heat of summer.

Tel: 0216-347 8694, Güneşli Bahçe Sokak No. 47


DoubleTree by Hilton

This unmissable high-rise hotel at the start of the road to Moda offers spectacular views from its 245-deluxe rooms although its surroundings are none too inspiring. Facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, and several restaurants including the rooftop 360 East (tel: 0216-542 43 50) with some rather bizarre entertainment. 

Tel: 0216-542 4344, www.doubletree.com, Albay Faik Özdener Caddesi No. 31

kadik6Transport info

By far the best way to get to Kadıkoy is by one the ferries that leave from Eminönü, Karaköy, Kabataş and Beşiktaş.

The ferries stop running relatively early (around 8pm) after which you used to need to catch a dolmuş back to Taksim. Because this crosses one of the Bosphorus bridges the fare is a little higher than normal.

A Metro runs all the way from Kadıköy to Kartal. Now you can hop one stop to Ayrılık Çeşmesi and change to the Marmaray which will whisk you back to the European side of the city in minutes.

metrokadRoute of Kadıköy-Kartal Metro. Number 2 is Ayrılık Çeşmesi

Dolmuşes run up and down the coast road at frequent intervals. They're a good way to get around although some are driven alarmingly fast. 

There's a bus terminal on the waterfront just a short walk west of Kadıköy ferry terminal.

The nostalgic tram that runs round Kadıköy and the edge of Moda is not hugely practical but can be fun and is worth knowing about if you're not up for much walking. 

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