Far up the Bosphorus on its Asian shore, Kandilli ("With Candles") is a classy neighbourhood that is home to several fine yalıs (waterside mansions) including the Kıbrıslı Yalısı (Cyprus Yalı), the longest of them all. It's also home to the fine Adile Sultan Palace, now a smart restaurant, and to the İstanbul Observatory, the place that has the unhappy task of keeping an eye out for earthquakes.

It won't mean much to non-watchers to Turkish soap operas but it's also home to the Abud Efendi Yalısı which featured as Gümüs in a programme that found particular favour in the Arab-speaking world, not least beacuse of its handsome leading man, Kıvanç Tatlıdağ. 

There are no major sights here but if you're coming this way to visit the Küçüksu Kasrı or the Khedive's Villa at Çubuklu you might want to make a brief stop to have a quick look round. 

The fastest flowing current on the Bosphorus passes in front of the Edip Efendi Yalısı at Kandilli and is suitably named Şeytan Akıntısı (Satan's Current). 

Around Kandilli

The Kibrıslı Yalısı is best appreciated from the decks of a Bosphorus cruiser but the Abud Efendi Yalı is usually open to the public on payment of a small fee. It was designed by Garabet Balyan. 

The Adile Sultan Sarayı (Adile Sultan Palace) sits high on the hillside. You're most likely to visit it if you fancy a meal at the branch of Bosra inside. It's another Balyan-built project, designed originally in the 1860s for the unlucky Adile Sultan, a daughter of Sultan Mahmud II. In 1899 it was turned into Turkey's second school for girls but burnt down in 1986. 

On İcadiye Hill, the Kandilli Rasathanesi (Kandilli Observatory) is now a branch of Boğaziçi Üniversite (Bosphorus University) and not open to the public which is a shame given that it has a memorable history, albeit on a variety of other sites (the story is told in the Museum of the History of Islamic Science and Technology in Gülhane Park). It has been standing on this site since 1868. 

Famous Western visitors Kandilli's 18th- and 19th-century yalıs received more than their fair share of illustrious visitors. Pierre Loti was a guest at the Kont Ostorog Yalısı and the Kıbrıslı Yalısı while a British aristocrat named Dorina Lady Neave lived in the Clifton Yalısı from 1881 to 1907, leaving an account of her time there in a book called Romance of the Bosphorus. But the most famous of all the Kandilli visitors has to have been Casanova who visited İstanbul in 1745 and may have had a brief gay fling with the owner of what is now often nicknamed the Casanova Yalısi on the hillside at Kandilli. 


Kandilli Borsa. Tel: 0216-460 0304

Kandilli Suna'nın Yeri. Tel: 0216-332 3241

Transport info

The nicest way to get here is using the timetabled ferry service from one of the other Bosphorus suburbs (http://sehirhatlari.com.tr/en/timetable/cengelkoy-istinye-368.html). Failing that, buses travel slowly up the coast from Üsküdar.

Nearby areas

Anadolu Hisarı




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