tesvik2The swanky suburb of Teşvikiye is the extension of Nişantaşı and it's not easy to tell exactly where one stops and the other starts.

Like Abdi İpekçi Caddesi in Nişantaşı, Teşvikiye Caddesi is lined with shops selling brand-name goods although it's also home to the City's Shopping Mall which rises to more mundane shops as well as one of İstanbul's Apple franchise shops if you need an urgent repair to your Mac. 

The most interesting historic monument in Teşvikiye is the Teşvikiye Cami which often provides the setting for high-society funerals. Not far past it Teşvikiye segues into Maçka and heads on downhill to Maçka Demokrasi Park.


Right into the 19th century this was a sparsely developed part of the city. Then Sultan Mahmud II set about encouraging people to settle there ("teşvikiye" is Turkish for "encouragement").

Later it became associated with a group of Turks called the Dönme (Converts), descendants of the followers of Sabetay Sevi, a Smyrna Jew who had proclaimed himself the Messiah, only to change his mind and convert to Islam. He and his followers were exiled to Thessaloniki in Greece which might have been the end of the story as far as Turkey was concerned except that after the 1923 Graeco-Turkish population exchange these Muslims were "returned" to Turkey. Many of them chose to settle in Teşvikiye. Abdi İpekçi, for example, was a Dönme, as, I believe, was politician İsmail Cem.  

Around Teşvikiye

Teşviiye Caddesi is an extension of Rumeli Caddesi which runs down from the Osmanbey Metro station. It changes name at the crossroads marked by one of the nişantaşı (target stones) that marked the distances reached by arrows shot by the later sultans (more of these can be seen in the Okmeydanı complex). 

There's another such nişantaşı in the grounds of the stone-built early 20th-century Teşvikiye Police Station at the next road junction down.

Further down the road on the opposite side, the delicate Teşvikiye Cami dates back only to 1853 although there had been an earlier mosque on the same site. An architecturally simple building, it has an elegant marble entrance with the sultan's tuğra (signature) on its parapet. The solitary dome and minaret show how far Ottoman architecture had retreated from the glories of the Sinan years.

The mosque grounds provide a home for two more nişantaşı, one marking a record set by Sultan Selim III, the other by Sultan Mahmud II. On the street outside there's a sebil (water dispensary) that has now been coopted to serve as a restaurant. 

tesvik3Facing the mosque the lovely Teşvikiye Palas apartment block used to house the Mexican Embassy. As you turn down Maçka Caddesi the Narmanlı Apartment block is even finer with bunches of grapes carved on the stone doorframe.


The House Cafe 

This branch of the popular small chain of restaurants is partially housed inside the circular building that was once the muvakkitane (timekeeper's office) attached to the mosque. It's reliable fusion menu includes some delightful mini pizzas including one topped with mushrooms and pears. 

Tel: 0212- 327 1774, Teşvikiye Caddesi No. 146


Park Hyatt Hotel

Sofa Hotel. Tel: 0212-368 1818

Transport info

The nicest way to get to Teşvikiye is to take the cable-car from near Taksim Square (the entrance is in the park just past the Taşkışla (Stone Barracks)) to Maçka and then walk uphill.

Dolmuşes from Taksim (top of Gümüşsuyu Caddesi) will drop you near the Teşvikiye Cami. Those to Nişantaşı run from the Eminönü waterfront and leave you near the City's shopping mall. 

Alternatively you can take the Metro to Osmanbey and walk down Rumeli Caddesi.

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