6 Aralık 2013 Cuma


Üsküdar (Turkish pronunciation: [ysˈcydaɾ]), formerly known as Scutari, is a large and densely populated district and municipality of Istanbul, Turkey, on the Anatolian shore of the Bosphorus. It is bordered on the north by Beykoz, on the east by Ümraniye, on the southeast by Ataşehir, on the south by Kadıköy, and on the west by the Bosphorus, with the areas of Beşiktaş, Beyoğlu, and Eminönü on the opposite shore. It is home to about half a million people. Üsküdar is also the usual name for the historic center of the municipality.


Üsküdar was originally called "Skoutarion" during the Byzantine Empire. This word may have been used to describe the shields that guards used that were made of leather. This is believed because the word scutari means "raw tanned leather." Others who visited the area called it Eksüdar or Escutaire.


Üsküdar was founded in the 7th century BC by ancient Greek colonists from Megara as "Chrysopolis" meaning ("golden city"), a few decades before Byzantium was founded on the opposite shore. According to an ancient Greek geographer, the city received the name Chrysopolis because the Persian empire had a gold depository there or because it was associated with Agamemnon and Chryseis' son Chryses., while according to an 18th-century writer it received the name because of the excellence of its harbor. The city was used as a harbor and shipyard and was an important staging post in the wars between the Greeks and Persians. In 410 BC Chrysopolis was taken by the Athenian general Alcibiades, and the Athenians used it henceforth to charge a toll on ships coming from and going to the Black Sea. Long overshadowed by its neighbor Chalcedon during the Hellenistic and Roman period, it maintained its identity and increased its prosperity until it surpassed Chalcedon. Due to its less favorable location with respect to the currents of the Bosporus, however, it never surpassed Byzantium.

In 324 CE, the final battle between Constantine I, Emperor of the West, and Licinus, Emperor of the East, in which Constantine defeated Licinus, took place at Chrysopolis. When Constantine made Byzantium his capital, Chrysopolis, together with Chalcedon, became suburbs. Chrysopolis remained important throughout the Byzantine period because all trade routes to Asia started there, and all Byzantine army units headed to Asia mustered there. Because of its location across from Constantinople, it was a natural target for anyone aiming at the capital. In the 8th century CE it was taken by a small band of Arabs who caused considerable destruction, and panic in Constantinople, before withdrawing. In 988, a rebellion that nearly toppled Basil II began in Chrysopolis, before he was able to crush with the aid of Russian mercenaries. In the 12th century, the city changed its name to Skoutarion , the name deriving from the Emperor's Skoutarion Palace nearby. In 1338 the Ottoman leader Orhan Gazi took Skoutarion, giving the Ottomans a base within sight of Constantinople for the first time.

In the Ottoman period Üsküdar was one of the three communities outside the city walls of Constantinople (along with Eyüp and Galata). The area was a major burial ground, and today many large cemeteries remain, including Karacaahmet Mezarlığı, Bülbülderesi Mezarlığı, and a number of Jewish and Christian cemeteries. Karacaahmet Mezarlığı is one of Istanbul's largest cemeteries. The Bülbülderesi cemetery is next to Fevziye Hatun mosque.

 historical Neighborhoods


Üsküdar's long promenade along the coast from the center down in southern direction towards the bus station at Harem is popular in summer as it commands excellent views of the European shore of Topkapı Palace, Aya Sofya, Sultan Ahmed Mosque (The Blue Mosque), Taksim and Beşiktaş. This promenade is lined with cafes and restaurants, the most famous and prominent of which is not on the coast but out in the water: Kız Kulesi (Maiden's Tower), a small tower just off the coast that has existed since Byzantine times. From time to time it has been used as a toll booth; now it is used as an upscale restaurant and a venue for wedding parties. The name comes from a legend about a princess shut in the tower.

On nice days people gather on the shore to fish, sit and drink tea or to enjoy being out on the water in little rowing boats. There is a more recent mosque (1760) on the shore opposite the tower. The streets of Salacak behind the coast, in the area called Imrahor, are attractive and still hold a number of classic Ottoman wooden houses. The legendary 17th-century Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi is said to have landed here on his hang-glider flight across the Bosphorus.

Further down along the coast is the Harem neighborhood, which contains a major intercity bus terminal and the Selimiye Barracks where Florence Nightingale once tended wounded British soldiers.

Bağlarbaşı and Altunizade

Formerly orchards and fruit-gardens (the meaning of bağ in Turkish). In the 19th century it became a residential neighborhood, home to the typical Istanbul urban mix of Greeks, Jews, Turks, and Armenians.  The neighborhood still has an Armenian school and the Armenian church of Surp Garabed, built in 1844. Until the 1990s the area remained a middle-class residential neighborhood, and today is still an attractive district with a mixture of housing and office/commercial property. A number of properties have been converted to office and business use. Altunizade is still an attractive residential neighborhood, home to the large and busy Capitol shopping and entertainment center. Altunizade was established in the early 19th century by Altunizade İsmail Zühtü Pasha. He also constructed Altunizade mosque which was built in 1866.

                                                                  A bird house on mosque wall

Up the Bosphorus

The boundary of the municipality of Üsküdar is far up the Bosphorus, and beyond lies Beykoz. The Bosphorus is among the more beautiful features of Istanbul. However, going up the Bosphorus from Üsküdar on the Anatolian side it is hard to find places to sit and enjoy the view; the coastal strip is either too narrow or is built on.


This hill, known as Tchamlidja in 19th-century spelling, has the highest point in Istanbul and commands a panoramic view of the entire city. One of the most prestiged schools of Turkey, Bilfen College is located on the Çamlıca hill.


Üsküdar is home to over 180 mosques, many of them historic Ottoman buildings, many built for women of the imperial harem, and many built by the famous architect Mimar Sinan. Among the first things one sees on arriving by ferry are the two mosques on either side of the ferry port, both designed by Sinan. The larger one is the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, sometimes called the İskele (Dock) Mosque, built by a daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent; the smaller one is the Şemsi Pasha Mosque, built by a vizier of Suleiman's. Şemsi Pasha has a small library building in the courtyard where one can sit and enjoy the sea breeze off the Bosphorus.

A little further inland between the fountain of Ahmet III and the Şemsi Pasha Mosque is the large Yeni Valide Mosque, built by Ahmet III's mother. Uphill from the dock in the Valideiatik neighborhood is the Atik Valide Mosque, built by Murat III's mother and also designed by Sinan. Further uphill from there is the smaller Çinili (Tiled) Mosque. In Karacaahmet Cemetery is the large Şakirin Mosque, built in 2009.

The Namazgâh Mosque (built in 1860) in the eastern part of Üsküdar, close to the border with Ümraniye, is one of the few historical wooden mosques in Istanbul.

Other important mosques of Üsküdar include Ahmediye, Ahmet Ağa, Ahmet Çelebi, Altunizade, Ayazma, Aziz Mahmut Hudai, Baki Efendi, Beylerbeyi, Bodrumi Ömer Lütfi Efendi, Bostancı, Bulgurlu, Çakırcıbaşı, Fatih, Gülfem Hatun, Hacı Ömer, İmrahor, İranlılar, İstavroz, Kandilli, Kara Davut Pasha, Kaymak Mustafa Pasha, Kısıklı, Küleli Bahçe, Malatyalı İsmail Ağa, Mirzazade, Paşalimanı, Rum Mehmet Pasha, Selimiye, Solak Sinan, Tahır Efendi, Üryanizade, and Vanikoy.


 The Surp Krikor Lusavoriç (Saint Gregory the Illuminator) Armenian Church
Churches of Üsküdar include the İlya Profiti (Prophet Elijah) Greek Orthodox Church in Muratreis (present building built in 1831), the Kandilli Khristos Rum Ortodoks Kilisesi (built in 1810), the Surp Garabet (Saint John the Baptist) Armenian Church in Murat Reis (first church on the site, 1590; present building built 1888), the Surp Haç (Holy Cross) Armenian Church in Selami Ali (built 1676, rebuilt 1880), the Surp Krikor Lusavoriç (Saint Gregory the Illuminator) Armenian Church in Kuzguncuk (first built 1835, rebuilt 1861), and the Surp Yergodasan Arakelots (Twelve Apostoles) Armenian Church in Kandilli (built 1846).


Synagogues of Üsküdar include Bet Yaakov (built 1878) and Bet Nissim (built in the 1840s).

Other religious buildings

Important tekkes (dervish lodges) include the Aziz Mahmud Hudayi Tekke (Aziz Mahmud Hudayi (1541–1628), who is buried in Üsküdar was the founder of the Jelveti Sufi order)  the Nasuhi Efendi Tekke (Nasuhi Efendi was the founder of the Nasuhiyye Khalwati Sufi order and the grandfather of the Turkish American music producer Ahmet Ertegün, and the Özbekler Tekkesi where the Ertegün family members are buried.

Important tombs in Üsküdar include those of Aziz Mahmud Hudayi, Hacı Ahmet Pasha, Halil Pasha, İbrahim Edhem Pasha, Karaca Ahmet, and Rum Mehmet Pasha.

Çeşmes and sebils

Other notable Ottoman features to be seen in Üsküdar are the many çeşmes (drinking water sources) and sebils (kiosks for distribution of drinks). One of the largest and most visible çeşmes is the fountain of Ahmet III (1728–29), an impressive marble structure in the center of Üsküdar near the ferry docks.

Other important çeşmes of Üsküdar include Gülnuş Emetullah Valide Sultan (1709, next to the Yeni Valide Mosque), Hüseyin Avni Pasha (1874, Paşalimanı), Mustafa III (1760, next to the Ayazma Mosque), and Selim III (1802, in Çiçekçi, Harem İskelesi Street).

Important sebils of Üsküdar include those of Hacı Hüseyin Pasha (1865, near the Karacaahmet Cemetery), Halil Pasha (1617, attached to Halil Pasha's tomb), Hudayi (first built in the 1590s but later much remodeled, near Aziz Mahmud Hudayi's tomb), Sadettin Efendi (1741, near the tomb of Karacaahmet Cemetery), Şeyhülislam Arif Hikmet Bey (1858, near the Kartal Baba Mosque), Valide Çinili (1640, next to the Çinili Mosque), Valide-i Cedid (1709, next to the Yeni Valide Mosque), and Ziya Bey (1866, near the tomb of Karacaahmet).


The Florence Nightingale Museum inside the Selimiye Barracks in Selimiye displays items associated with Nightingale and her medical work in Istanbul during the Crimean War. The Beylerbeyi Palace Museum in Beylerbeyi shows the palace built for Abdülaziz in the 1860s.


The district of Uskudar may not have the opulence and variety of attractions that exist on the historical peninsula over the sea, but it surely packs a more authentic and traditional side of Istanbul, mostly unknown to traveler. The district has many old mosques, about 180 of them, many being interesting Ottoman attractions. The most important landmarks of Uskudar are:
  • Beylerbeyi Palace – One of the most pleasant and charming palaces of Istanbul and definitely the most beautiful on the Asian side. Although smaller than other Ottoman palaces, the Beylerbeyi was built between 1861 and 1865 and among its highlights, we can include the 26 charming rooms, the terraced gardens and the small pavilions.
  • Maiden’s Tower – Among the picturesque sights of Istanbul, the Maiden’s Tower is located on a small islet on the Bosporus, off the Uskudar coast. With a long history and beautiful legends linked to it, the tower has a lighthouse and a restaurant, with beautiful views towards the European and Asian coast of the city.
  • Camlica Hill – Perhaps the most beautiful view towards the historic old town of Istanbul can be admired from the top of Camlica Hill, located about 4 km from the shore. The views are incredible and during clear days, the panorama is astonishing, all the way to the Princes Islands. There are also small cafes and tea houses on the hill.
  • Mihrimah Sultan Mosque – This amazing mosque was built by the famous architect Sinan and completed in 1548. It was designed for the favorite daughter of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent and is located close to the docks, being amongst the first views from the Bosphorus Bridge.
  • Șemsi Pașa Mosque – Still another great masterpiece of architect Sinan, it was designed for the grand vizier Şemsi Paşa and although it is a pretty small mosque, its beautiful architecture and location on the shore make it very charming.
  • Yeni Velide Mosque – A charming mosque built at the beginning of the 18th century by the mother of Sultan Ahmed III, with a grand dome and four smaller domes, with minarets and beautiful calligraphy on the interior.
  • The Tiled Mosque – This small mosque is a beautiful example of Iznik tiles architecture, located about 3 km uphill from the shores of the Uskudar district. The exquisite interior decorations are exceptional and are worth the visit.
  • Florence Nightingale Museum – This small museum is located inside a tower in the Selimiye Military Barracks in the Harem and is dedicated to Florence Nightingale, an English pioneer of modern nursing during the Crimean War.
What To Do

The Uskudar district is definitely the best tourist destination on the Asian side of Istanbul, with dozens of beautiful mosques and other historical landmarks, traditional shops and restaurants. Although not as touristy as the European shore, Uskudar has plenty of attractions for a day or two. This is also a great shopping area, with many antique shops and markets, while the prices are lower than the European side. There are fewer bars and clubs here, but the beautiful Bosporus promenade is a pleasant experience. It is also a great place to try the traditional Anatolian cuisine.

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