Istanbul Day 4 – Asian Side, Camlica Hill and Sufi Dance

I owed you complete Istanbul travelogues but I just couldn’t complete them. So I let the pictures speak. Complete pictures are in my Facebook.

Day 4 in Istanbul was spent to Asian Part, Camlica Hill and watched Sufi Dance. The trip started at Kadikoy Iskelesi (ferry dock). We took public ferry from Eminonu heading to Kadikoy. Charge? Only 1.5 Turkey Lira!

A trip to Asian side of Istanbul starts here, at Kadikoy ferry dock (Iskelesi) at Eminonu

 From the deck of ferry, as the ferry departed from iskelesi, we saw magnificent view of Yeni Camii (New Mosque) that built in 1597.

As the ferry that charged us only 1.5 TL departing from iskelesi a striking view of Yeni Camii amazed us

 The ferry then accelerated, cruising Bosphorus strait, and we were given this stunning view of the strait and Galata Bridge that crosses it.

Turkey flag with Bosphorus strait and Galata Bridge as the backgrounds

 As we approached Kadikoy, Haydarpasa is a landmark can’t be missed. Haydarpasha was built in Germany design.  In the early 20th century, when Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany was trying to charm the sultan into economic and military cooperation, he presented the station as a small token of his respect.

Haydarpasa train station

 And when we swept our view back to Istanbul, Topkapi Palace stood gracefully with the strait as a foreground.

Topkapi Palace as seen from Asian side of Istanbul

 Kadıköy (ancient and Byzantine Chalcedon) is a large, populous, and cosmopolitan district of İstanbul, Turkey on the Asian side of the Sea of Marmara, facing the historic city centre on the European side of the Bosporus. Kadıköy it is also the name of the most prominent neighbourhood of the district, a residential and commercial area that, with its numerous bars, cinemas and bookshops, is the cultural centre of the Anatolian side. Kadıköy became a district in 1928 when it seceded from Üsküdar district (source: wikipedia).

We continued our trip from Kadikoy to Uskudar using Dolmus (a minibus). With 30 TL for 8 of us, Dolmus took us right in the Uskudar center.

Dolmus (minibus) terminal (Dolmus means "full)

We alighted at the main road of Uskudar. Üsküdar (ancient Greek Chrysopolis medieval Scutari) was a city in Bithynia founded in the 7th century BC, in a valley leading down to the Bosphorus shore, by the inhabitants of the Greek colony of Khalkedon and was first known as Chrysopolis (city of gold) (Source: Wikipedia).

We visited Yeni Valide Camii (New Queen’s Mother Mosque) in Uskudar. The Yeni Valide Mosque  is an Ottoman mosque built between the 1708 and 1710 on the iskele (dock) road by Emetullah Râbi’a Gülnûş Sultan, mother of Sultan Ahmed III. The main part of the building is square in shape and covered with a flattened main dome and four half domes. The mosque has two minarets with two balconies each (Source: Wikipedia)

Courtyard inside Yeni Valide Camii in Uskudar

From Uskudar, we headed to Camlica Hill. The hill is one of the highest hills of Istanbul (268 metres high) and almost all major broadcasting antennas are located on this hill, since the hill dominates a great part of the city. On the top of the hill, a public park with cafes remind the visitors of an Ottoman atmosphere. Thıs public park is sponsored by the government so expect lower prices on food and drink than usual. 

Bosphorus bridge as seen from Camlica Hill
Istanbullus enjoy Camlica Hill
Camlica Hill

 Down from Camlica Hill taking a taxi which its driver complained about his being marginalized for his lack of English proficiency, we arrived at Uskudar Iskelesi passing Iskele Camii. The Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is one of Üsküdar’s best-known landmarks and takes its nicknames from the ferry landing near which it stands. It is the first of two mosques built by Mihrimah Sultana, daughter of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and wife of Grand Vizier Rüstem Pasha. It was designed by Mimar Sinan and built between 1546 and 1548

Mihrimah Sultan Camii (Iskele Camii)

 On the way back to Istanbul (Sultanahmet) by ferry, we passed Maiden Tower. Maiden’s Tower, also called Leander’s Tower, is built on a small islet surrounded by waters of Bosphorus off the Üsküdar coast . The Tower is accessible by boats both from Salacak (very frequent intervals four seasons) or from Kabataş in European Side, on the Bosphorus waterfront at the end of the funicular line from Taksim Square (about once every two hours, summers only). Story has it that a powerful emperor built the tower in the middle of the sea to protect his beloved daughter from death after hearing a prophecy told by a fortuneteller, but a snake had found its way to the tower (inside a basket of fruits) and, as you have already guessed, had bitten and killed the princess, although in reality it is far more likely that the place was built as a lighthouse to warn the ships entering the Bosphorus about the rocky islet the tower was built on. There is also a viewing area on the coast directly opposite the Tower where you can buy tea and sit down to enjoy the beauty of Bosphorus while listening to traditional Turkish music—much cheaper than the Tower itself. It is recommended to visit right at sunset, when the sun is reflecting off the water and the Tower’s lights are turning on. Also at the viewing area, there are 2-person gondola rides (as written by Wikitravel)

Maiden Tower

 In the evening we enjoyed watching Sufi dance or whirling dervish ceremony. Fee was 40TL/25TL for adult/child under 15 respectively. We watched the dance at Hocapasha Center at Sirkeci area, just 5 minutes walk from our hotel. Hocapasha is used to be a hammam (Turkish bath) but now converted into a stage for sufi dance.

At Hocapasha center. Ready for watching whirling dervish ceremony

 Sufi whirling (or Sufi spinning),  is a physically active meditation which originated among Sufis, and which is still practiced by the Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order. It is a customary dance performed within the Sema, or worship ceremony, through which dervishes (also called semazens) aim to reach the source of all perfection, or kemal. This is sought through abandoning one’s nafs, egos or personal desires, by listening to the music, focusing on God, and spinning one’s body in repetitive circles, which has been seen as a symbolic imitation of planets in the Solar System orbiting the sun (Source: Wikipedia).

Whirling Dervish Ceremony