Ümraniye is a very large working class district of Istanbul, Turkey with a population of over 250,000. It became district in 1987 by secession from Üsküdar. Also; Ömerli, Koçullu, Sırapınar and Hüseyinli villages were separated from Beykoz district in same year. Finally, Nişantepe quarter passed from Samandıra, where bounded to Kartal, to Alemdar, where bounded to Ümraniye in 2002. It has 7 municipalities: Ümraniye, Çekmeköy, Sarıgazi, Yenidoğan, Taşdelen (formerly Sultançiftliği), Alemdar (formerly Alemdağ) and Ömerli. Her neighbours are; Şile the northeast, Kartal the southeast, Kadıköy the south, Üsküdar the west and Beykoz the northwest.
Ümraniye is located on high ground just inland from Üsküdar, yet shares little of its charm. It began as a small village of under 900 people, but in the early 1950s, it developed into a squatter area, or gecekondu. Its population grew far beyond its capacity during the 1970s and 1980s due to migration to the cities from rural areas of Anatolia. The incoming people being typically impoverished, poorly educated, coming to live alongside family and neighbours from their village in the East while they built another illegal cottage for themselves.
However the growth of Ümraniye was better controlled than similar districts on the European side (such as Esenler or Gaziosmanpaþa); there are better, wider roads through the district, more space between the blocks and more green space in general. And better amenities, a large commercial district grew up to support this large population, the main road through the centre has shiny public buildings, big shops, shopping centres, branches of all the banks etc. And Ümraniye has high schools, a courthouse, cultural amenities such as cinema and all the other infrastructure of an urban area. And the traffic of course.
Not all of this infrastructure was of good quality and in the 1990s Ümraniye was in the news when the rubbish dump exploded due to build up of methane gas.
Recent building projects including the construction of large shopping malls (including Istanbul's first branch of IKEA), and complexes of new modern apartments have made parts of Ümraniye an attractive place for people to buy real estate, especially as Ümraniye is on a main highway that leads to one of the two bridges linking the Asian and European sides of Istanbul. A car ride from Ümraniye to Mecidiyeköy, a business center on the European side of the city, may only take around 20 minutes in good traffic. Ümraniye also provides easy access to Üsküdar, Kadýköy and Ataþehir, the business capital of the Asian side of Istanbul.
However housing is still relatively cheap in most areas of Ümraniye and large amounts of 'gecekondus' still exist.
Ümraniye has seen its fair share of political violence between left- and right-wingers over the years, and during the 70s and 80s law enforcement was problematic in parts of the area. In this way it was considered the Asian side's equivalent of Gaziosmanpasa on the European side. It must be noted that this violence was concentrated in a small quarter of Ümraniye, a vast district. In recent times however, Ümraniye has been relatively calm, and the most dangerous crimes in the area are those typical of urban areas, such as pick-pocketing or theft.
The people of Ümraniye usually vote in large numbers for Islamist-leaning parties. The AKP does well in this district.
Places of importance
There are mosques of historical importance. In between Uskudar and Ümraniye there is a 'çilehane' of the Sufi saint Aziz Mahmud Hudayi. A çilehane (cheelay-hahnay, lit. 'despair house') was where Sufis would go to pray in seclusion.
There is a large sports complex where major basketball games are played, the Haldun Alagaþ sports complex.