Kadikoy Istanbul

Kadıköy (known as Chalcedon in antiquity) is a large and populous cosmopolitan district on the Anatolian side of İstanbul, Turkey, on the shore of the Sea of Marmara, facing the historic city center on the other (European) side of the Bosphorus. Kadıköy is a residential and commercial district, and with its numerous bars, cinemas and bookshops, is the cultural centre of the Anatolian side. It became a district in 1928 by secession from Üsküdar. Also, quarters of İçerenköy, Bostancı, Kadıköy and Suadiye separated from Kartal in same year. Its neighbours are Üsküdar and Ümraniye the north, Kartal the northeast and Maltepe the east.


Kadýköy is an older settlement than the European side of the city of Istanbul. Relics have been found going back to 5500-3500 BC (Chalcolithic period) at the Fikirtepe Mound, and articles of stone, bone, ceramic, jewelry and bronze prove a continuous settlement since prehistoric times. A port settlement dating from the Phoenicians has also been discovered. Chalcedon (Kadýköy) was the first settlement which the Greeks from Megara established on the Bosphorus, in 685 BC, a few years before they established Byzantion on the other side of the strait, in 667 BC. Chalcedon became known as the 'city of the blind', the story being that Byzantium was founded following a prophecy that a great capital would be built 'opposite the city of the blind' (meaning that the people of Chalcedon must have been blind not to see the obvious value of the peninsula on the Golden Horn as a natural defensive harbour). And true enough, Chalcedon changed hands time and time again, as Persians, Bithynians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders and Turks passed through the area, which was badly damaged during the riotous Fourth Crusade and eventually passed into Ottoman hands in 1353, a full hundred years before Istanbul (Constantinople) was conquered. Thus, Kadýköy has the oldest mosque in Istanbul, which was built almost a century before the conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

At the time of the conquest, Chalcedon was a rural settlement outside the protection of the city. It was soon put under the jurisdiction of the Istanbul courts, hence the name Kadýköy, which means Village of the Judge. In the Ottoman period, Kadýköy became a popular market for agricultural goods and in time developed into a residential area for people who would commute to the city by boat. The population was the typical Ottoman Istanbul mix of Armenians, Greeks, Jews and Turks. Kadýköy has several churches (Greek, Armenian, Serbian, Catholic, Protestant) and synagogues.

Living (and shopping) in Kadýköy today

The centre of Kadýköy today is the hub of traffic for people commuting from the Asian side of the city to the European side across the Bosphorus. There is a big bus and minibus terminal next to the ferry docks, while the main train terminus for trains to Anatolia and the nearby Harem Bus Terminal have coach services to Anatolia.

But it is the ferry-boats that are most important, and the central market area of Kadýköy is right behind the ferry dock. The main road by the docks is unfortunately the least attractive part of Kadýköy: a busy road, crowded with buses, dolmuþ, and honking taxis, while the buildings are often huge grey office blocks with billboards and business signs plastered all over them, surrounded by beggars, hawkers and shoe-shiners everywhere. But don't be put off, as the area gets prettier once you move through the streets away from the shore. There is a helium balloon moored on the shore which will take you up to an altitude of 200m for a great panoramic view of the area, and indeed the city of Istanbul across the Bosphorus.

This is a very busy shopping district, with a great variety of atmosphere and architectural styles, tiny narrow alleyways and shopping arcades, pavements crowded with tough-looking street vendors selling everything from socks to pirate copies of popular novels, classy avenues like the pedestrianised Bahariye Caddesi, and shiny modern shopping centres, especially the huge Carrefour Nautilus Shopping Mall right behind the centrum of Kadýköy. In the streets behind the main post office, there are a large number of well-known bookshops selling both new and second-hand books, craft-shops and picture-framers, and a number of shops selling music CDs and related ephemera (like film posters and T-shirts). Hard Rock and Heavy Metal fans come to the arcade called Akmar Pasajý to buy items like Heavy Metal T-shirts, rare Heavy Metal albums of alternative bands, and silver jewelry with Heavy Metal themes. On Sundays the whole area turns into a big second-hand book and music street market. Being a crowded shopping district, Kadýköy has its share of buskers, shoe shine boys, glue sniffers and schoolchildren in the streets selling flowers, chewing gum and packets of tissues, or just begging.

There is plenty of residential property in the centre of Kadýköy, mostly aging now, and working class, but you can still find quiet suburban streets. The area is home to many students as well as a small number of foreign residents.

At the top of the shopping district there is an intersection, with a statue of a bull on it, called Altýyol (Six Ways), where a road leads to the civic buildings and a huge street market called Salý Pazarý (Tuesday Market). The working-class residential districts of Hasanpaþa and Fikirtepe are located behind the civic buildings.

The centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP) is usually successful in Kadýköy in both local and national elections, (in dramatic contrast to Kadýköy's neighbouring district, the conservative Üsküdar). Since the mid-1990s the mayor has been Selami Öztürk of the CHP. It was Öztürk who established the recent growth in the number of shopping and leisure areas around Kadýköy, especially after the pedestrianisation of Bahariye Street, which is the Anatolian equivalent of Ýstiklal Avenue in Beyoðlu on the European side, including its nostalgic trams.

Marmara University has most of its buildings in Kadýköy, including the large and elegant Haydarpaþa Campus, while the largest private university in Istanbul, Yeditepe University, is located on the hill named Kayýþdaðý at the easternmost edge of the borough of Kadýköy. In the centre of Kadýköy's shopping district there is an important basketball arena, the Caferaða Spor Salonu.

The major Haydarpaþa Terminal of the Turkish State Railways is located close to Kadýköy's centrum, serving east- and south-bound international, domestic and regional trains. Haydarpaþa Terminal was opened in 1908 as the terminus of the Istanbul-Baghdad and Istanbul-Damascus-Medina railways.

Eat, drink and be merry

With all this to offer, it is little wonder that Kadýköy attracts great loyalty and sympathy from its residents, and yet there is much more to be told about its charms. For many, the joy of Kadýköy is in the narrow side streets packed with all kinds of cafés, bars and restaurants, along with a rich selection of cinemas (such as the huge Reks or the historic and charming Sürreya).

The market area is mostly closed to traffic and contains a great variety of fast food restaurants serving toasted sandwiches, hamburgers and döner kebab. Hungry students gorge themselves on ridiculously large sandwiches called 'maniac' or 'psychopath'. There are also traditional Turkish restaurants, all kinds of cafés and chocolate-cake patisseries, apart from serious bridge schools, bars to hear live jazz, folk and rock music, as well as working class tea and backgammon houses.

Behind the centre lies a large shopping and residential district winding uphill to the pedestrianised street called Bahariye Caddesi. This area took on a new atmosphere during the economic boom of the 1990s and many new bars were opened.

Kadýköy is not glitzy, more beer than champagne, lots of kebab, kokoreç and fried mussels, little haute cuisine. It's not as big a nightlife area as Beyoðlu (which also goes on much later into the night), nor does it have anything like the class of Niþantaþý for shopping or the Bosphorus for nightlife. But it is buzzing, more relaxed, offers lots of fun, and is much cheaper. In other words, Kadýköy is a student heaven.

The seagulls swooping and squawking overhead give the whole area a surreal and crazy ceiling, while a southern wind sometimes brings in the scent of the sea.

Places to eat and drink include:
  • Baylan Pastanesi - famous for its chocolate pudding
  • Petek Büfe - an ancýent purveyor of toasted sandwiches
  • Tek Büfe - a chain of burger and juice places on the Anatolian side
  • Reks Büfe - a toasted sandwich place opposite the Reks Cinema
  • Mercan Kokoreç - a fast food inn famous for its kokoreç and fried mussels
  • Marmara Café - a tea and toast place inside Akmar Pasajý
  • Son Gemi - another café near Akmar

The smart residential areas beyond Kadýköy itself

Söðütlüçeþme Mosque
Kalamýþ MarinaFurther down the coast, away from the centrum of Kadýköy, there are many expensive shops and the area goes more upmarket in neighbourhoods such as Moda and Fenerbahçe, which are attractive, old-established residential areas. Both of them are within the bounds of the borough of Kadýköy, and offer many restaurants, cafés and bars to sit by the sea and have something to eat or drink, or just sit and chat with friends while watching the sun as it sets behind the old city of Istanbul. There is a nice walk in this direction along the sea-front from Kadýköy, where young people come to sit by the sea and drink beer, or take the tram up to Moda from Kadýköy.

Moda is an old-established, quiet, cosmpolitan Istanbul neighbourhood, but is getting a little tired now, with not enough car parking and some run-down shops and buildings. Like so much of Istanbul, too many historic houses have been pulled down and replaced with apartment buildings; but still, Moda is one of the most pleasant residential districts in the city. There are still numerous churches in Moda with active congregations, and well-known schools, such as the Lycée Saint-Joseph and Kadýköy Anadolu Lisesi. There is an attractive little theatre in Moda named Oyun Atölyesi, founded by the former (BBC soap opera) Eastenders actor Haluk Bilginer.

Another smart new district is Acýbadem, home to one of the best-known private hospitals in the city and a long avenue of smart cafés, restaurants and ice cream parlours serving the residents of the tidy streets in the district.

Beyond this area, the huge stadium of Fenerbahçe football club dominates the skyline and then begins the long and impressive shopping street of Baðdat Avenue and the posh neighbourhoods between the avenue and the coastal road. Until the 1950s these areas, such as Kalamýþ, Göztepe, Caddebostan, Erenköy, and Suadiye, were full of summer houses and mansions for the city's wealthy and upper middle class. Since the Bosphorus Bridge was built, it is possible to commute from here to the European side, and most of these summer houses have been pulled down and replaced with modern apartment buildings; but still, these districts are among the most beautiful residential areas of the city. The coast here is very attractive, with a long stretch of seaside parks, yacht marinas, and the streets behind the coast (in areas like Caddebostan) are lined with numerous bars and cafés.

From Bostancý onwards the quality of housing gets progressively worse as you go further away from the city, where the glitzy business families merge into neighbourhoods of retired and working-class families. There are no more villas, apart from those on the coast of Dragos, and the apartment buildings are narrower and more closely crowded together. Bostancý itself is a busy shopping district built around a railway station.

Inland, around the E5

Inland from the coast there is a great deal of housing development; some of it grubby, with little infrastructure or planning, while most of it is of good quality, especially in areas like Kozyataðý and Ýçerenköy, home to Istanbul's middle class residents, most of whom commute across the Bosphorus bridges to the European side for work. These neighbourhoods are mainly built around wide avenues and tree-lined streets, with four to six-storey apartment buildings that have sizeable gardens and car-parking around them. They are well-provided with schools and hospitals, shops and restaurants. There is also a large Carrefour and Bauhaus on the E5 highway in this part of Kadýköy.

Starting from the late 1990s, the previously barren lands north of the E5 highway began to sprout new luxury housing developments such as Ataþehir; with their own shops, private colleges, sports centres and other excellent facilities.

Fenerbahçe SK

The district is home to the Turkish giants Fenerbahçe SK's home venue, the Þükrü Saracoðlu Stadium. Following important victories, all neighbourhoods of Kadýköy heave with celebrating fans. The stadium will host the 2009 UEFA Cup Final.

Kadýköy Rugby

Kadýköy Rugby, which is the first official rugby club of Turkey, proudly carries the name of Kadýköy. The team was founded by the passionate youngsters in love with the place they were born, raised and still living their lives in this warm neighborhood.

Houses of Kadýköy

Kadýköy has many interesting houses from the Ottoman period which are hidden in its side streets. Many of them have been turned into cafés, pubs and restaurants, particularly serving seafood. A few examples can be seen below:

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