About Büyükada

Büyükada is the largest of the Princes Islands off the coast of Istanbul, and is easily reached all year round by ferry from the mainland. It is such a pretty place to walk around and soak up the relaxed atmosphere of this jewel set in the blue Sea of Marmara.

Blissfully, there are no cars on Büyükada - you get around on foot, on bicycle or on phaeton (horse-drawn carriage). At Ascot Hotel we can organise your cycle hire or arrange your phaeton with a helpful and friendly driver to make your exploration of the island so much more enjoyable.

Historically Büyükada was largely Greek Christian and it retains a strong multicultural identity with churches, synagogue and mosque. Sultan Abdulhamid II (1842-1918) required his ministers and generals to live on the island where they built villas and waterside residences many of which still remain. Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary, stayed for four years on Büyükada after he was exiled by Stalin. In the 1920s, a number of Belarussians came to Istanbul to escape the Russian civil war and settled on the island. This has all added to the cultural diversity and harmony of the island.

Büyükada is famous for its highest hill Yüce Tepe where the Church of St. George (Turkish: Aya Yorgi) is located and people from many religions gather and pray and make wishes, especially on April 23 and on September 24. People come from all regions of Turkey, make their wish on April 23 and then visit the hill again in September to give thanks.

The tour of the island is one of the greatest joys, whether on a bicycle or in a phaeton. The track is shaded by pine trees and you can choose to travel 14km for the long ride or 7km for the shorter.

Büyükada comes to life in the centre of the village around the ferry port, with its famous fish restaurants on the water's edge and its cafes.

Sights

There are many places to see in Büyükada, with approximately 900 historical manors, religious buildings, its pine tree forests its 2000-year-old history and its unique cultural synthesis of Byzantine, Ottoman, Turkish and western cultures:

Small Tour (7km phaeton ride)
Big Tour (14km phaeton ride)
Yörükali Beach, Dilburnu Picnic Site, Lovers Road
Amusement Park and Viranbag Refreshment Bar
Yücetepe Aya Yorgi (Church of St. George) Monastery and Church
Greek Orphanage (biggest wooden building of Europe, former Prinkipo Palace)
The house of novelist Resat Nuri Güntekin
House of Trotsky
Büyükada Culture House (Fabiato Manor)
Hamidiye Mosque (Built by Sultan Abdulhamid II)
Christos (Metamorphosis) Monastery and Church and Aya Nikola Monastery and Church, Aya Dimitri Church, Panayia Church, San Pacificio Latin Church, Aya Todori Chapel
Surp Asdvadzadzin Church
Hesed Le Avraam Synagogue
Water Sports club, Seferoglu Facilities, Degirmen Facilities, Blue Club Hacapulos Manor (Today’s City Hall, former Imperial Hotel), Con Pasha Manor, Sabuncakis Manor, Agopian Manor, Sofranios Manor, Mizzi Manor, Vatican Housing.
Büyükada Recommendations
Aya Yorgi
Visit Hagia Yorgi church and drink wine at Yücetepe Restaurant
Pheaton
Have a phaeton trip around the island
Rent a bike
Rent a bike and enjoy a ride without the traffic jam
Picnic at Dilburnu
Picnic at Dilburnu
Delicious fish
Taste delicious fish by the sea
Plajlar
Enjoy the sea at the wonderful beach