07-04-2023 - Tips & Guides

Football, nightlife, culture: Here is Besiktas Istanbul

Istanbul is a beautiful city with wonderful things to do, see, and experience. One of the best things about this massive city is that it has many districts each having its own identity, culture, and lifestyle. In this article, we are going to look at one of the unique districts with a deep history and vibrant daily life. But before we dig into Besiktas and its charming lifestyle, let’s have a look at the best way of discovering Istanbul while saving money and time: the Istanbul Tourist Pass®.

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Many Beautiful Neighbourhoods One Besiktas

One of Istanbul's oldest neighborhoods is Besiktas. On the European side of the Bosphorus is where this beautiful district is situated. It is regarded as one of the most well-known and important districts in the city's European region. With different bazaars, fish markets, cultural and artistic activities, nightlife, shopping centers, historic structures, coastal recreation, dining options, and ferry ports, it has everything a tourist might want.

On Istanbul's European side sits Beşiktaş, one of the city's oldest districts. It is also regarded as one of the city's commercial and residential hubs, particularly for small firms. Beşiktaş is one of the marine hubs on the Bosphorus from which boats sail for numerous neighborhoods on the coasts of the Asian side, in addition to being home to a significant public bus and dolmus port.

In Besiktas, there are different neighborhoods with different identities. While the central Besiktas is a lively place with budget-friendly restaurants and pubs, there are various high-end luxurious nightclubs and restaurants in Bebek, Arnavutkoy, Kurucesme, and Etiler. Another neighborhood is Ortakoy which is famous for its kumpir (baked potato with various fillings), waffles, small accessories shops, and Ortakoy Mosque. Levent is another unique neighborhood of Besiktas with shopping malls and famous restaurants. Levent is one of the white-collar centers of Istanbul, so you may see many people with their laptops and coffees around Levent.

Besiktas has something for anyone. Especially the central Besiktas neighborhood which is near Dolmabahce Palace, is somewhere you should see if you love to feel like a local. Besiktas District is the home of the BJK football club. There is a huge stadium called Vodafone Arena which is the stadium of BJK. So, it should be easy for you to guess that on match days, the central Besiktas is a happy place with fans wearing BJK uniforms, drinking beer, and singing anthems all together. If you love football, entrance to and unlimited time in Besiktas Jk Football Museum in Besiktas Stadium is free with Istanbul Tourist Pass®.

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Bebek Istanbul is nearly the complete opposite. There are expensive cafes and restaurants in Bebek and famous nightclubs. If you want to have an authentic fish and raki dinner look at the restaurants in Arnavutkoy and Kurucesme. These restaurants are generally pricey but you will have great food with amazing views.

All those different neighborhoods are different colors of Besiktas. A little bit of information about district sociology: Besiktas is home to the oldest, most educated, and richest people in Turkey. Turkish Jews and Greeks generally live in Besiktas. The district is also known for cultural activities, festivals, and concerts. Now let’s have a look at the history of Besiktas.

History of Besiktas

The district's historic core is known as Beşik-taş, which literally translates to "cradle stone." A cleric is said to have brought a stone in the shape of a cradle that was used at Jesus' baptism and deposited it in the church in present-day Beşiktaş after returning from a pilgrimage. Another rumor has it that Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa built five masts here to dock ships. This region was known as "beş taş," which translates to "five stones," as a result. A version of "beş taş" is Beşiktas.

On the Bosphorus' European side is the neighborhood of Beşiktas. There are numerous historical sites in Beşiktaş, and the Bosphorus has been inhabited for a very long period. This section of the Bosphorus beach offers some protection from the storm-bringing northeasterly winds, making it an excellent site for ships to moor. The region was referred to as Diplokionion in Byzantine times, which is Greek for "double pillar."

Anciently, the villages along the Bosphorus were solitary settlements tucked away in the forest that bordered the water. Yet, the Bosphorus played a significant role in the history and mythology of the ancient Greeks, and towns like Beşiktaş would have been mentioned in stories like Jason and the Argonauts. Churches and a monastery were constructed during the Byzantine era, and the Ayios Mamas palace complex is where the tradition of having a summer home on the Bosphorus was started. Yet, because the Bosphorus towns were outside the city walls and hence exposed to pirates from the Black Sea coastlines, not much of this architecture or the statues that would have adorned it so magnificently has remained.

The Ottoman Navy was stationed in the Bosphorus during the Ottoman era, and the Bosphorus villages once again gained safety and appeal as the emperors took control of the Black Sea coasts. One guy in particular, the fabled sailor Barbarossa, made Beşiktaş his home by constructing a palace and a mosque there. Beşiktaş became a well-known Bosphorus crossing from that point on for caravans traveling across Anatolia and along the Silk Road, as well as for the formidable Ottoman forces. The Ottoman sultans built magnificent mansions and hunting lodges along this coast because they were attracted to it. As a result, the Beşiktaş neighborhood is home to some of the most significant and beautiful Ottoman structures like the Ihlamur Pavilion. Thus, the region served as the setting for some of the most significant conspiracies of the late Ottoman era, including the coup that deposed Sultan Abdülaziz at Dolmabahçe Palace in 1876, the declaration of the establishment of the Ottoman parliament in 1908, and the overthrow of Sultan Abdul Hamid II at Yildiz Palace in 1909.

The Ottoman ruling family was expelled once the Turkish Republic was established in 1923, and the palaces and houses along the coast were vacated. Others were demolished, while others were given to brand-new government ministries or used as public facilities like schools.

The mother of the Turkish national hero, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Zübeyde Hanm, who lived in the old district at the center of the Beşiktaş municipality, practically next to the Beşiktaş J.K. headquarters, is now generally acknowledged by the locals as being the most notable resident of the municipality.

Beşiktaş has experienced a variety of cultural influences over the course of its history, including those of the Byzantines, the Ottomans, and the Greeks. The district's architecture, cuisine, and customs reflect this fusion of cultural influences. Rich Ottoman families constructed numerous palaces, houses, and gardens in Beşiktaş throughout the Ottoman Empire.

Landmarks in Besiktas

Many historic structures and landmarks in Beşiktaş provide a window into the area's colorful past. The Dolmabahçe Palace, which was constructed in the 19th century as the new imperial palace for the Ottoman Empire, is one of the most well-known landmarks in the region. The Beşiktaş Fish Market, Ihlamur Pavillion, Sinanpasa Mosque, Barbaros Hayrettin Pasha Tomb, and the Yildiz Palace are some other important historical monuments nearby.

The Beşiktaş Bazaar, a bustling open-air market where visitors can get everything from fresh produce to apparel and souvenirs, is one of the most well-liked shopping locations in Beşiktaş. One of the district's main shopping streets, Beşiktaş Center known as Besiktas Carsi, offers a range of shops, boutiques, and cafes for a more premium shopping experience. Akaretler Row Houses, a historic neighborhood that has been turned into a hip shopping district with upscale stores, eateries, and cafes, is another must-visit shopping location.

Parks and Gardens in Besiktas

Beşiktaş has a variety of parks and nature trails that are ideal for getting away from the bustle of the city. The most famous park in Besiktas is Bebek Park which is a huge park on the Bosphorus Strait and many events and festivals have been happening there throughout the year. Yildiz Park, a tranquil oasis in the middle of the city with stunning views of the Bosphorus, is another of the most well-known parks in Besiktas.

Kurucesme Park is another wonderful alternative; it's smaller than the previous two but a lovely park with playgrounds and walking paths. Take a stroll down the Beşiktaş coastline for a more picturesque experience to take in the breathtaking views of the Bosphorus and the old homes that border the shore.

Sports Venues in Besiktas

One of Istanbul's most successful football teams, Beşiktaş J.K., plays its home games at Vodafone Park, the stadium that sports enthusiasts won't want to miss. A boat trip of the Bosphorus, which leaves from the Beşiktaş pier and provides breathtaking views of the city from the water, is another option for visitors. The Beşiktaş Gymnasium, a historic sports facility that has hosted several sporting events throughout the years, including basketball, boxing, and wrestling, is a must-see for anybody with an interest in sports history. You can visit Besiktas Stadium which houses a Football museum for free with Istanbul Tourist Pass®!

Istanbul's Beşiktaş district is a vibrant and diversified community with plenty to offer everyone. Beşiktaş has plenty to offer everyone, whether they are interested in outdoor activities, history, and culture, or simply enjoying wonderful cuisine and drinks. Exploring the neighborhood is enjoyable and simple because of its accessible location and simple accessibility to public transit. Beşiktaş has something for every style of traveler, from the lively markets and retail avenues to the serene parks and nature trails. Hence, whether you're a first-time visitor to Istanbul or a seasoned traveler, be sure to include Beşiktaş on your list of must-visit neighborhoods in Istanbul.

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What are the must-visit historical sites in Beşiktaş?

Beşiktaş has several historical sites worth visiting, including the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Yıldız Palace, and the Ihlamur Pavilion.

Is Beşiktaş a good place to shop for souvenirs?

Yes, Beşiktaş has several markets and shops that sell traditional Turkish souvenirs such as Turkish delight, spices, and ceramics.

What kind of cuisine can I expect to find in Beşiktaş?

Beşiktaş offers a diverse range of dining options, from traditional Turkish cuisine to international cuisine such as Italian, Japanese, and Lebanese.

What is the best way to get around Beşiktaş?

The best way to get around Beşiktaş is by using the public transportation system, which includes buses, minibusses, and ferries.

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