19-04-2023 - Places

Üsküdar: A Guide to Istanbul's Historical District

Üsküdar is an ancient district located on the Asian side of Istanbul. This neighborhood has a rich history dating back to Byzantine times, and it's home to some of Istanbul's most important landmarks and tourist attractions. In this article, we are going to look at what you need to know about Üsküdar but before let’s have a look at the Istanbul Tourist Pass®.

The Istanbul Tourist Pass® is a comprehensive sightseeing pass that provides tourists with a hassle-free way to explore Istanbul's top attractions. It's a smart way to save time and money while enjoying the best of what Istanbul has to offer. With the Istanbul Tourist Pass®, you can enjoy free entry to over 85 attractions, skip-the-line access to some of the most popular sights, and discounts at select restaurants, shops, and services. To save time and money, buy your pass today! Now have a look at Üsküdar!

How to Get to Üsküdar

To reach Üsküdar, take a ferry from Istanbul's European side. The ferry ride is a memorable experience, offering stunning views of Istanbul's skyline and the Bosphorus. Once you arrive in Üsküdar, you'll find yourself in a lively neighborhood filled with restaurants, shops, and historical landmarks. Üsküdar is well-connected to other parts of Istanbul by public transportation, including buses, ferries, and the metro.

Don’t forget to buy your Unlimited Public Transportation Card from the Istanbul Tourist Pass® website before you go. With this specially designed card, you will have unlimited access to all public transportation in Istanbul so you don’t need to overthink about ferry tickets or metro cards. This card is specifically designed for tourists and is not sold on vending machines. You need to order beforehand and we deliver your card to your hotel upon your arrival. Don’t miss this chance to travel around Istanbul freely and without stress! So, BUY YOUR PASS NOW!

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Rich History and Cultural Legacy of Üsküdar

Üsküdar is a district in Istanbul, Turkey that's located on the Asian side of the city. It's a historic neighborhood that's rich in culture and tradition, with a history that dates back thousands of years. The district has been a significant part of Istanbul's past and continues to be a vibrant and bustling area today.

Early History of Üsküdar

Üsküdar has a long and fascinating history that dates back to the 7th century BCE when it was known as Chrysopolis. During this time, the city was a bustling commercial hub and an important center for the Greek colony of Byzantium.

In the 4th century BCE, the city was conquered by Alexander the Great and later became a part of the Roman Empire. During the Byzantine period, the city was an important religious center and home to many churches and monasteries.

Ottoman Era in Usküdar

In 1353, the Ottoman Empire conquered Üsküdar, and it became an important part of the empire's administrative and commercial network. The district grew in importance and became a hub for trade and commerce.

During the Ottoman era, Üsküdar was home to many Ottoman mosques, palaces, and other buildings. The Kız Kulesi, or Maiden's Tower, was built during this time and became an iconic symbol of the district.

Modern Times of Usküdar

In the early 20th century, Üsküdar underwent significant changes and became a part of the modernizing Istanbul. The district saw an influx of migrants from other parts of Turkey and became a hub for transportation and commerce.

In the present day, Üsküdar remains a vital part of Istanbul and a popular destination for tourists. The district is home to many historic landmarks, including mosques, palaces, and other buildings that offer a glimpse into the city's rich cultural and architectural heritage.
Üsküdar is home to many significant landmarks that are worth visiting, including:

The Maiden's Tower: Built in the 12th century, the Maiden's Tower is an iconic symbol of Üsküdar and is located on a small island off the coast.

Selimiye Mosque: Built in the 16th century, the Selimiye Mosque is a stunning example of Ottoman architecture and is known for its intricate tile work and calligraphy.

Kısıklı Palace: Built in the 19th century, the Kısıklı Palace is a stunning example of Ottoman architecture and was once home to the Ottoman sultans.

Üsküdar Waterfront: The waterfront offers stunning views of Istanbul's European side and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

Üsküdar is a historic district that's rich in culture and tradition. From its early days as a Greek colony to its present-day status as a vibrant and bustling neighborhood, Üsküdar has played an important role in Istanbul's past and continues to be a vital part of the city today. With its many landmarks, mosques, and other historic buildings, Üsküdar is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Istanbul's rich cultural heritage.

Places to See in Üsküdar

There are several must-see places in Üsküdar, including:

Maiden's Tower

This iconic tower, also known as the Leander Tower, sits on a small islet at the entrance of the Bosphorus. Legend has it that a king built the tower to protect his daughter from a prophecy that she would die from a snake bite. Today, the tower houses a museum and a restaurant. Visitors can reach the tower by boat, and the views from the top are breathtaking. By 2023, Maiden's Tower is under construction but in near future, it will reopen for visitors. 

Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

Built-in the 16th century by the Ottoman architect Sinan, this mosque is one of Üsküdar's most beautiful landmarks. Mosque's stunning blue tiles and intricate designs make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Ottoman architecture. The mosque is open to visitors, but be sure to dress modestly.

Çinili Mosque

Another Ottoman-era mosque, the Çinili Mosque is known for its beautiful blue-and-white tiles, which cover the walls and ceilings of the mosque's interior. The mosque is located in the heart of Üsküdar, and it's open to visitors.

Sakirin Mosque

One of Istanbul's newer mosques, the Sakirin Mosque is a modern masterpiece. Designed by Turkish architect Zeynep Fadıllıoğlu, the mosque features stunning geometric designs and a breathtaking chandelier. The mosque is open to visitors, but be sure to check the visiting hours.

Selimiye Barracks

Once a military academy, this building now houses the Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts. The building's architecture is impressive, and it's worth a visit for those interested in history and art.

Fountain of Ahmet III

This beautiful fountain, built in the early 18th century, is located in the center of Üsküdar's main square. The fountain is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, and it's a great place to relax and people-watch.

Beylerbeyi Palace

Located on the Bosphorus, this stunning palace was built in the 19th century as a summer residence for the Ottoman sultans. Today, it's a museum and a popular tourist destination. Visitors can explore the palace's beautiful gardens and interiors, which are decorated with exquisite furniture and artwork. For a detailed review of this beautiful place, check out here our blog post about Beylerbeyi Palace

What to Do in Uskudar

There are plenty of things to do in Üsküdar, including:

Visit a Hamam

Üsküdar is home to several historic Turkish baths, known as hamams. These baths offer a relaxing and authentic Turkish experience, and they're a great way to unwind after a long day of sightseeing. Some of the most popular hamams in Üsküdar include the Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı, the Aziziye Hamamı, and the Çinili Hamam.

Walk Along the Bosphorus

Üsküdar is located on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, offering stunning views of Istanbul's European side. Take a stroll along the waterfront and enjoy the sea breeze and the stunning views of the city.

Visit a Tea Garden

Tea gardens, known as çay bahçesi in Turkish, are popular gathering places for locals. Üsküdar has several tea gardens that offer a relaxing atmosphere and delicious Turkish tea. The most popular tea gardens include the Çınaraltı Tea Garden and the Kalender Tea Garden.

Shopping in Uskudar

Üsküdar is home to several markets and bazaars where you can find traditional Turkish crafts and souvenirs. The most popular market is the Üsküdar Market, where you can find everything from spices to textiles to jewelry.

What to Eat in Uskudar

Üsküdar is known for its delicious food, and there are several local dishes that you should try:

Kebab: Üsküdar has several restaurants that serve delicious kebabs, which are grilled meat dishes. Some of the most popular kebabs in Üsküdar include the Adana kebab, the lamb shish kebab, and the doner kebab.

Pide: Pide is a Turkish flatbread that's topped with various ingredients. In Üsküdar, you can find pide topped with minced meat, onions, and herbs. Üsküdar has several restaurants that serve this delicious dish.

Baklava: A traditional Turkish dessert, baklava is a sweet pastry made with layers of filo pastry, chopped nuts, and honey syrup. Üsküdar has several pastry shops that serve delicious baklava.

Fish: As a coastal neighborhood, Üsküdar is known for its fresh seafood. Be sure to try the grilled sea bass or the fried mussels, which are local favorites.

Üsküdar is a unique and beautiful neighborhood in Istanbul that's worth exploring. Whether you're interested in history, architecture, or food, there's something for everyone in Üsküdar. From the historic landmarks to the delicious cuisine, Üsküdar is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Istanbul. Make sure to add this ancient district to your travel itinerary and experience the best of Istanbul's Asian side.

Istanbul Tourist Pass® is the best option to save time and money while exploring Istanbul because it offers an all-in-one solution for tourists. With the pass, you don't have to worry about buying separate tickets for each attraction or waiting in long queues for admission. You can simply scan your pass and enter the attraction hassle-free. This saves you valuable time that you can spend enjoying the sights and sounds of Istanbul.

Additionally, the pass offers discounts at select restaurants, shops, and services, which can help you save money on your trip. Istanbul Tourist Pass® is a cost-effective and convenient way to experience Istanbul's top attractions, and it offers great value for money. By choosing the Istanbul Tourist Pass®, you can explore Istanbul at your own pace, save time, and make the most of your trip to this fascinating city.


What is the best way to get to Üsküdar?

Üsküdar is easily accessible by ferry, metro, bus, or taxi. The most scenic and popular way to reach Üsküdar is by ferry, which operates from multiple locations along the Bosphorus.

What are the top attractions to see in Üsküdar?

Some of the top attractions to see in Üsküdar include the Maiden's Tower, Çamlıca Hill, Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, and the historical bazaars such as Bağlarbaşı Çarşı.

What are the best places to eat in Üsküdar?

Üsküdar is known for its traditional Turkish cuisine, and there are many restaurants and cafes that serve delicious local dishes such as kebabs, mezze, and baklava. Some popular eateries in Üsküdar include Çiya Sofrası, Hatay Medeniyetler Sofrası, and Şeyhmus Kebap.

What is the history of Üsküdar?

Üsküdar has a rich history dating back to ancient times when it was known as Chrysopolis. Over the centuries, it has been ruled by various empires, including the Byzantine, Ottoman, and Roman Empires. Today, Üsküdar is a thriving district that combines its rich history with modern development.

What are some cultural events and festivals that take place in Üsküdar?

Üsküdar hosts a variety of cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including the Istanbul Tulip Festival, the Istanbul Jazz Festival, and the Üsküdar Culture and Art Festival. These events showcase the vibrant culture and heritage of the district and provide visitors with a unique and immersive experience.

What are some lesser-known attractions in Üsküdar?

While Üsküdar has many popular attractions, there are also several lesser-known places worth visiting, such as the Şakirin Mosque, the Kuzguncuk neighborhood, and the Fethi Pasha Korusu Park. These hidden gems offer visitors a chance to explore the district's hidden treasures and discover a more authentic side of Istanbul.

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