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Kadikoy: A Local’s Istanbul

25

May

Kadikoy: A Local’s Istanbul

The first thing you need to know when you arrive in Kadıköy is that none of the street names so carefully written on your map will actually be visible or known. Turkish people use familiar landmarks to orient themselves, and this vibrant Asian side centre is no exception. After you step off the ferry head straight inland to the area known as merkezi, or centre.

The first street parallel to the waterfront is Migros Street, so called for the supermarket there. At one end there are clothing shops and Turkish patisseries and at the other you’ll find Akmar Pasaji. This arcade is home to shops selling secondhand books and related ephemera that will keep you busy for hours. The next street up is known locally as Fish Street. The rows of carefully laid out and presented fish, many of which defy description, are mesmerising. Not surprisingly, everyone knows Moda Caddesi, the real name of the next street up, because it leads to the suburb of the same name. Here you can have lunch at a traditional lokanta or at a newer bistro cafe offering Turkish nouveau cuisine. Be tempted and buy a gift from the eclectic boutiques selling handmade jewellery and fashions. Even if you’re full eat an ice cream from the famous Ali Usta and then drink a tea in the beautiful gardens overlooking the Sea of Marmara

Afterwards, head back to Kadıköy via the pedestrian thoroughfare of Bahariye. Keep an eye out for the old tram and traffic bollards painted with traditional designs. At the end of the street stop and take your photo with the famous sculpture of a bull which gives this intersection its name. Down in the centre make sure you visit Haci Bekir, who have been making Turkish Delight since the 18th century. Whether you only select a few pieces, or take home several boxes of this tempting delicacy, you won’t regret it. Before going back to your hotel stop by Migros Street again and listen to the gypsy band that plays there most nights in summer. Whatever you do, don’t miss the chance to discover the other side of Istanbul.

 

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Lisa Morrow

Lisa
Lisa Morrow has travelled extensively throughout Turkey and lives with her husband on the Asian side of Istanbul. She has written two essay collections, Inside Out In Istanbul: Making Sense of the City and Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries.

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