BESIKTAS TRAVEL GUIDE

Besiktas is one of the older neighborhoods of Istanbul though not many historic buildings has survived. It is located on the Bosphorus surrounded by Kabatas, Ortakoy and Taksim districts. If you are looking for a local rather than touristic trip, Besiktas would be one of the places with easy access, along with Kadikoy.

It is said that the word 'Besiktas' is the result of the transformation of the word 'Bes Tas' which means 'five stones'. The most famous admiral of the Ottoman Empire, Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha built five stone pillars as ship moorings hence the name Bestas. In time, the name Bestas turned into Besiktas which literally means 'cradle stone'.

Barbaros Hayrettin Pasha built a waterside residence for himself in Besiktas and stayed there during his visits to Istanbul. He also built a mosque, a madrasah and a primary school in this area. When he died in 1546, he was burried in a mausolem constructed by Mimar Sinan.

THINGS TO DO IN BESIKTAS

Besiktas Bazaar in the main attraction of Besiktas. You can find cheap cloths, fresh fish and vegetables in this marketplace (open bazaar). Inexpensive fish restaurants and meatball eateries (Kofteci in Turkish) are abundant especially around the fish market area.

You can also taste local cuisine in the restaurants which offer home cooked Turkish meals. These restaurants are very small but they are mostly clean and reliable. For example Balkan Restaurant, also preferred by students, is a good one in this category. Towards the end of the Bazaar street there are nice pubs and bars you can enjoy.

Its football team, Besiktas Gymnastics Club (Besiktas Jimnastik Kulubu), is very important for this neighborhood. It is one of the oldest sports clubs of Turkey, founded in 1903. The football team wears black and white shirts and is nicknamed the Black Eagles and Besiktas is full of black and white flags, Black Eagle logos and statues. The club's 33,000-seat BJK Inonu Stadium which is on the most scenic stadiums in the world being on the Bosphorus seafront, southwest of the center of Besiktas. Especially on match days this area is very crowded.

You can do a Bosphorus cruise starting from Besiktas either by municipality boats or much more frequent private boats (known as 'motor' in Turkish). Most of the cruises last an hour or an hour and a half.

Besides this stadium, Istanbul Maritime Museum (Istanbul Deniz Muzesi), Dolmabahce Palace and Sinan Pasha Mosque are among other places of interest in Besiktas.

HOW TO GO TO BESIKTAS

Besiktas is one of the transportation hubs of Istanbul. We will not go as far to say all roads lead to Besiktas, that distinction belonging to Taksim, but it surely is pretty central.

You can take ferries from main districts of Istanbul such as Kadikoy Eminonu, Uskudar. For more information see ferry hours for boats serving the Bosphorus.

You can take dolmus from Gumussuyu, Taksim.

Or you can take any bus with Besiktas name on its sign panel, from pretty much everywhere in Istanbul.