Ortakoy Mosque Istanbul

Ortakoy is the first district of Istanbul that would be classified in local usage as part of the Bosphorus on the European side, traveling north towards the Black Sea from the Old Town. In Istanbul talk "going to the Bosphorus" means going away from the central locations located on the Bosphorus such as Kadikoy, Eminonu, Uskudar, Besiktas, Karakoy towards further north for a day by the sea, either for a fish restaurant or a cafe on the sea.

Ortakoy is not only idyllic with tiny little shops, fast food eateries, a small square by the sea but also offers a lot cheaper cafes and restaurants compared to other locations along the Bosphorus even though there are some high end restaurants and bars right on the sea. For these reasons it is very crowded during especially weekends and at summer nights even during weekdays, popular among both locals and tourists. Behind the Ortakoy mosque, boats depart for a one hour or one and a half hour Bosphorus Cruise.

Ortakoy literally means middle village as it was located in the middle of the European side of Bosphorus, before many new villages were built as Istanbul expanded. It is situated on the Bosphorus, between Besiktas and Bebek districts of Istanbul, at about 15 minutes walk from Besiktas.


During the Ottoman era, Ortakoy hosted many people from different backgrounds. Therefore different religious buildings, mosques, churches, synagogues stand side by side. The most famous of them, the Ortakoy Mosque also known as Grand Imperial Mosque of Sultan Abdülmecid built in the 19th century is really worth seeing with its Neo-Baroque architecture style and is the one that is used in most photo shoots and commercials for Istanbul. It is the only major mosque right on the sea.

There is Ortakoy Square by the sea, famous with its delicious baked jacket potatoes and waffles. On its side streets and the square area there are also many tea and coffee houses where you can sit, read your newspaper and enjoy the magnificent view of the Bosphorus with the sounds of sea gulls.

There are several antique and second hand shops on the side streets of Ortakoy, though more expensive than others.

Istanbul skyline and Ortakoy

Ortakoy is also where the columns of the first bridge "Bogazici Koprusu" on the Bosphorus stand. The second being Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge further up north the Bosphorus over Rumeli Hisari.

In addition, the Turkish Bath built by the famous architect Mimar Sinan can be seen here, but unfortunately, it is not working anymore.

Formerly used as parliament building until the 20th century, today Ciragan Palace serves as one of the most luxurious hotels of Istanbul by the name of Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel in Ortakoy.

Ortakoy also has a vivid nightlife. There are many elegant restaurants, cafes and bars also prefered by Turkish celebrities.


Due to its central location on Bosphorus, many buses pass through Ortakoy. From Taksim it takes about 15 minutes by bus. From Sultanahmet you should first take the tram to Kabatas and then either walk about 30 minutes along the coast or take a bus. You can take many buses in the direction of the Bosphorus with Ortakoy name on its sign panel.

Normally, sea access is the best way of transportation in Istanbul. Unfortunately, there is no way to go to Ortakoy by sea except once a day Bosphorus ferries and sea taxi. Besiktas is more central than Ortakoy. You can take ferries from main districts of Istanbul such as Kadikoy, Eminonu, Uskudar to Besiktas and than walk to Ortakoy in 10-15 minutes, or take a taxi(costs about 2euro) For more information see Istanbul ferry timetable