Kalamis: Then and Now
by Hülya Ekşigil
From the 1950s to the 1980s, Kalamış was one of Istanbul's best-loved summer resorts - so much so that poems and songs were written about this "romantic" neighborhood.
Even today, it retains much of its original charm. The streets of Kalamış are named after famous artists of yesteryear, which act as signposts to Kalamış's glorious past. Once upon a time, Kalamış was the kind of place that inspired Münir Nurettin Selçuk. An old master of Turkish Classical Music, he was known for serenading his friends along the Kalamış Bay on beautiful moonlit evenings - his songs can still be "heard" by them in their memories! Kalamış's stellar residents include writer Haldun Taner, poet Behçet Kemal Çağlar, composer Selahattin Pınar and the Eyüboğlu family of artists.
Unlike other summer resorts, Fenerbahçe and Kalamış residents lived here year round. In the 1960s and 70s, when the waters of the Marmara were still crystal clear and blue, visitors from both the Asian and European shores of the city used to flock to the beaches of Kalamış every summer. In the winter, people would promenade on the shores, breathing in the fresh sea air. The word "Kalamış" comes from the Greek "kalamissia", meaning "reed bed".
But time passed, and brought change in its wake. For a while, it wasn't clear what the future would bring to Kalamış. Then, over the past 20 years, Kalamış changed from the romantic resort of yore into a thriving part of modern urban life.
As you head from Kızıltoprak to Kalamış, you will see Soley Pastry Shop, one of the few establishments remaining from the "good old days". Meanwhile, right next-door is the ultra-modern Kalamış Medikal, famous for its Botox treatments - perhaps the ultimate sign of the times. People from all over Istanbul descend here to have various "parts" lifted. On a nearby street lies the Eyüboğlu Yazma Workshop - but just like dessert comes at the end of the meal, let's save this place for later. A line of furniture stores stretches to the left of Kalamış Medikal. There's something to suit everyone here - from Italian to Turkish to Modern to Classical designs - although not necessarily the prices! Before the intersection, head right to Iskele Sokak (Street) where you will pass by the old Todori. Located right behind the Greek Orthodox Church, this tavern (meyhane) was a favorite among the artists and stars of the time along with "anyone who was anyone" in their field! Sadly, time has not been kind to this establishment. Between the church and the Kalamış Sailing Club lies the marina, home to the "Todori's of Today".
Kalamış Yacht Marina is the rock on which modern Kalamış was built. With its modern restaurants, shops and charming yachts, it is a hive of activity. The restaurants that stand out are those run and managed by Divan. Hai! Sushi makes the best sushi in Asia - well, on the Asian shore of Istanbul anyway. The Kalamış Marina Brasserie is a good choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Non-Divan establishments include Develi, which has both a meat and fish restaurant. Murphy's Dance Bar seems to hang right over the water, and is a hot spot in the summer months. Let's not forget Edwards of Kalamış. This purveyor of gentlemen's clothing brings an air of elegance to the Kalamış Yacht Marina.
At the intersection, if you head right and then straight on without turning towards Fenerbahçe, you will see Çayak on your left. For years, Çayak has been selling tailor made shoes - a real rarity these days.
On the corner, you will see a Citibank - once the home of Yelken Pastry Shop, known for their homemade lemonade. Head left here. Before you hit the main road, you will see Sele Zeytincilik on your right. This olive supplier is a must visit. Another gourmet address lies hidden away on Eflatun Sokak, to the left before Sele. This shop called Arkadaş features a rich variety of cakes and flowers. Sales are by order only and the staff includes a Cordon Bleu graduate.
If you take a right at the intersection, head to Linzer on the way to the Fenerbahçe Point. Linzer is popular for its Austrian cakes and daily menus. A little further on to the right is Elma Sanat (Elma Art Atelier). Elma holds art classes throughout the day and has an in-house store where you can buy unique works of art such as porcelain plates and vases made by various artists. The plates decorated with Ottoman calligraphy and colorful Iznik ceramics are particularly eye-catching. Two new venues are about to open across the street from Elma. Paul - famous for its cakes and breads - and Zeynel - home of delicious milk puddings - will soon be neighbors to Bozok Florist with its appealing window showcase.
Usually on the Asian shore, the so-called "minibus road" is lined with kebab restaurants while bakeries and cake shops are more common on the shore road. This is certainly the case in Kalamış where bakeries such as Altınkek, Evtat, Peleki and Aum Melodi Unlu Mamuller tout their delicious wares in their windows.
Heading from the shore to Fenerbahçe Point along Fener Caddesi, you will pass some old tea gardens. Sadly, these tea gardens have lost their former charm. Still, never mind, there is always beauty to be seen if you know where to look. For example, take a peek at Number 79 across the road. This beautiful building with its workmanship, designs and architecture serves as a reminder of better times past. If you need a break to grab a bite to eat, on the same street are Divan Pub and Borsa Meat Restaurant. But don't even think about leaving the area until you've visited the park.
Turing runs the Fenerbahçe Park on Fenerbahçe Point. Çelik Gülersoy, once at the helm of Turing, has left his mark and his "disciplined" style lingers on. You can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee or taste the homemade natural foods prepared in this jewel-like building with its panoramic view. Nothing beats a walk on the seashore in this park. Plus, Istanbul wouldn't be Istanbul if you weren't in for a little surprise! At one point along the promenade, a few steps lead down to the seashore to a place called Balıkçı Barınakları (Fishermen's Shelters). Here, you will see a café with nylon coverings over its door and windows. This is an ideal place to come for a cup of tea on a cold winter's day - or for a cold beer on a hot summer's day. It isn't the beverages or the food that makes this coffee house special - rather, the fact that you are close enough to the sea that you can almost get your feet wet.
The Kalamış side of the Fenerbahçe Point is home to many sports clubs. Legend has it that, one day the founder of the Turkish Republic, Atatürk, was wandering around the area and liked it so much that he suggested that it would make an ideal location for sports facilities. Though he didn't live to see it, the area is now home to the Istanbul Sailing Club and the Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray Sports Clubs. Fenerbahçe has some of the best facilities for sailing. Plus, diving enthusiasts will be pleased to see that diving courses are on offer on almost every corner.
If you head right from the park, past the grandeur of the Officer's Club, you'll find yourself in Dalyan. Dalyan was once famous for its rowboat excursions. Friends and family used to get together and sail out from the bay for a day of swimming and sunning. Sadly, these days are a thing of the past, but Dalyan is still a fun place to visit and now has other things to offer. The Dalyan Cafe and Green House located at the beginning of the park that stretches all the way to Caddebostan is surrounded by greenery and has a wonderful sea view. The menus may not be very exciting, but the setting more than makes up for it. Kalamış is a bit of a dark horse. If you're looking for tasty food, you'll find it here too. But you'll need to head to the back streets to find it. Köşebaşı on Kurukahveciler Sokak is located in a villa that was owned by a family famous for selling roasted and ground coffee, or "kurukahve". Indeed, the street is named after them. The original Köşebaşı Kebab Restaurant opened in Levent, and branches soon spread all over the city. The Kalamış branch is worth a visit as much for its delicious kebab as it is for the gorgeous building and garden that houses it.
Küfte (yes, "Küfte", not "Köfte") is a tiny take-away Köfte Shop on a back street with only two or three tables. Its charcoal grilled meatballs are truly excellent - despite the fact that they refuse to serve the meatballs with any spices.
Nearby, the Park Residence Hotel on Atlıhan Sokak is an upscale
spot. The Vanilla Bar on the ground floor is the most "stylish"
establishment in the area. Directly opposite the hotel, is a magnificent stone
French building surrounded by a garden. This used to be attached to the Catholic
Church next door. Today, it is home to the private Dalyan Club. The club
features a pool and tennis courts and public areas that are popular with Fenerbahçe
residents - particularly during the summer months.
As we come to the end of our Fenerbahçe Kalamış tour, let's head back to Kalamış the way we came. En route, there's one place in particular that deserves our attention. As mentioned earlier on in the article - now it's time for dessert! A little way down the street named after Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu - one of Turkey's most unique artists - you'll notice a garden wall decorated with interesting designs. Busts of Bedri Rahmi and his wife Eren Eyüboğlu, who have both sadly, passed away, are on the wall. The only sign of life from the building behind the wall is a small plume of smoke rising from a chimney. In fact, their son, Mehmet Hamdi Eyüboğlu, and his wife Hughette Eyüboğlu live here with a large family of five cats! This is both their home and a studio. Eyüboğlu enjoys teaching people "yazma", or block printing. Block printing on cloth is a rich Turkish handcraft, and Eyüboğlu has been producing his own interpretations of this art form for many years. He gives lessons in a unique setting surrounded by works of art belonging to his family. All he asks from his students is that they become "passionate" about block printing and are willing to be disciplined about their work. But don't worry, you don't have to work up the courage to knock on their door if you want to meet the Eyüboğlu family and see their art. Every year, they hold a "Yazma" Festival on the first weekend in June. The Festival lasts two days, allowing you to discover Kalamış, the fascinating Eyüboğlu family as well as the world of "yazma". At the end of your visit to Kalamış, you can be proud of yourself for having been able to "kill so many birds with one stone"!
Places of Interest in Kalamış
Eflatun Sokak No. 3-1 Feneryolu
Tel: (216) 449 49 50
Fuat Paşa Caddesi
No. 2/3 Kalamış
Tel: (216) 345 98 44
Ahmet Mithat Efendi Caddesi No. 19/7 Fenerbahçe
Tel: (216) 345 39 93
Iğrıp Sokak Kayıkhane Yanı Dalyan
Tel: (216) 369 76 79
Develi Kebab Restaurant
Kalamış Yat Limanı
Tel: (216) 418 94 00
Edwards of Kalamış
Kalamış Yat Limanı
Tel: (216) 418 75 13
Elma Sanat (Elma Art Atelier)
Kalamış Fener Caddesi No. 84/1 Fenerbahçe
Tel: (216) 336 97 53
Cemil Topuzlu Caddesi
Kuru Kahveciler Sokak No. 10 Fenerbahçe
Tel: (216) 355 58 42
Kalamış Yat Limanı
Tel: (216) 541 03 54
Kalamış Marina Brasserie
Kalamış Yat Limanı
Tel: (216) 414 57 03
Fener Kalamış Caddesi No. 25/A-2 Kalamış
Tel: (216) 337 63 86
Kurukahveciler Sokak No.1 Dalyan
Tel: (216) 363 58 56
Dalyan Aralığı Sokak
No. 7/1 Fenerbahçe
Tel: (216) 330 50 36
Kalamış Caddesi No. 6 Fenerbahçe
Tel: (216) 449 08 61
Mehmet Hamdi Eyüboğlu Workshop
Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu Sokak No. 10 Kalamış
Tel: (216) 336 20 66
Murphy's Dance Bar
Kalamış Yat Limanı
B İskelesi Ucu
Tel: (216) 349 73 63
Alageyik Sokak No. 1/8 Feneryolu
Tel: (216) 302 90 51
Atlıhan Sokak No. 4 Dalyan
Tel: (216) 345 71 01
Would you like to add your comment about this article? Click here!
Alexandre Vallaury - Architect Alexandre Vallaury was born into a Levantine family in İstanbul in 1850. Apart from the years he spent on architecture education in Paris, he lived in İstanbul for the rest of his life. more...
ODTÜ Sanat 18
Akbank Short Film Festival
Istanbul Music Festival
Ankara World Music Festival
CRR Jazz Feb.
Opus Amadeus Chamber Music Festival
Bilkent Chamber Music Days
Akbank Guitar Days