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Princes' Islands

The Princes' Islands are, an archipelago consisting of nine various sized islands in the Marmara Sea just a few miles away from Asian Istanbul. It is less than an hour by boat (ferry) from the city center. Since driving is forbidden in the islands, they offer peace, a resort atmosphere and quiet natural environment.

Walks or tours with horse carriages through the streets between beautiful wooden houses, restaurants and cafes scattered mostly along the seaside, and beaches allowing people to swim are among the simple joys you can find there. Throughout the summer and especially on weekends, private boats, and yachts anchor in the beautiful coves surrounding every island. Woods and parks cover the hills on the islands and residences line the northern shores that face the Asian side of Istanbul.

All nine islands together form a municipality, the mayor's office being in Büyükada, the largest island of all. Büyükada, Heybeli, Burgaz, Kınalı and recently Sedef have permanent residents. Their combined population is about 20.000, however this number increases more than 120,000 during summers, especially after the school year ends and summer houses are inhabited.

During the Byzantine period, the islands were collectively a religious center with many monasteries while some of there were used as imperial summer residences. The name "Princes' Islands" is derived from the fact that princes were sent there in exile. Those were the ones regarded as threatening the throne. One of most famous exiles is the Empress Eirene, mother of Emperor Constantin VI who reigned during the late 8th century. During the Ottoman period land usage and property rights were given to the Patriarchate. The islands were attractive in the past to non-Moslem groups. The settlement of a steady Turkish population on the islands came about as late as the end of the 19th century.

Princes' Islands Tip
The islands lay as a brilliant necklace on the Marmara Sea near Istanbul are considered one of the most important excursion sites. After a short and pleasant ferry voyage you will arrive at the islands and feel the relaxed way of life. You'll be fascinated with the well-arranged gardens of the pavilions and array of trees and flowers such as acacia, redbud, oleander, tulip, jasmine, honeysuckle and carnation. If you wish to spend a weekend at one of the beautiful hotels on the Princes' Islands, do not forget to make reservation beforehand as they are very popular and tend to be full in the summertime. If you catch a ferry instead of sea bus, don't forget to throw a piece of Simit out over the water and watch the gulls immediately grasp it before falling down the sea. Each restaurant and cafe scattered around the islands exhibits a different view.
Don't' miss mimosa season. It is again a very different and offers magnificent view.

You can reach Büyükada, Heybeli, Kınalı or Burgaz by steamships or sea-busses taking off from Kabataş, Sirkeci, Kadıköy and Bostancı. Also motors from Bostancı.

Ferries between Yalova and Istanbul leave from Kabataş, near the Dolmabahçe Palace (about 3 times a day). Those ferries only stop at Burgaz, Heybeliada and Büyükada..

Frequent ferries (about 10 times a day) to Istanbul are available from all the above islands. The ferry dock is at Sirkeci next to Eminönüjust across from the Sirkeci Railway Station and is marked with word Adalar (Islands). Those ferries also stop at Kadıköy (the old port again marked as “Adalar”). Very frequent ferries do inter-island journeys as well and are generally free of charge.

The Seabus (Istanbul Deniz Otobüsleri) is run by Municipality of Metropolitan Istanbul. It is a catamaran with very frequent services to Istanbul and Yalova. Four of the Princes' Islands, Burgaz, Büyükada, Heybeli and Kınalı are connected by very frequent services from Kabataş and less frequent from Sirkeci and Kadıköy. Sea bus services are less frequent from autumn till spring.

Other Islands
Istanbul Aquarium
Centennial Trees
Excursions Near by
Forests and Groves
Fransız Sokağı - French Street
Historical Monuments
Historical Mosques
Istanbul Beaches
Museums & Palaces
Pavilions in Green Lands
Places of Worship
Princes' Islands
The Bosphorus

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