Statistics and Districts of Istanbul
Istanbul is not only one of the largest and most populated metropolitan cities in the world but also one of the most occupied cities. 47% of its total land is forested land and the rest is highly occupied by buildings. Considering, from one end to the other end, the city is 130 km-long, it is easier to imagine the variety of the city.
Istanbul’s official population 13,624,240 but the city is a lot more crowded due to huge commercial, touristic, health and transit transportation activities. Istanbul is getting crowded twice as Turkey’s population increase ratio. Migration is one of the reasons for high population and no surprise, 62.24% of the population are born outside of Istanbul. 2,622 people live per square km in Istanbul (compared to 97 people for Turkey, and 50 for Europe.
The city is statued on two continents and 35% of the population lives in the Asian side (Anatolia), 65% in the European side (Thrace). There are 2 suspension bridges to connect two sides and the third bridge is about to be built. Also a submarine system, called Marmaray, is being built under the Boshphorus and set to be finished in 2013. Marmaray will connect the two continents’ subway and metro systems.
Istanbul is also a very important production city and has 55% production share of Turkey. Also, it has fourth ranking city in the world) with 35 billionaires. No surprise, Istanbul succeeds 7th best economical performance in 200 largest metropolitan cities of the world ( %5.3 increase in income and %5.6 increase in employment during 2011), according to Global Metro Monitor, The Brookings Institution.
Every year, over 50,000,000 people are hosted in Istanbul’s 2 international airports and third one is set to be built soon. Foreigners are more and more interested in Istanbul to live or do business. Most of the global companies have offices or factories in Istanbul.
Istanbul’s some of biggest projects :
1 – Canal Istanbul : Connecting Black sea and Marmara sea, and alternating the Bosphorus. Expected investment : 30 billion USD.
2 – Marmararay : A rail system connecting two sides of the city under the Bosphorus. Another tunnel system will follow for motor vehicles. Expected investment: Over 10 billion USD.
3 – Kadıkoy-Kartal Subway System : It was opened on the 17th of August, 2012 and will be connected to Marmaray. Total investment: 1,9 billion USD.
4 – Third Suspension Bridge : Set to start building in 2012. Expected investment (with highways): 6 billion USD.
5 – Third International Airport : Set to start building this year in Terkos Lake area. Expected investment: 8 billion USD.
6 – New Financial Center in Ataşehir : Expected investment: 2 billion USD.
Districts of Istanbul :
Most foreigners know only about Taksim area, Historical Peninsula (Sultanahmet, Fatih, etc) and the Boshporus line… Since there are a lot of attractions, tourists prefer to stay in districts like Taksim, Aksaray, Fatih, Sultanahmet, etc. These districts have many hotels and amusement places like museums, historical Mosques and others… Although these places ate most preferred by foreigners, on the other hand; they are generally low income settlements of Istanbul.
For example, Taksim is in Beyoglu Province and other than very few districts, Beyoglu a low incomed province. Which districts around Taksim are preferred most by the high income and high educated local people? Cihangir, Gumussuyu, Nisantasi and some parts of Besiktas are some of them. Nisantasi is one of the oldest and most elegant districts that is preferred by Istanbulites since the Ottoman times. Especially Valikonagi, Abdi İpekci, Tesvikiye and Rumeli streets are popular and famous of their restaurants, cafes and stores.
Have you heard of Bagdat Avenue? It is one of the most elegant districts in Istanbul, and probably indispensable by its habitants. It is largest elegant district of Istanbul for sure. It is an outdoor shopping mall with its stores, cafes, restaurants and walking ways. The avenue has its parallel twin avenue near the sea, about 50-100 meter-away. Walking 50 to 100 meters, you can reach the shore to enjoy parks, sea, quite walk and bicycle ways…
What are the nicest districts of Istanbul , most preferred by high educated locals and also expats?
Asian Side :
- Bagdat Avenue (Bostanci, Suadiye, Saskinbakkal, Erenkoy, Caddebostan, Goztepe, Ciftehavuzlar, Feneryolu, Kiziltoprak)
- Fenerbahce (It is also hometown of Turkey’s largest and the world’s one of the largest sports clubs with activities in almost all sports branches, Fenerbahce Sports Club)
- Moda and some part of Kadikoy
- Part of Kavacik
- Part of Altunizade
- Part of Acibadem
- Bosphorus line (part of Uskudar, Kuzguncuk, Beylerbeyi, Kandilli, etc)
- The Prince’s Islands (Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgaz, Kinaliada, Sedef)
European Side :
- Etiler and Akadlar
- Cihangir and Gumussuyu
- Bomonti, Sisli
- Boshporus line (Çıragan, part of Ortakoy, Kurucesme, Arnavutkoy, Bebek, Asiyan. Rumeli Hisari, Emirgan, part of Istinye, Tarabya, Yenikoy, part of Sariyer)
- Part of Maslak
- Zekeriyakoy & Demircikoy
- Yesilkoy, Yesilyurt and Florya
- Halkali (Housing Development Administration Area)
These districts are first to mention but also there are mixed popular districts to name :
The fastest growing district and offer many nice housing complexes with facilities at reasonable price. Activating Metrobus transportation line made easier access to the district.
Also in Gunesli and Zeytinburnu areas, many new housing projects are being built, and create great contribution to their improvement.
Maybe the highest improvement is happening in he provinces of Istanbul as follows: Kartal, Pendik, Maltepe and Kurtkoy. In these districts, many housing complexes are being built and we can name them as high return prospects
Bagdat Avenue :
Bagdat Avenue, one of the most popular areas on the Asian Side, is compared well against similar famous avenues found in European countries.
The avenue, its name synonymous with Istanbul’s fashion platform, is a district highly popular with the young crowd and educated all age levels. Among the shops lining the avenue are branch stores of top fashion labels, independent stores, fast food eateries, branches of well-known restaurant chains, theaters, health and beauty and aesthetic centers, cafes, luxury automobile galleries, branch stores of top sports supplies labels, and interior decoration stores and sidewalks.
Bagdat Avenue may be seen as a fashion trend-setter for Istanbul as a whole, with Nisantasi district of the European side.
Bagdat Avenue ,with its variety, offers shoppers from every income level to obtain the best buy. During the spring and fall discount season, residents from all around the city head to Baghdad Avenue. The avenue also serves as a popular place to meet and for social purposes.
Since Bagdat Avenue is located in an area of high-income dwellers, the avenue is a showcase for luxury cars too.
The Bosphorus :
Length of the Bosphorus Strait is 32.2 km but its width varies between 698 meters (Anadolu Hisari(Castle) to Rumeli Hisari) and 3,600 meters(Anadolu Feneri to Rumeli Feneri). Depth goes up to 100 meters, but the average is 60 meters.
Istanbul’s most luxury districts lie on shores of the Bosphorus. Bebek-Arnavutkoy-Kurucesme area is the most expensive according to Title Registry Office transaction prices. Naming other precious districts of the Bosphorus, Ciragan, Ortakoy, Rumeli Hisarı, Emirgan, Baltalimani, Tarabya and Yenikoy in the European side and Kuzguncuk, Beylerbeyi, Kandilli, Kanlica in the Asian side. Most probably, Uskudar-Cengelkoy part has the best view of Istanbul.
The Prince’s Islands :
The Prince’s Islands (9) are located about 10 km away off the Bagdat Avenue area. 5 Islands have habitants called (from largest size to small) Büyükada, Heybeliada, Kinaliada, Burgaz and Sedef.
Land sizes of the Islands :
Büyükada: 5,400 sqkm
Heybeliada: 2,350 sqkm
Burgazada: 1,500 sqkm
Kinaliada: 1,356 sqkm
Tavsanadasi: 1,010 sqkm
Sedefadasi: 0,157 sqkm
Yassiada: 0,052 sqkm
Sivriada: 0,045 sqkm
Kasikadasi: 0,008 sqkm
How to go? :
Büyükada (Big Island) :
It is the largest and most touristic of 5 islands. After travelling by boats with the companionship of the seagulls, you will have a lot to do on the island..
Büyükada Tour :
As soon as you leave the historical building in the port of Büyükada, restaurants, cafes and ice cream sellers with delicious tastes surround you. The island welcomes you enthusiastically with people riding bicycles in a great merriment. We have to mention that the fresh air in Büyükada immediately affects, since big part of the island is forrested. You may start the tour having breakfast.
There are three options for the grand tour of Büyükada. By foot, bicycles or coach (phaeton). Horse driven coaches resemble most the Princes Island, and it is a must do.
What to see in Büyükada? :
Hagia Yorgi Church. The square at the beginning of the uphill road to Hagia Yorgi Church is like a festival place. The donkeys waiting for you to carry to the church, people sitting in the fun fair casino for lunch-break, pines and coaches all make up a colorful scene. You may go up to Hagia Yorgi Church on foot or by the donkeys waiting. There is a strong belief that the wishes made in Hagia Yorgi Church become true. The other hill on Büyükada, opposite side of Hagia Yorgi, is Hristos (Jesus) Hill. At all sides of Hagia Yorgi Church, Marmara Sea brightens your face.
Authentic Büyükada houses along the road and the colorful flowers in the gardens.
Famous manor houses in Nizam District. Mansions in Nizam District, with their architecture and the colorful and well-groomed gardens, makes you think that the princesses in the fairs are still alive.
Naki Bey Beach and Büyükada Water Sports Club.
Greek Orphanage, which still holds the title of being “the biggest wooden building in the world.
The Hristos (Jesus) Monastery is just a fair land with chickens, sheep and fruit trees in its garden. In the small graveyard near the monastery, there are the graves of the workers who worked in the construction of the monastery and the priests who held duty there.
Asiklar Yolu (Lovers Way) and Dilburnu.
The beaches which lie on Prenses Koyu (Princess Bay).
Con Pasha Mansion which was built in the Ottoman age and the Arap Izzet Pasha Mansion in which Leon Trotstky stayed.
Heybeliada is the second largest of Prince’s Islands.
Yesari Asim Arsoys says ‘Every night in Heybeliada we walked under the moonshine’ in his famous song that tells the joy of the island. Heybeliada is one of two most popular islands (with Büyükada) for a weekend escape. Your visit will be accompanied by Heybeliada’s shades of blue and green.
The island is called ‘Heybeliada’ because it resembles a saddlebag.
Many artists, novelists and other figures like Aziz Nesin, Ahmet Rasim, Huseyin Rahmi Gurpinar, Orhan Pamuk, Ismet Inonu were among the island’s visitors.
Arriving Heybeliada dock, the Maritime High School greets you first. You may prefer restaurants&cafes or picnic areas to eat.
The Holy Theological School of Halki is one of the most attractive elements of the island. Many sources confirm that this monastery was founded by Patriarch Photius in the 9th Century. The building used as a monastery and church for years was founded in the monastery in 1844 by Patriarch Germanos in order to educate clergymen. Until its closure in 1971, it has graduated almost 1000 clergymen. One of the unknown features of the school is its library with over 120.000 books on its shelves… In this library, there are many precious books, from Greek and Latin classics to Byzantine History, from law to archaeology.
The Hellenistic Trade School, one of the historical buildings on the island, was opened 1831 and had thousands of students. In the past, the visits of the families of the students in this school were among the most important events that liven up the island. The Christos (Makarios) monastery is situated on the Makarios Hill. The Greek Orthodox Ayios Nikolaos Church was built on the grave of Patriarch Samuel I who died in 1775. The Aya Yorgi (Saint George) church which was built over a high sea cliff is also called ‘Krimnos Precipise’ “the monastery of the abyss”.
The Heybeliada Sanatorium, which was built for benefiting from the clean air of the island, and which was served as a source of cure and hope for the lung patients, is now closed. With its paint and mortar peeled, it is as if left for dead, exhausted and tired among the pines…
A hidden sanctuary behind he hills: Hüseyin Rahmi Gürpınar Mansion The mansion built on a place near the top of Heybeliada, gives you peace as it reveals the grace of the island panorama. The mansion was built by Hüseyin Rahmi in 1912 as three storeys.
İsmet İnönü, who is known as Ataturk’s comrade had a very cute, pink-white house in this decent island. İsmet İnönü, who caught dysentery and considered the sick leave offer of the doctors, came to this island in 1924, and settled in this house, which once belonged to a Greek family, and he bought it later.
Islands’ tradition is to have a cruise with a horse driven coach (phaeton).
Do not get surprised when you hear the bicycle bells as you wander in the streets of the island. The island dwellers have solved the transportation problem of the island, with bicycles, where motor vehicles are banned. The contradiction of the old, discolored buildings with the modern villas reminds the blight of İstanbul. But this contradiction presents peaceful view with wisterias, huge trees, various flowers and the joyful songs of the birds.
Kınaliada, the smallest of the big four Prince’s Islands, the flower of Istanbul attracts you with the sweetness of a little child.
Famous Ayazma Beach at the back side of the island is waiting for you to refresh you. If you are sure of yourself to climb up the hill, you may walk to Ayazma Beach. But remember; the slope you’ll climb is very steep and the downward slope is full of pebbles! You may go to the beach by small boats or phaetons.
When coming to Kınalıada by ferry, the monastery on top of the island should have drawn your attention. It is strongly recommended that that you to sit in the greenery near this monastery called Hristo, and get lost under the spell of the scenery. On this hill where you can see all the Anatolian Bank shoreline, it is another pleasure to watch the sunset.
If you wish to tour the island by bike you may rent it.