Princes’ Islands are a group of 9 islands off the Asian coast of Istanbul. The names of the islands are Buyukada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, Kinaliada, Sedefadasi, Silivriada, Yassiada, Kasik Island and Tavsan Island.

Each island has its own special charm, and their popularity is directly related to their size. Their silhouette can be seen from many parts of Istanbul.

The islands are the best choice for people to escape from the crowds of the city, you only need to choose an island and board a ferry. It is possible to travel from one island to another quickly, and to visit a few of the islands in a single day. There are several buildings dating back to the Byzantine and Ottoman period on these islands, which were used as places of exile. Only bicycles and electric vehicles are used for transportation on all four of the islands, in which no automobiles are allowed.

With wonderful Princes’ Islands, Istanbul is a breath taking place to visit.

Day Trips from Istanbul

During the summer months the Princes’ Islands are popular destinations for day trips from Istanbul. You can sip tea by the water or watch waves crash on rocky shores from windy hill tops. Smelling the salt air and watching seabirds fly along can be quiet dreamy.
Once you discover the peaceful life style, the quiet and calm of the islands, the clean streets and unspoilt nature there, you will find returning to the city very difficult.

Beaches for Swimming

Easy to get with an enjoyable ferry ride along the Bosphorus, Princes’ Islands include some nice beaches suitable for swimming. Surrounded by the cleanest waters of the Marmara Sea, five islands, namely Buyukada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, Kinaliada and Sedefadasi feature beautiful beaches.

How to Get There

The Princes’ Islands can be visited by either taking a ferryboat or a sea bus from Kabatas, Kadikoy or Bostanci. Ferries drop by each of them in the following order; first Kinaliada, then Burgazada, Heybeliada, and lastly Buyukada.

Tekfur Palace is the only palace to survive from the Blaherne Palace complex in Istanbul. It is located in Edirnekapi district within the boundaries of Fatih District in Istanbul; The thick-walled palace, built adjacent to the land walls and situated between Edirnekapı and Eğrikapı, is called “Tekfur Palace”.

Situated in Ayvansaray, Tekfur Palace (Palace of Porphyrogenitus) was built as an annex to the Blachernae Palace in the late thirteenth century. The exact construction date of the palace is not certain, yet according to the primary sources it was built during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos (r. 1261-1282) for his son Prince Constantine “Porphyrogenitus”. Purple was the color of the Byzantine imperial family and porphyrogenitus -meaning literally “born to the purple” indicate a Byzantine prince born to a reigning emperor.

The location of the palace was crucial, because it was situated at the highest point of Constantinople (Byzantine Istanbul) on the northwest corner of the city, therefore controlling the Golden Horn, Pera (today’s Galata), and city itself.

Museum is closed on Mondays, and open to visitors between 09:00 – 17:00 on other days.

The first city walls of Istanbul were built during 413-477 by the Byzantine Emperor Thedosius II. They extend 6-7 km. starting from the Marble Tower on the Marmara shore up to the Golden Horn. The Yedikule Walls was built by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in the years 1457-1458. These walls contain 16 gates. The walls have a three stage defence consisting of the inner walls, outer walls and a trench. The inner walls are 3-4m thick and 13m high. The outer walls 15m away, are 2m. thick and 10m. high. In front of the outer walls, there is a trench. The Istanbul city walls are being restored within the framework of the UNESCO protection program.

Suleymaniye Mosque built on top of the third hill of historical Istanbul is one of the biggest mosques of the city.

The truly staggering size of the Suleymaniye Mosque is one of its most distinctive features – built by the legendary architect, Mimar Sinan, it is known as one of his masterpieces, and his largest design. It is not just the awe-inspiring size that is impressive (the central dome stands 47m high), but also the elegantly decorated interior. The sense of space and light is emphasized the supporting semi-domes to the northwest and southeast and the monumental arched spaces to the southwest and northeast.

It took eight years to build, and was completed in 1557, as tribute to Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. The beautiful Suleymaniye Mosque is a fitting tribute to both the sultan and the architect. Suleyman was the longest reigning sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1520-1566), and is regarded by some as a “Second Solomon” because of the harmony and justice under his rule.

Also in the Sülemaniye Külliyesi (mosque complex), there is a medrese (religious school), soup kitchen, hospital, caravanserai, library, bazaar and several tombs. Some of these facilities are still in use today. Notable are the tombs of Süleyman the Magnificent and his wife, Haseki Hürrem, (also known as Roxelana). Both are impressive; inlaid with precious metals, stones and stained glass. The tomb of the architect, Mimar Sinan, is also located here, in the north-western corner.