An hour’s boat ride from the city center, this group of islands take their name from Byzantine times when the princesses were sent there on exile. There are nine islands, five small and four relatively large. No motorboat is permitted, transport being provided by horse-drawn carriages. On the islands there are many glorious 19th century mansions with characteristic overhanging balconies, most of which are inhabited only during the summer.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Istanbul, Turkey|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Please be ready at least 15 minutes before the tour.|
From 09:00 To 18:00
The tour starts with a drive to the pier. Upon arrival on the largest of the islands, Buyuk Ada, horse-drawn carriages take the guests on a tour of the island through the pine forest, riding next to picturesque bays and along the old villas. Lunch is served at a seaside restaurant. Time is left to enjoy the cheerful local life on the village square.
During the Byzantine period, princesses and other royalty were exiled on the islands, and later members of the Ottoman sultans family were exiled there too, giving the islands their present name. They were taken by the Ottoman fleet during the siege of Constantinople in 1453. During the nineteenth century, the islands became a popular resort for Istanbul’s wealthy, and Victorian-era cottages and houses are still preserved on the largest of the Princess Islands.
The islands are an interesting anomaly because they allow for a very rare, albeit incomplete, insight into a multicultural society in modern Turkey, possibly alike to the multicultural society that once existed during the Ottoman Empire in places such as nearby Istanbul/Constantinople. Prior to 1950s, each of the inhabited islands had significant communities of ethnic minorities of Turkey, which is only the case to a much smaller extent. Since the vast majority of the residents and visitors are Turkish, today their legacy is of cultural rather than of demographic importance.