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Historic buildings in Yeldeğirmeni
Historic buildings in Yeldeğirmeni


Kadıköy (known as Chalcedon in antiquity) is a large and populous cosmopolitan district on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, Turkey, on the shore of the Sea of Marmara, facing the historic city centre on the European side of the Bosporus. Kadıköy is a residential and commercial district, and with its numerous bars, cinemas and bookshops, is the cultural centre of the Anatolian side. It became a district in 1928 when it seceded from Üsküdar. Also, the quarters of İçerenköy, Bostancı and Suadiye were separated from the district of Kartal in the same year, and eventually joined the borough of Kadıköy. Its neighbours are Üsküdar to the northwest Ümraniye to the northeast, Maltepe to the southeast and Kartal beyond Maltepe. The population of Kadikoy, according to the 2007 census, is 509.282.


Kadıköy Quay
Kadıköy Quay


Eglise de L'Assomption in Moda
Eglise de L'Assomption in Moda





Kadıköy is an older settlement than those on the European side of the city of İstanbul. Relics dating to 5500-3500 BC (Chalcolithic period) have been found at the Fikirtepe Mound, and articles of stone, bone, ceramic, jewelry and bronze show that there has been a continuous settlement since prehistoric times. A port settlement dating from the Phoenicians has also been discovered. Chalcedon (Kadıköy) was the first settlement which the Greeks from Megara established on the Bosphorus, in 685 BC, a few years before they established Byzantium on the other side of the strait in 667 BC. Chalcedon became known as the 'city of the blind', the story being that Byzantium was founded following a prophecy that a great capital would be built 'opposite the city of the blind' (meaning that the people of Chalcedon must have been blind not to see the obvious value of the peninsula on the Golden Horn as a natural defensive harbour). And true enough, Chalcedon changed hands time and time again, as Persians, Bithynians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders and Turks passed through the area, which was badly damaged during the riotous Fourth Crusade and eventually passed into Ottoman hands in 1353, a full hundred years before İstanbul (Constantinople) was conquered. Thus, Kadıköy has the oldest mosque in İstanbul, which was built almost a century before the conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

At the time of the conquest, Chalcedon was a rural settlement outside the protection of the city. It was soon put under the jurisdiction of the İstanbul courts, hence the name Kadıköy, which means Village of the Judge. In the Ottoman period, Kadıköy became a popular market for agricultural goods and in time developed into a residential area for people who would commute to the city by boat. The population was the typical Ottoman Istanbul mix of Armenians, Greeks, Jews and Turks. Kadıköy has several churches (Greek, Armenian, Serbian, Catholic, Protestant) and synagogues.

Modern Life


The major Haydarpaşa Terminal of the Turkish State Railways is located close to Kadıköy's centrum, serving east- and south-bound international, domestic and regional trains. Haydarpaşa Terminal was opened in 1908 as the terminus of the İstanbul-Baghdad and İstanbul-Damascus-Medina railways. This, along with the nearby Harem Bus Terminal, has services to Anatolia.

The centre of Kadıköy today is the hub of traffic for people commuting between the Asian side of the city and the European side across the Bosphorus. There is a large bus and minibus terminal next to the ferry docks. Ferries are the most dominantly visible form of transport in Kadıköy, and the central market area is adjacent to the ferry dock.



The centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP) is usually successful in Kadıköy in both local and national elections, in contrast to Kadıköy's neighbouring district, the conservative Üsküdar. Since the mid-1990s the mayor has been Selami Öztürk of the CHP. Öztürk is often credited with the recent growth in the number of shopping and leisure areas around Kadıköy, especially since the pedestrianisation of Bahariye Street, which many say has become the Anatolian equivalent of İstiklal Avenue in Beyoğlu on the European side, including its nostalgic trams.


Marmara University has most of its buildings in Kadıköy, including the large and elegant Haydarpaşa Campus, while the largest private university in İstanbul, Yeditepe University, is located on the hill named Kayışdağı at the easternmost edge of the borough. In the centre of Kadıköy's shopping district there is a basketball arena, the Caferağa Spor Salonu.


Kadıköy is a busy shopping district, with a wide variety of atmospheres and architectural styles. The streets are varied, some being narrow alleyways and others, such as Bahariye Caddesi, being pedestrianised avenues. Turkey's biggest freshmarket is there, starting next to the Osman Ağa Mosque, and has an immense turnover of fresh products and artifacts from all around Turkey, ranging from dozens of species of fresh fish and seafood that has just been caught to plenty of different kinds of natural olive oil soap that come to be sold here, in a very organized and clean manner, thus making it a very important center of attraction for the one who eats organic and lives healthy. There are also modern shopping centres, most notably the large Carrefour Nautilus Shopping Mall behind the centrum of Kadıköy, and pavements crowded with street vendors selling socks, pirated copies of popular novels, and other products. In the streets behind the main post office, there is a large number of well-known bookshops selling both new and second-hand books, craft-shops and picture-framers, and a number of shops selling music CDs and related ephemera such as film posters and t-shirts. Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music is sold in the arcade named Akmar Pasajı, where associated items are also sold. On Sundays this area becomes a large second-hand book and music street market. Being a crowded shopping district, Kadıköy has many buskers, shoe shine boys, glue sniffers and schoolchildren in the streets selling flowers, chewing gum and packets of tissues.

At the top of the shopping district there is an intersection, with a statue of a bull, called Altıyol (Six Ways), where a road leads to the civic buildings and a huge street market called Salı Pazarı (Tuesday Market). The working-class residential districts of Hasanpaşa and Fikirtepe are located behind the civic buildings.


There is a lot of residential property in the centre of Kadıköy, mostly somewhat dilapidated today, but there are still quiet suburban streets. The area is home to many students as well as a small number of foreign residents.


There is a helium balloon moored on the shore here and this takes paying passengers up to an altitude of 200 m for a panoramic view of the area, and of the centre of İstanbul across the Bosphorus.

Dangers and Annoyances

The main road by the ferry terminal may be considered the least attractive part of Kadıköy, as it is a busy road crowded with buses, dolmuş, and taxis, while the buildings are largely sizeable grey office blocks with numerous billboards and business signs. This area also has many beggars, hawkers and shoeshiners, while people selling foreign currency on the black market or pirate software and other illegally copied multimedia products can also be found here.

Entertainment and Eating

Kadıköy has many narrow streets packed with varieties of cafés, bars and restaurants, along with a rich selection of cinemas (such as the Reks or the historic and Süreyya). The market area is mostly closed to traffic and contains a wide variety of fast food restaurants serving toasted sandwiches, hamburgers and döner kebab. Many students go to this area to buy large sandwiches called 'maniac' or 'psychopath'. There are also traditional Turkish restaurants and patisseries, bridge schools, bars with live jazz, folk and rock music, as well as working class tea and backgammon houses.

Behind the centre lies a large shopping and residential district winding uphill to the pedestrianised street named Bahariye Caddesi. This area was transformed during the economic boom of the 1990s and many new bars were opened.

Kadıköy's entertainment is generally not of the affluent type. It has a more working class ambience; therefore, it is easier to find food of the like of kebab, kokoreç and fried mussels than haute cuisine. Kadıköy does not have as much nightlife as Beyoğlu (where nightlife also continues much later into the night), nor does it have Nişantaşı's style of shopping or the Bosphorus for nightlife. Instead, it is often considered a cheaper alternative but may still be regarded as vibrant.

Places to eat and drink include:

Surrounding residential areas

Coastal areas

Along the coast, away from the centrum of Kadıköy, there are many expensive shops and the area becomes more upmarket in neighbourhoods such as Moda and Fenerbahçe, which are attractive, long-established residential areas. These both lie within the bounds of the borough of Kadıköy, and have many restaurants, cafés and bars by the sea. From this area, the sun can be seen behind the old centre of İstanbul. There is a path here along the sea-front from Kadıköy; the tram to Moda calls here.

Moda is an old, quiet, cosmopolitan İstanbul neighbourhood, but is beginning to experience economic and aesthetic problems, with there being a lack of car parking and some run-down shops and other buildings. As elsewhere in İstanbul, many historic houses have been demolished and replaced with apartment buildings; however, Moda is generally considered one of the more pleasant residential districts in the city. There are numerous churches in Moda with active congregations, and well-known schools, such as the Lycée Saint-Joseph and Kadıköy Anadolu Lisesi. There is a small, attractive theatre in Moda named Oyun Atölyesi, founded by the former (BBC soap opera) EastEnders actor Haluk Bilginer.

Another smart new district is Acıbadem. This area has one of the best-known private hospitals in the city and a long avenue of smart cafés, restaurants and ice cream parlours.

Beyond this area, the huge stadium of Fenerbahçe Football Club dominates the skyline. From here, the long shopping street named Bağdat Caddesi (Baghdad Avenue) heads east and there are many affluent neighbourhoods between the avenue and the coast. Until the 1950s these areas, such as Kalamış, Göztepe, Caddebostan, Erenköy, and Suadiye, were full of summer houses and mansions for the city's wealthy upper middle class. Since the Bosphorus Bridge was built, it has become easier to commute from here to the European side of İstanbul, and most of these summer houses have been demolished and replaced with modern apartment buildings; however, these districts many still be considered among the most beautiful residential areas of the city. The coast here has a long stretch of seaside parks and yacht marinas, and the streets behind the coast in areas such as Caddebostan are lined with numerous bars and cafés.

From Bostancı onwards the economic level progressively lessens, so there are more retired and working-class residents here. There are no more villas, excepting some on the coast at Dragos, and the apartment buildings are narrower and less widely spaced. Bostancı itself is a busy shopping district built around a railway station.

Inland areas

Inland from the coast there is a great deal of housing development: some of this has little infrastructure, while most is more expensive, especially in areas such as Kozyatağı and İçerenköy. These districts house many of İstanbul's middle class residents, most of whom commute across the Bosphorus bridges to the European side for work. These neighbourhoods are mainly built around wide avenues and tree-lined streets, with four to six-storey apartment buildings that have sizable gardens and car-parking around them. There are many schools, hospitals, shops and restaurants in these areas. There is also a large Carrefour and Bauhaus store on the E5 highway in this part of Kadıköy.

In the late 1990s, new luxury housing developments such as Ataşehir began to be constructed in the previously undeveloped area north of the E5 highway. These have their own shops, private colleges, sports centres and other facilities.


Kadıköy has many interesting houses from the Ottoman period which are hidden in its side streets. Many of them have been turned into cafés, pubs and restaurants, particularly serving seafood. A few examples can be seen below:


The district is home to the Turkish football club Fenerbahçe SK's home venue, the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium. Following important victories, all neighbourhoods of Kadıköy are crowded with celebrating people. The stadium will host the 2009 UEFA Cup Final. The area also has a rugby union team, Kadıköy Rugby, which was the first official rugby club in Turkey.



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