The Istanbul Bebek neighborhood is located on the European side by the Bosphorus Coast. The beautiful views ensured that this neighborhood was called “Boğazın Gözbebeği” which translates literally as the eye-baby of the Bosphorus or, more logically and figuratively, as the “apple of the Bosphorus.” Although this is a small neighborhood, it’s also known for its food. Locals near Bebek will visit one of the many modern restaurants or sip coffee in a cool café.
Nearby is the Boğaziçi University, which used to be the higher education part of Robert College. Nowadays, you’ll find students relaxing in the local park on weekends or eating lunch at a local restaurant. Many tourists visit the Bebek neighborhood to try the ice cream while walking along the Bosphorus strait. Bebek restaurants also have tourists having Turkish breakfast after watching the sunrise.
In short, this is the perfect location to get away from that busy hubbub of Istanbul. It may even be one of your new favorite places. If you want to visit this district, here are some spots in the Bebek neighborhood that you should visit.
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There are plenty of literary museums located in Istanbul. Aşiyan was the home of the famous poet Tevfik Fikret. He lived here from 1906-1915. In 1940, the Istanbul Municipality purchased this building and converted it into a museum. You’ll find the life and works of not only Tevfik Fikret but also of Abdülhak Hamit Tarhan, Nigar Hanım and the authors of Edebiyat-ı Cedide. Entrance is free, so this may be the best opportunity to explore the Turkish literary scene.
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Grab some coffee from the nearby cafes and enjoy the views that Bebek was named after. Alternatively, you can grab an ice cream and make your way to the waterfront. Though it does get crowded on the weekends with locals relaxing away from Istanbul’s pollution.
Located nearby is the Egyptian Consulate. Built in the Ottoman era, The last Khedive of Egypt commissioned Italian Architect Raimondo D’Aronco to construct this lovely building. Before it became the Egyptian Consulate, it was known as the Valide Pasha mansion.
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Bebek Mosque is one of the rare mosques built in the First National Architectural style. It was built in 1913, a decade before the Turkish Republic came into existence. Bebek Mosque was one of many buildings in Istanbul in which Turkish architects attempted to create a style of their own. You will see motifs derived from Seljuk and Ottoman architecture in this mosque. This mosque was built on the site of a previous mosque.
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This fortress was built in 1452. Technically, that makes it the first Ottoman building in Istanbul. If that year sounds familiar, that’s because a year after, in 1453, Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople. This fortress was built to help besiege the Byzantine city. Surprisingly, it was built in about 4 months. The Rumeli Fortress is on the European side in Bebek but just opposite the Bosphorus. In the exact location but in Asia is the Anatolian Fortress.
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Go for a Walk
An excellent way to burn off that lovely breakfast is to walk along the Bosphorus Coast until you end up in Ortaköy, a nearby neighborhood. If it’s too late at night, or if you hesitate to walk for another reason, you can quickly grab a bus. If you walk, you’ll have the opportunity to see all the lovely shops scattered around but resist the urge to duck into a cafe. The reason is that the trip you’re making to Ortaköy is so that you can try some of the beloved kumpir (baked potato) there. Ortaköy’s cafes have Istanbul’s best potato and, we daresay, it may be the best in the world.
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