Where time stands still!
Buyukada is an island from the Princes’ Islands group of nine islands. As it is, it can be part of Istanbul private tours. Unlike the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul, Buyukada is a symbol of tranquility, serenity. Istanbul is so busy with all the cafes, shopping centres, big buildings, everything that a modern human can think of. While Buyukada (in fact, the Princes’ Islands or ‘Adalar’, like Turkish call them) is a ploace where life has stopeed. It is like a harbour where ‘past’ settled down and doesn’t want to leave. Past, well-preserved and ignorant of new technologies or people’s modern desires.
Buyukada is in the Sea of Marmara, not far away from Istanbul sightseeing. There is population on four of the islands only. And the islands all have Greek and Turkish names. Buyukada is the Turkish name of the island and it means Big Island, as it covers an area of 5.4 km². Due to its size, the island is the biggest in the Princes’ Islands group and can be one of the places to visit on Istanbul private tours. ‘These Isles of the Princes lie in sight of Stamboul and its splendours, and of the mountains of Asia, dominated by the Mysean Olympus.
They are glorious in physical loveliness…’, Samuel Sullivan Cox – an American Congressman who was Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in 1885. Just like on the other islands there is no car traffic on Buyukada. To prevent the islands from becoming polluted, the only motorized vehicles allowed are the ones of service (fire, rubbish, police, ambulance). Transportation is in fact, traditional horse-drawn phaetons. Also, the design of the roads on the island is suitable for walking and cycling.
Prinkipo in Istanbul private tours
Earlier name, the Greek name of the island was Prinkipo. The Byzantine Emperor Justin II built a palace and monastery on Buyukada in A.D. 569. He was the “prince” who gave the Princes’ Isles their name. The Byzantine emperors used Buyukada as a place to exile their enemies. However, most often the enemies used to be their relatives. Also, they were statesmen who might have threatened the emperors’ political power. On the other hand, interesting is the story of the Byzantine Empress Irene who ruled the empire as a regent and as a monarch. Although an orphan but with great personal accomplishments, Irene married the Emperor and at his death she became Empress-Guardian of all Eastern Empire.
Other empresses shared Irene’s destiny as well – Empress Euphrosyne, Theophano, Zoe and Anna Dalassena. In modern times Buyukada was the exile location of Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary leader, who Soviet Union expelled in 1929. He stayed on the island for four years. For the Emperors and Empresses of Byzantine, the island was a sad place. While for Trotsky, it was a kind of sanctuary. What would it be for you when you step on it? Istanbul private tours and private guides Turkey might help you find the answer.
Remember your dreams and Istanbul private tours – both can be to your advantage
Buyukada consists of two peaks with many steeps. The peak on the southern section of the island is ‘Yorgi Peak’. While the other one is ‘Hristos Peak’. It is on the northern section of the island. On top of Hristos Peak is the former Greek Orphanage, a huge wooden building now in decay. There are many interesting historical buildings on the island like Aya Yorgi Church and Monastery dating back to the sixth century. Also, the Ayios Dimitrios Church. And the Hamidiye Mosque built by Abdul Hamid II, and many more.
Surely, we shouldn’t forget about the monastery of Aya Yorgi (St. George), which lies on the island’s highest peak. Every year on 23 April thousands of pilgrims of all faiths journey from Turkey, Greece, the Balkans and even Russia. A legend says about the foundation of the monastery. It says of a shepherd who, tending his flock on the summit, where the monastery stands now, went to sleep one hot afternoon. Then he had a dream. In his dream he got the advice to dig in a certain place which was close to where he was lying and “he would hear of something to his advantage.”
Beautiful white horse
The shepherd did what he was told and he found a man on a beautiful white horse with bells hung round the animal’s neck. The man ordered the sleeping shepherd to carry on digging. Doing so, the shepherd before longer found an old picture which represented exactly the man on the white horse. The moment the shepherd, who previously was quite an imbecile, touched the picture he became extraordinarily knowledgeable. That picture represented St. George…
Not a legend, though, are the mansions (kosks) and the comfortable villas (konaks) which the colourful population of the island built during the Ottoman period. Not a legend is the sightseeing tour Ephesus that we also offer.
A lot more we can say about the biggest island – Buyukada. This is an island from the Princes’ Islands group of nine islands. It is in the Sea of Marmara, only an hour and a half away from Istanbul. Just like a lot we can say about Istanbul and an Istanbul city tour (walking tour Istanbul) can be the beginning. But I leave this to you, adventurers – to explore Buyukada! To get lost in its mysteries! Let the island amaze you with its beauty! You would certainly be thrilled by the atmosphere on the island, the amazing old buildings and much more. Istanbul private tours can be the key to that. Contact me and we can discuss details about the tour.
Unfortunately, for us and the tourists, but not for the horses, all the traditional horse-drawn phaetons have been banned with the order of the municipality of Istanbul on 14 June 2020. After a deadly illness among the horses, all of them have been bought by the municipality and retired. Phaetons have been replaced with electric cars.