Princes’ Islands

The most famous of all the beauty spots nearby o Istanbul in the sea  of Marmara are the Princes Islands, a little suburban archipelago just off the Asia coast of the Marmara. The islands are about an hour’s sail by ferry from Sirkeci. It is only in the last hundred years or so that the Princes Islands have become fashionable as resorts and places to bathe and picnic. Before that they were sparsely inhabited and rarely visited. But their picturesque and historical associations appealed to the romantic imagination of the nineteenth century. The nine islands are situated between 20 and 30 kilometers south of Istanbul in the Marmara Sea. It is a rather anovel fact that there are no cars on the islands, people have to use horse drawn carriages as the only means of transport. Walking through well-kept gardens and parks, the visitor will be fascinated by the charm of the flora and vegetation and will be an excursion not to be forgotten. A Latin inscription on a tomb stone on the island of Burgaz proves that before Constantin a great number of Roman pagan temples were founded here. The first of the islands is called Kinaliada where sunbathers can find lovely pebble beaches which are ideal for swimming. Of the former two Byzantine monasteries only some remnants of brickwork are still visible. The second of the islands is Burgazada. Its highest elevation rises 165 meters above sea level. There are excellent possibilities for water sports on this island and for people who enjoy walking there are endless beautiful footpaths. The third island is Heybeliada (saddle bag island) on which the Turkish naval academy is situated. Until 1970 this island was also the residence of the theological seminary of the Orthodox Church.  The fourth island and the largest of the Princes Islands is Buyukada. A visit to Buyukada is particularly recommended because the island is a paradise of pleasure. Splendid villas, in well-kept gardens, restaurants, hotels, clubs and recreation facilities attract more and more visitors every year. You can explore the island on foot, by horse and carriage, or for those more energetic and adventurous, you can ride a donkey or rent a bicycle.