Kanlica, one of Istanbul’s historic neighborhoods, is nestled between Anadoluhisari and Çubuklu on the Bosphorus, and it’s known for its yogurt and its peaceful, green spaces.
Kanlica is one of the most significant neighborhoods in Istanbul, but its very identity has been the subject of much speculation. One of them claims that back in the day, locals here made kagni (or “ox carts”), so the area got the name “Kagnica,” while in the 17th century and afterward, it was known as “Kanlicak.” Another urban legend has it that Kanlica got its name because the milk and yogurt produced from animals fed on grass grown in the area were said to have a “pale blood color,” hence the name “Kanli” (“Bloody”).
Another urban legend has it that the Sultan of Istanbul commissioned a study to determine which part of the city had the lowest crime rate. An old belief in Central Asia held that a place was only considered to have clean air if the meat hung from the poles was spoiled by the end of the year. Since the meat had been most recently tainted in Kanlica, Sultan’s order was implemented based on this tradition. Therefore, “Kanlica” is said to be the rumored name of the area.
Take a bus from Üsküdar or a ferry from the City Line and get off at Kanlica Quay to explore the neighborhood. A square lined with plane trees welcomes you as you exit the station at Kanlica Quay.
This is the plaza that houses the Mimar Sinan–designed Gazi İskender Pasha Mosque in Istanbul. Using a transverse rectangular plan, the mosque was constructed in 1559 out of brick and timber masonry. The mosque’s facades feature double-story windows in the traditional Ottoman style. The Gazi İskender Pasha Tomb, constructed in 1571 just outside the mosque, is off-limits to visitors.
You can also find spots serving the district’s namesake, “Kanlica Yoghurt,” in the square. Kanlica yogurt’s most notable qualities are its natural ingredients, the use of buffalo milk, and the fact that the animals that produce the milk are fed in their natural environment. It is documented that during the Ottoman era, Kanlica yogurt was served in slices cut with a knife. Kanlica yogurt also has the distinctive feature of being eaten with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Kanlica’s many alleys, cafes, and coastal paths make it an ideal location for a variety of outdoor pursuits. There are quaint shops and historic wooden buildings to be found down many of Kanlica’s alleyways. The path to Mihrabat Grove leads uphill from here.
The Yalis (private Bosphorus mansions)
Magnificent Ottoman seaside mansions, both new and old, dot the shores of Kanlica. Of course, the best way to see these yalis is from the water, so a trip across the Bosphorus on a ferry or a cruise ship is highly recommended. I’ve taken strolls along this road, and due to the tall fences, I can’t even look at the houses, much less get a good look at them. You’ll have the best views of these one-of-a-kind residences as the ferry draws near to the dock.
Yagci Sefik Bey Yalisi
The Yagci Sefik Bey Mansion (Yagci Sefik Bey Yalisi), located just north of the pier, is one of the most eye-catching seaside mansions. A trader and Ottoman citizen, Yagci Sefik Bey (1915), erected it. The original Cemile Sultan Mansion (Cemile Sultan Yalisi) stood on the site until it was destroyed by fire in 1871. Cemile Sultan (1843–1915), daughter of Sultan Abdülmecid I, owned it. The mannequins on the mansion’s fence at the Bosphorus make it easy to spot.
The Mihrabat Grove
During the reign of grand vizier Nevsehirli Damat Ibrahim Pasha, Sultan Ahmed III had the Ahmed Mihrabad Palace constructed, and the Mihrabat Grove on Kanlica Hill was subsequently named after it. Back behind Kanlica, you’ll find Mihrabat Grove, where you can stroll along pine-lined paths while taking in the sights of the Bosphorus and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.
Mihrabat Grove is not only a great place to take pictures of Istanbul but also to eat, relax, and let the kids run around and have some fun.
You can get back to Kanlica Coast by descending the road from Mihrabat Grove. From here, you can head to Üsküdar or Beykoz, or explore the Khedive Grove and the Khedive Palace.
Q: What is Kanlica?
A: Kanlica is a neighborhood in Istanbul, Turkey, known for its production of traditional Turkish yogurt.
Q: Where is Kanlica located?
A: Kanlica is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, near the Bosphorus Strait.
Q: What is the history of Kanlica?
A: Kanlica has a long history of dairy production dating back to the Ottoman era.
Q: What is the main attraction in Kanlica?
A: The main attraction in Kanlica is the production of traditional Turkish yogurt, which is known for its rich flavor and high quality.
Q: How can one visit Kanlica?
A: One can visit Kanlica by taking a ferry from Istanbul to the Asian side and then a taxi or bus to the neighborhood.
Q: What is the best time to visit Kanlica?
A: The best time to visit Kanlica is during the spring or autumn when the weather is mild and the days are pleasant.
Q: What is transportation like in Kanlica?
A: Kanlica is well-connected by public transportation, including buses and taxis.
Q: Is Kanlica a safe place to visit?
A: Yes, Kanlica is generally considered a safe place to visit, but as with any large city, visitors should take precautions to ensure their safety.
Q: Is there a place to stay in Kanlica?
A: There are not many places to stay in Kanlica, but there are several hotels and apartments located in nearby neighborhoods.
Q: Are there any nearby attractions to Kanlica?
A: Yes, there are several nearby attractions to Kanlica, including the Bosphorus Strait, the Princes’ Islands, and the beaches of the Marmara Sea.
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Map of Kanlica