In Uskudar (a corruption of the Byzantine city of Scutari) you will find many proofs of its religious conservatism. This is especially noticeable in the clothes worn by the locals. The area has long been the center of various mystical Muslim sects, and recently many people come here from the Islamic areas of Anatolia. However, here outsiders feel more comfortable than, for example, in the same conservative district of Istanbul like Fatih. You can atten to an Istanbul Tour to explore Uskudar.
To get to Uskudar, take the ferry to Eminem or Besiktas or the bus or dolmus No. 12 or No. 14 from Kadikoy. The main square of Uskudar on the embankment is a huge bus station. From the mosque located here on the street, Pasha Liman Street Iskele buses go along the shore of the Bosphorus to Anadolu Kavaya and the black sea resorts of Aiva and Syle.
Popular sights of Uskudar
Modern Uskudar and its suburbs have some wonderful Imperial mosques, but it is better known as a shopping center famous for street stalls with fresh produce, especially vegetables and fish, and family shops with an unimaginable variety of Anatolian cheeses. At the flea market on the street of the Büyük Hamam Sokak sell old furniture and carpet. There are also shops with quite decent prices for jewelry and clothing. On the waterfront, there are several decent cafes and bars with stunning views of Istanbul and the Topkapi Palace.
The most notable mosque of Uskudar is Iskele, or Mihrimah Sultan, which is located directly opposite the ferry pier on Iskele Square. It stands on a high platform with a huge covered entrance, where old men in wicker hats sit, attentively watching everything that happens in the square and constantly complaining about the changing times. Planned by Mimar Sinan and built-in 1547-1548, it is the only mosque of the Ottoman Empire with three (rather than two or four) domes, which was caused by the construction of a building near a steep hillside.
Through the main square opposite the mosque is the Iskele Yeni Valide Camii. It’s good to be close to these two mosques during the call to prayer, when two muezzins call to each other and respond with a harsh refrain, echoing through the bus-filled square below them. Yeni walide Jami was built between 1708 and 1710 by Sultan Ahmed III in memory of his mother. This is evidenced by the green, birdcage-like tomb of walide Sultan, whose cellular roof was actually designed to contain birds under it and allow rain to irrigate the inner (now unsightly overgrown) garden. In the courtyard of the tomb, there is an attractive shadirvan (fountain for ablutions) with an elaborately decorated lattice, the pattern of which echoes the stone carving of the roof.
One of the most beautiful mosques in Uskudar is the Cinili Mosque, or Tiled mosque, Dating back to 1640. To reach it on foot, to go on Hokimiat and Millie Caddesi and then turn left into Chavoustie Caddesi. Behind the market for fresh vegetables and fruits, go up the same street and on the right, you will see a mosque. Its tiles are predominantly blue and tortoiseshell, and the mihrab is finished with rare tiles of a green hue. On the same street, just below the mosque, is the Hamam Cinili, which has preserved the massage marble table of the Central part and other areas of ancient marble coating. It is surprisingly pure Hamam, the pride of the employees working in it.
Go back in Cavustepe Street, turn left onto Repaired Hamam Sokak, and on the right you will see a mosque. Built by Mimar Sinan for Nur Banu, wife of Selim II and mother of Murat III, the mosque dates back to 1583. Its courtyard, which was built with the expectation that it will be the most beautiful in Istanbul, has been closed for restoration for several years, so the mosque can be entered only from the side entrance. The most interesting place in it is the wonderfully painted passages under the wooden galleries along the three walls of the building, as well as the mihrab decorated with Iznik tiles.
Minibusses from the main square of Uskudar, Iskele Square, go to Yumranie past Buyuk Jamlik, the highest hill of the Asian side of Istanbul. Get off at Kisikli Jami, go up Kisikli, turn right in front of Buyuk Camlica Et Lokantasi is and you will be taken to the Park. The walk will take you no more than fifteen minutes, and efforts will be rewarded with pleasant freshness and magnificent views of the Bosphorus and the European coast of Istanbul, as well as a tastefully furnished cafe on the top of the hill (open 9.00 – 00.00).