Saturday, November 08, 2008

My City Secret @ Cengelkoy


Seaside mansions..

A cleaning day..

Old houses..

Kuleli Military Highschool..

Only women? A traditional (silk) quilter..

A 800-year-old plane tree..

A wooden mosque's minaret..

It is about a small pretty lovely coastal town inside the City of Two Continents, Istanbul: Cengelköy. T
his 'virtual gateway' almost in the heart of the great metropolis -see below- always preserves its unique sense of tranquility against in defiance of the City's hustle and bustle.

One of the oldest and nicest residential districts on the Asian shore of the City, where I reside. It is where also opens the secret of the life bringing peace and relax to my soul. For that, it's one of my most loved secret spots in the City...

As known for its delicious and famous cucumbers but has far still more interesting things to offer. Especially two-famous-orangeys make a gorgeous combination with the deep blue of Bosphorus... They are:

Ah.. the taste of Turkish tea that I love sipping against a backdrop of sunset between two towers of the Bosphorus Bridge..

Watching the dance of the coloured bridge illumination and the lights in the Bosphorus hills.. Incomparable beauty!!! Oh, one has to live in.

Even these two simple but lovely delights are enough that make me forget the urban rat race and become hopelessly bound to this City forever:)

While sipping my tea under the giant plane tree, my attention is suddenly caught by the curve of the cove which really does resemble a hook. Cengel is the Turkish for 'hook'. Cengelkoy can be translated as 'Town of hook'.

Oh lets ring bell about rumors.. One of them has it that the name derives from some Byzantine ship's anchors that were found along these shores after the conquest of Istanbul. Another one has it that Cengeloglu Tahir Pasha, an Ottoman Admiral lived here and had a mosque built for the village which in time it came to be known by his name.

As I savor the Bosphorus view, I just can't stop myself imaging how chic, well-groomed ladies and gentlemen sip their teas as they wait for the boat... who knows.. Maybe it was the same as in the Tulip Era but with imperial caiques instead of speedboats in this favorite quarter of the sultans. The history books tell me that for centuries the Ottoman Sultans and grand viziers were enamored of the natural beauty of this spot. This is so true, so...

Ending my day at Cengelkoy but I overhear a conversation among some fishermen mending their nets in the boats moored at the shore. ''We are going to all this trouble for nothing.'' Shot back another: ''There's nothing like catching a fish in the net.'' Fishermen were chatting back and forth between their boats, and sure that I enjoy a lot listening some real (fish) chat other than chat online;)

So the sun goes down, the bridges light come on...

Earlier in the day I had bought some 'famous Cengelkoy cucumbers', as a souvenir;) I wash them at the historic fountain and eat a few savoring their refreshing juicy taste, how delicious and fresh they are.

Now. It's not such a secret place Cengelkoy. No more a secret about cucumbers;)

Article about Manhattan by Elizabeth of About New York inspired me to be a part of the chain of 'My City Secret'.

Benji Lanyado, the columnist of The Guardian's Travel Blog aims to share the insider knowledge to your city across the blogs: to tell about a hidden place in a city, maybe a café, or a park, a gallery, or a bar, preferably in your city.

What is essential is to make things visible to our eyes talking unspoken beauties and recognizing the silent things from our world on our pages.

If we are on this space,

If it's about to share and spread the love,

Why waiting to be tagged

As I listen Benji,

Take the initiative by myself.

You can.

UPDATE: As requested by Benji, to carry on the chain I tagged Mélanie of Le Petit Cabinet de Curiosités in Provence (France) to share with us her city secret.


  1. Oh, how I wish I could fly to Turkey right now. And I remember Turkish tea! This was a wonderful journey and I am going back to read it all again!!

  2. Your city is truly beautiful! I so enjoyed the tour you gave here on your blog! Thanks for sharing your *city secrets*.

  3. I really enjoyed this post. Very good photo's. Somehow I am surprised by the athmosphere, it makes a more "European" impression than I expected. I have never been in Turkey, but this looks very much like France, but sunnier!

  4. Hi Nihal...this is Benji from the original Guardian post.

    Great "secret"...exactly the kind of thing we were looking for. I was recently in Istanbul and had a superb meal on the Arnavutköy in a restaurant called you know it?

    Also, how about tagging someone that we can keep the chain going?

  5. @ Benji: Glad to see you here:) Thanks for your kind comments about my article.
    Been to here? So cool:)
    Abracadabra? Yeap, I know. You made a perfect choice going there! It's set in a beautifully restored, four-storey wooden waterside maison in Arnavutkoy that's to be called City's mini-Venice with its small canal. I love it there. At the same time eating and viewing from the restaurant overlooking Bosphorus, connecting the East to the West is to die for, no?

    Menu also great there, so creative than usual. Did you try for raw 'meatballs' made with salmon?

    To carry on the chain, I am going to ask Mélanie of Le Petit Cabinet de Curiosités in Provence, France.

    Hope she let it continue at hers:)

  6. Great pictures!!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Thank you for the tag , NIHAL ! It has been a long time since I've stopped by your fantasdtic blog ! Everytime I come here I want to come back to Istanbul , it reminds me how beautiful it is and The kindness of the Istanbul poeple !
    I will answer to your tag , this week end I think so I will have to take pictures

  8. I wrote my post about my little secret....