Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Another off-the-beaten path and not very much visited by tourists who crammed the historical  Sultanahmet district in Istanbul is located in the Anatolian side of the city-in-two-continents.

As referred to in history, Istanbul was built on seven hills, this is one of them and the highest point of the city commanding a great view over the horizon and the bosphorous – the Camlica Hill.

Some tourists may find it far-flung from the city center or probably further off the popular tourist spots but it isn’t difficult at all to reach the place.  All it takes is one bus ride from Taksim Square and less than a kilometer of walk.  Probably, the walking made it sound a bit of a task for leisure visitors.  Then again, this is Istanbul, walking is the way to enjoy the city and all the streets are in slopes.

I took bus no. 129T at the bus terminal in Taksim Square, I’m not even sure if it goes directly to the hill but it’s worth a shot.  The bus driver wasn't helpful at all, he told me the bus isn’t going to Camlica but I still boarded, I have figured this location out from google map, I’m pretty sure this bus will pass by there or at least around the area.  What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen anyway, walk a mile?  I’m used to walking and getting lost, it adds to the adventure, in fact, I enjoyed the getting lost part at times.  I could easily hail a taxi, though I don’t prefer this mode of transport, it’s costly for a traveler’s budget.

Uphill walk to Camlica Hill.

I should have gotten off Turistik Camlica bus stop but I missed it so I went off at  Alemdag Caddesi, it’s one stop back.  The walk is uphill so a little challenge for some people, a little less than a kilometer up to the entrance of Buyuk Camlica Hill Park.

Camlica Hill is divided into Buyuk and Kucuk (big and small), but why would I opt for the small when I could go for the big?

Camlica Hill is a huge hilltop park with all the edges having a view of the city - the glistening waterways of the bosphorous, the historic peninsula, the long suspension bridge that connects the two continents, Princess Island, red-roofed houses and the skyline of the business district with its tall modern structures.  Sunset would be amazing here.

There is a picnic grove complete with wooden tables beneath lofty trees, having a barbecue and a children playground, flying kites, running around the green grassy lawns.  There are restaurants cafes, and tea gardens around the area.  

View deck overlooking the city.

Tall antenna towers.

Çam is translated as "pine" is Turkish language from where it got its name and aptly as the hill park is covered with many pine trees.  

Wilhelm II, the german emperor requested Sultan Abdulhamid II to build a monument here but was refused by the sultan due to the presence of the tomb of Ivaz Fakih who was revered by the Turks.  That monument – the German Fountain - ended up at the old hippodrome in Sultanahmet Square as a gift from the german emperor to the sultan.

Rising more than 260 meters above sea level, most of the television and radio antenna towers were built here.

With beautiful green rolling hills and a superb panorama of the bosphorous and the city’s skyline, it’s a favorite location for post-nuptial photography, in fact, I’ve spotted two couples on their wedding attires.
Another couple on their post-nuptial photography.

Like the Yildiz Park, this hilltop park is a place to seize some moments of relief from the hectic city life, take in the sights, smell the pines, breath of fresh air.  It's a good thing it isn’t the weekend yet otherwise it will be packed with picnicking families.

If you happen to be in the city during spring, this hill is bursting is colors with tulips planted for the annual Istanbul Tulip Festival.

It’s a public park so Entry is Free.

If you’re taking the ferry to Kadikoy, you may also get on the bus no. 14F and get off at Camlica or a ferry to Uskudar and get on bus no. 9UD.

Address: Buyuk Camlica, Uskudar, Istanbul, Turkey