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Bakirkoy and Atakoy Istanbul

Bakirkoy and Atakoy Istanbul
The Bakirkoy and Atakoy suburbs are part of the new Istanbul and tend to be bypassed on-route to and from the airport but these neighbourhoods are well worth a visit.

History

Bakırköy was given this name in 1925 after the Turkish reformation and actually means “Copper Village” but its original name was Makriköy which is a corruption of the “Greek Makrohori” that meant “a far place”. This area was originally a separate settlement called Hebdomon, and was exactly 11 kilometres outside of the city walls being measured from the “Million Marker” found on Sultanahmet .


It is where Emperor Valens built his seaside palace, and until 474, where all new emperors were crowned before they ceremoniously paraded into  Istanbul along the  Via Egnatia , and after 474 they were crowned at  Hagia Sophia . The Campus Martius (Field of Mars), a huge military training ground, was established here and named after its counterpart in Rome. The land walls were built using limestone believed to be quarried from Makrohori which had also been used to build the  Suleymaniye Mosque .  

In the 19th century the neighbourhood became a middle-classed residential area because of the construction of the new railway and overtime has become more urbanised and crowded, and the once grand monuments of its heyday are now replaced with many chain stores. 

Places to Visit in Bakirkoy and Atakoy

Open-air Reservoir

Here you will see the city’s most westerly open-air reservoir, which is one of four built in Istanbul, and dates back to the Byzantine era.

Atakoy Yacht Marina

There is also the delightful Atakoy Marina which is on the Sea of Marmara and has lovely surrounding areas.

Wooden and Stone Houses

There are some interesting sights to see on the network of streets south of the suburban train station; impressive wooden and stone houses on  Istanbul Road, Heyvet Street, Yurt Sahibi Street and Hazırlık Street; the 19th century stone built Taş Okul primary school that was unfortunately burnt out by a fire.

Armenian Church of Surp Asdavadzadzin

Ebuzziya Road near the harbour has the Armenian Church of Surp Asdavadzadzin, a 19th century building with a large schoolhouse attached that dates from 1844.

Greek Ortodox Church

Directly across the road is an old Greek Orthodox church that has a surviving old Greek primary school building which are reminders of a time when this was a more culturally diverse area.

Fildamı (Elephants’ Stables) 

Sea Pavilion (Deniz Köşkü) 

Things to do in Bakirkoy and Atakoy

Veliefendi Hippodrome

Why not take a visit to Veliefendi Hippodrome to watch the horse racing; the track is located on Ekrem Kurt Bulvarı in Bakirkoy . This is Turkey’s oldest and largest horse racing stadium, it was designed in 1922 by Vedat Tek and paid for by Sir Loftus Banks, a man who already owned a similar stadium in Scotland. It has two tracks, the largest of which is 2,400 metres, seats 7,600 spectators and also has a small museum and a picnic area. The Gazi Derby, the stadium’s most important race, is held here every year on June 28. Also you could take in a theatrical performance at the Yunus Emre Cultural Centre on Hanımeli Sokak (Tel. 0212 661 3894) that is housed in a restored 19th century gunpowder factory.

Art Gallery

There is an art gallery housed within a French school that was built in 1908 and is located on Reyhan Street.

Getting to Bakirkoy and Atakoy

Using public transport to reach these areas can be somewhat confusing as Bakirkoy Metro stop is not actually near any of the places of interest. The centre (“Meydan”) of Bakırköy is easily reached by using the suburban train service to Bakirkoy station. To go to Fildami you need to alight at Yenimahalle and the Yunus Emre Cultural Centre is near the Atakoy - Sirinevler Metro stop.   

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