Belgrade Forest Istanbul
West of Sariyer and in the Istranca hills is Belgrade Forest (Belgrad Ormanları) once the hunting grounds of the Ottomans, this pine, oak and beech forest is now a very popular haven away from the city.
During the 17th century the forest attracted foreigners from the city’s community who sought refuge from a nasty disease that was killing half of Istanbul and for the next 100 years wealthy Christians made their second homes there. The village was evacuated in the 1890s by Abdül Hamid II as he believed the residents were polluting the water system into the city.
Picnic AreaAt the Büyük Bend reservoir, a 1.5km walk from the village of Bahcekoy, in the forest here is a large picnic area with a tea-garden, gymnastic equipment in the trees for joggers and athletes and a first aid stand.
Old ReservoirsThe sophisticated system of dams, reservoirs, water towers and aqueducts that once supplied most of the fresh water to Istanbul during the Byzantine and Ottoman times is still visible around the forest.
Long AqueductThe Long Aqueduct (or Uzun) a 1km walk south of Büyük Bend is the most impressive with tiers of tall pointed arches and was built in 1521 by Mimar Sinan for Suleyman the Magnificent .
Belgrade VillageAlso close to the reservoir are the remains of Belgrade Village so called after the capture of Belgrade in 1521 and a community of Serbian prisoners of war taken by Suleyman were settled there to maintain the water supply system.
LocationBelgrade Forest is located in Sariyer .
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