Burgazada Island Istanbul
The island has an area of 1.5 square metres (5 square miles) is small enough not to need motorised vehicles and has phaeton’s (open, four-wheeled, door-less carriages) that are used as taxis and only needed to reach the more remote restaurants.
Burgazada’s name is a corruption of the Greek word “pyrgos” which means a tower, referring to a watchtower that once stood on top of the island’s sole hill, Bayraktepe (Flag Hill) 170m (558ft), which was written about in the 17th century by Evilya Celebi the travel writer, and drawn by the Italian traveller, Cosimo Comidas. This hill is also known as Hristos Tepesi (Hill of Christ).
Many of the best houses are to be seen on the streets of Gezinti, Gönüllü and Mehtap and when exploring the back streets look out for a 600 year old plane tree that has been hollowed out. The small island of Kasikadasi ( Spoon Island ) can be seen just offshore from here.
Places to Visit in Burgazada
Sait Faik MuseumThis museum is housed in the charming wooden Spanudis Mansion and was for 20 years the home of the writer Sait Faik Aabasıyanık (1906-1954) who had the nickname “Adalı (the Island Dweller). He was famous for writing short stories, many of which were set on the island usually about the fishermen and other ordinary people. There is a small bust of the writer at the ferry terminal.
Churches of Burgazada
Church of Ioannes ProdromosThe most obvious church, although not particularly beautiful, can be seen towering
Roman Catholic Church of St. GeorgeThe Roman Catholic Church of St. George was founded on Burgazada in 1938 by the residents of the Austrian School of Galata so that they could continue with their church services during their summer holidays.
Monasteries of BurgazadaThere are two monasteries on the island and these 19th century buildings cover a much longer history.
Monastery of Hagios Georgios GaripiThe Monastery of Hagios Georgios Garipi is Greek Orthodox and dates back to the Byzantine period, although the first reference to it was in the late 17th century. It was linked with the monastery of Megalo Spelaoi at Kalavryta in Greece and in 1859 a monk from there added the dormitory that you see today. It is not known why it is called Garipi and is suggested it comes from an Arabic word meaning “poor” while others say it refers to a well that is in the grounds. The White Russians used it as a refuge in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and although the building has a Byzantine style it only dates from 1897. There are frescoes inside the entrance of St. George and the Annunciation, and inside the church has some very beautiful iconostasis. The building underwent restoration works in 2005 after being damaged by earthquake in 1999 and it opens for visitors from 10:00 to 16:00.
Monastery of the TransfigurationThe Monastery of the Transfiguration is believed to have been established between the 9th and 11th centuries on the site of an ancient Greek temple at the top of the Hill of Christ. The 19th century church that you see today is surrounded by Byzantine stone that includes some excellent carved capitals and are an indication to its origins. The Feast of the Transfiguration is celebrated here every year on August 6.
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