Ortakoy means “Middle Village” although it is unknown what it is supposed to be in the middle of and dates back to the Byzantine era when it had several monasteries; by the 17th century the population was an eclectic mix of Jews, Greeks and Muslims all happily living together.
The village back then had a reputation of a being a lively place for nightlife entertainment with its many taverns and today this lives on as in the summer evenings the traffic around Ortaköy and the coast road becomes a nightmare with the upmarket clubbers heading for Reina, Sortie and other popular evening venues.
During the day the main focus is on the waterside square which is overlooked by old houses that are now cafés and restaurants and has a beautiful 18th century fountain that was erected by Damat Ibrahim Pasa, son-in-law and Grand Vizier to Sultan Ahmed III (1713-1730).
Places to Visit in Ortakoy
Ortakoy Hamam or Turkish Bath
Churches and Synagogues in Ortakoy
Greek Orthodox Church of Hagios FokasThe vast Greek Orthodox Church of Hagios Fokas is easily missed as it is sits behind a stretch of shops. It only dates from 1856 but a Byzantine church with the same dedication gave its name to the area. There is a small belfry hanging above the gate that will lead you into the courtyard from the main road.
Etz Ahayim (Tree of Life) SynagogueNearby is the Etz Ahayim (Tree of Life) synagogue which originally dates from the 14th century, although what you see today is from 1813 and 1941 as many fires have happened here. The congregation swelled considerably at the beginning of the 17th century after they moved from the Grand Bazaar because of a yet another fire.
Armenian Church of Surp LusavoriçThe Armenian Church of Surp Lusavoriç built in 1839 can be found on Dereboyu Caddesi.
Shopping in OrtakoyVisit the handcrafts fair in Ortakoy on Sundays that is in the streets behind the harbour and is a super place to buy handmade jewellery, unique handbags, all manner of hats and second-hand books.
Ortakoy RestaurantsOrtakoy is famous for kumpir which are huge hot baked potatoes that come with a large variety of toppings that you get to choose from and you can buy them from stalls at the back of Hagios Fokas church.
Getting to OrtakoyThere are many buses that go along the coast towards Sariyer from Kabatas or Besiktas but note that in the evenings and especially at weekends the main road around Ortaköy is notorious for jamming up and almost comes to a stand-still.
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Turkish Food Recipes
Fried Calamari - Seafood Mezes
Pounded Meat - Wheat Dish or Keskek - Red Meat Courses
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Tea Time Pastry
Cigarette Borek - Pastries
Tea Time Pastry
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