Uskdar is a popular residential and commercial district on the Asian side. Friendly, cheap and home to many restaurants, cafes, markets, antique shops, mosques and historical sites, this seaside suburb has a lot to offer.
The central business district, which lies adjacent to the harbor, is known for its reasonably priced clothing and shoe stores as well as its many antique shops which are scattered along Buyuk Hamam Sokak (Big Hamam Street). It’s also worth paying a visit to the Mimar Sinan Carsisi - a former 16th century hamam which has been converted into a bustling market.
Many come to Uskudar for its mosques; and with around 180 of them, it’s not hard to see why. One of the more well known of these mosques is the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, also known as the Iskele Mosque. Built in 1548 by Ottoman architect Sinan, this beautiful mosque stands opposite the ferry terminals. Nearby is the Semsi Pasa Mosque (1580), another of Sinan’s master works. The oldest in the area is the Rumi Mehmet Pasa Mosque, which was constructed in 1471 for the grand vizier at the time. Uskudar is also home to several synagogues and Greek and Armenian churches, including the striking Surp Krikor Lusavoric (Saint Gregory the Illuminator) Armenian Church.
For a bout of relaxation, head to one of Uskudar’s hamams. Cinili Hamam, in particular, is one of the best value bathhouses in Istanbul. This historic hamam, which dates to 1640, is favoured by locals and expats.
One of Istanbul’s most well known landmarks - the Maiden’s Tower - is situated on a tiny island off the shores of Uskudar. Catch a ferry from the central ferry docks. Other popular sites in the area include the Florence Nightingale Museum, dedicated to the Lady of the Lamp; the pretty Beylerbeyi Palace, which lies to the west along the Bosphorus; and Camlica Hill, where the best views of the city can be enjoyed from.
Uskudar has many good quality cafes, restaurants and tea gardens. The promenade which stretches from the harbour to Harem is an especially popular place to enjoy a steaming tea or fresh fish, while the central shopping area also boasts some good hang outs.
Uskudar is one of the more conservative neighborhoods in Istanbul and so has few bars.
It is also a central transport hub; ferries, buses, trains and dolmuses depart regularly from the suburban centre to European and Anatolian destinations. Istanbul’s main bus and coach station on the Asian side - ‘Harem Bus Station’ is located here, and Uskudar is also within easy reach of Haydarpasa Railway Station.