What to see in the Asian part of Istanbul

Istanbul spreads on two continents. The European part is on the Balkan Peninsula, while the Asian part belongs to the Middle East. The two parts of the city are separated by the Bosphorus Strait. In this blog post, I will focus on the Asian part of Istanbul.

Not many tourists visit the Asian part. That’s why the prices, whether for accommodation or daily necessities, are lower than on the European side. Therefore, many Turks and foreign students prefer living here. They commute to the European part for work and school.

How to get there

There are several ways how you can get to the Asian part of Istanbul:

  • By car: through the 15 Temmuz Şehitler Bridge (15 July Martyrs Bridge, also called the Bosphorus Bridge) or the Avrasya Tunnel.
  • By metro: from Sirkeci station (or another station, but you may have to change) to Uskudar station.
  • By boat: from Sirkeci to Uskudar, which runs every 20 minutes.
Istanbul ferry

Fountain of Ahmed III

The fountain is in front of the entrance to the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque. This fountain was also built by Sultan Ahmed III under his artistic name. It was built in 1728. All four sides of the fountain are decorated with poems. Some of them were written by the Sultan himself.

Fountain of Ahmed III
Fountain of Ahmed III

Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

The Mihrimah Sultan Mosque (Turkish: Mihrimah Sultan Camii) is right across from the ferry terminal. The mosque with the same name is also on the European part. Suleiman’s daughter, Mihrimah, commissioned the construction of the famous architect Mimar Sinan, who completed it in 1548.

The Mihrimah Sultan Mosque
The Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

Mihrimah was not satisfied with the mosque because the interior of the mosque was very dark, and it was difficult for the sun’s rays to light the inside of the mosque. Therefore, Mihrimah commissioned Mimar Sinan to build a better mosque with the same name on the European part.

Yeni Valide Mosque

Yeni Valide Mosque (Turkish: Yeni Valide Camii), or New Queen Mother’s Mosque, was completed in 1710. It was the last classical Ottoman mosque. It was built for Sultan Ahmed III in honour of his mother.

The Mihrimah Sultan Mosque
The Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

Many mosques were built by mothers or daughters of the Sultan. Women could not work or invest, so they devoted themselves to charity. In addition, they had nowhere to spend the money, so they commissioned and financed the construction of mosques.

Market, picturesque streets and cafes

Many shops and cafes are in the area behind the Yeni Valide Mosque. Prices are lower than in the European part. This area can be chaotic and full of people haggling over prices. It is a great place to enjoy the local atmosphere. Sit down, have a cup of Turkish coffee or tea and watch the bustling streets.


Promenade with fishermen

Fishing has become popular throughout Istanbul. Apparently, it is not only a great hobby, but people also save money on food. What they catch, they then have for dinner or lunch.

Istanbul promenade
Istanbul promenade

You should be careful when walking behind the fishermen, as they do not look behind them when they throw the bait into the water.

President’s house

I found the president’s house by accident on my way to the tallest building in the Asian part – Camlica Kulesi. It was the only house on the street surrounded by a group of journalists and cameramen. Turks had the second round of presidential elections on this day. Journalists have been standing here since morning, trying to get the best possible place to get a good view of the house. They had no doubt that he would win this round of election and become the president again.

President's house
President’s house

One of the journalists revealed that there are a large number of not only police officers in the area but also secret agents overseeing security.

Camlica Kulesi Tower

I saw this tower during a boat trip on the Bosphorus. It is difficult to miss them, as it is the tallest building on the Asian side.

I took the M5 metro from Uskudar to the Kısıklı station. From there, I walked through the Kucuk Camlica Koskleri Park. It was a beautiful park with many paths. One of the paths led to the Camlica Kulesi tower. The trip took about 20 minutes.

Before entering the premises, I had to go through a security check. No food and drinks were allowed inside.

Camlica Kulesi Tower
Camlica Kulesi Tower

The entrance fee to the tower was a bit higher – 450 lira for tourists (around €15) and 350 lira for locals. Because of the bad weather, I contemplated going up the tower. One of the employees tried to talk me out of it. He argued that the ticket was expensive and I won’t see anything because the weather was awful. He pointed to the screen behind the cashier, where the outdoor camera was streaming the views. Indeed, I could only see grey fog.

On a good sunny day, the view is wonderful, and one can see the whole of Istanbul.

Camlica Hill

Camlica Hill is a fantastic place to have a beautiful view of Istanbul. It is not as high (only 265 meters above sea level) as the Camlica Kulesi Tower but entirely free. Just take the metro to the Kisikli station and walk for about 20 minutes. I couldn’t go there because of the bad weather.


The Asian part of Istanbul has much to offer, whether it is the historic part where you can admire the Ottoman buildings or the fantastic view from the Camlica Hill or Camlica Kulesi Tower. Make sure you pick a lovely sunny day for your trip to the Asian part. 

Have you visited the Asian part of Istanbul? What did you enjoy the most?

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