Summer YILDIZ Park Tour

This post contains images from one of the walking tours that I have learned to make from our flat on the European side of Istanbul.

When the Covid-19 pandemic got going, and there was nowhere in particular to go, I would wander aimlessly, just for the exercise. Then I figured out that, in about two hours, I could walk down to Ortaköy (“Middle Village,” Μεσαχώριον) by one route, coming back by another. I could also pass through the wall around the garden of one of the Ottoman sultans, then exit by another.

The particular route below takes in as much greenery as possible, including several named parks:

Ihlamur Parkı is different from the nearby Ihlamur Kasırları, “Linden Pavilions.” Though it contains two Ottoman stelae, the park does not seem to have a name posted on the ground; its name on the list above links to the Twitter account of a group formed to resist its being built over.

Ayşe and I walked the route below, Sunday morning, August 2, 2021, during a heat wave.

Down into the valley

Often when I go out, in the bin here I drop a bottle that contained milk, wine, or whisky. I don’t know what use is made of the glass. Free-lance scavengers fill enormous bags with some discards, particularly paper and plastic, but they do not want glass. Evidently the municipality will collect it, so I provide ours. Other bins here are for packaging and old clothes.

When I put jars with lids in a bag on the sidewalk, somebody seems to take them.

This is the steepest way down into the valley of what was once Linden Stream, now paved over.

I think renovations on the big building here have been going on since we moved to Istanbul in 2011. I don’t know who wants a black building, but there it is, accessible from the exclusive neighborhood of Nişantaşı, up on the hill.

Maybe this children’s park has a name, but I haven’t learned it.

There’s a high-rise residential complex and shopping center here, out of the picture on the left.

Azerbaycan Dostluk Parkı

We are heading towards Beşiktaş, with Linden Pavilions on the right of the road, Azerbaijan Friendship Park on the left.

We are about to cross over into World Peace Park.

Dünya Barış Parkı

When the park was renovated recently, this arcade was added, but I see no signs of training vines to cover it.

I am at the top of the second flight of stairs, looking back; Ayşe is coming up. There is an Alevi cemevi off to my left.

Now we cross to the green area, part of which is fenced off as the next park.

Ihlamur Parkı

There is space for homeless encampments, off to the left.

It’s good to see a couple of people sitting in the park. Soon it will be in full sun. I have no idea what words are graven in Ottoman script on the two stelae. It would be good if they described the beautiful view.

Beşiktaş

There’s a wider parallel street, but it gets the car traffic.

Now we are going up to that street.

Yahya Kemal Parkı

The park named for Yahya Kemal is on the other side of Barbaros Boulevard (bulvar), which we are going to go down and cross. The minaret of Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque rises above the trees.

The boulevard heads down to the sea.

We are not yet actually headed to the sea though.

That’s me.

A bit of the Sea of Marmara is visible above the trees, but again we are not headed that way yet.

Environs of Yıldız

There are not normally many cars or people on this road, only minibusses and their drivers, waiting out the work day till it’s time to take people home. But there is a high school here too, and this Sunday morning it is the site of a civil service exam.

I don’t know who is allowed to drive through the gate here, but it is guarded by the military. Pedestrians pass freely.

The wall of the Yıldız complex is on the left as finally we head down towards the sea. Civilian access to the park is from the shore road. The neighborhood on the right is Serencebey, which, thanks particularly to the gate that we just passed through, does not get much traffic. When Ayşe and I were going to move to Istanbul, we looked at a few flats here, but they were too small and cramped in our price range. I suppose you pay a premium to be in Beşiktaş.

Yours truly, daring to take his mask off.

Ayşe ahead.

You cannot normally see the Bosphorus from the shore road, because of installations like Çırağan Palace here.

Overhead was a way for the Ottoman elite to pass between Çırağan Palace and Yıldız Park without mixing with the commoners.

Yıldız Parkı

We could get into the park without going to the main gate, which provides car access; for we found a small gate open into the park’s formal gardens. Normally (in my experience) it is locked.

It’s odd to find gulls on the ground. They have a hard time taking off, and they know it, so they are wary of being caught. They also cannot perch. Back in Azerbaijan Friendship Park, we saw a cat chase a gull, which ran and flapped its wings, but did not really leave the ground.

The gulls have found that humans can leave edibles on the ground. These birds are almost like pigeons for having learned to thrive among humans.

It’s common for wedding photos to be taken in the park.

We have crossed over to the northern wall of the park, on the other side from Serencebey. This gate is where cars can get out.

Return home

We are looking down on the highway that leads to Barbaros Boulevard.

In the other direction, the highway leads to Otoyol 1, the First Beltway, which crosses to Asia on the Bosphorus Bridge (renamed 15 July Martyrs Bridge after the 2016 failed coup attempt on that date). More walking routes between our flat and Ortaköy are down that way.

We are back on the Boulevard, higher up, again looking down to the Bosphorus.

We are headed in the other direction though.

There are places where the city has grown up around peasant houses, and we are about to skirt one of those places.

The “PEEP” was painted since I last passed through here a few days ago.

We’ve got twenty minutes left to walk, but nothing really park-like by this route. There could have been, if an abandoned athletic field had not been taken over by the skyscrapers of the Torun Center.

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