Ortakoy, which means “the village in the middle”, as it is located between European Bosphorus shore and northeast of Sultan Ahmed, is now one of the Istanbul’s popular, coolest, most artsy neighborhoods, with trendy boutiques, atmospheric cafés and bistorts, and crowds of young, sophisticated residents and visitors.
You can visit Ortakoy to have some tea or coffee, a snack or a meal, a stroll, some boutique window-shopping or a rest.
On Sundays, many local vendors come and exhibit their wares and they sell them at affordable prices. You may also bargain with them. You can find some handmade jewelry, handmade crafts and etc.
Also there are some small shops of second-hand booksellers. It is recommended you to have a closer look at these books. You may even find first-edition of some noteworthy books. There are also many books in foreign languages.
If you go to Osmanzade Sokak in Ortakoy, you will see Etz Ahayim Synagogue. Keep walking on Osmanzade, and you will see the most famous landmark of the area: Büyük Mecidiye Camii (Grand Imperial Mosque of Sultan Abdülmecid I) or called Ortaköy Camii (Ortaköy Mosque). It is an example of late Ottoman mosques.
The eclectic-Baroque mosque (1854) is designed by architect Nikogos Balyan, a son of famous Armenian family of imperial architect, who also designed Dolmabahçe Palace. The mosque includes several masterful examples of Arabic calligraphy executed by Sultan Abdülmecid I (1839-1861) himself, who was an accomplished calligrapher.
Restoration of Ortakoy Mosque was completed in June 2014 and it is now open to visitors and worshippers.
There are several coffee houses and tea terraces on the seaside next to the mosque; you can also have famous ‘Kumpir’, a baked potato stuffed with a huge variety of salads, vegetables, and meat products.
‘Waffle’ is also very famous dessert sold in Ortakoy, you may also try one.
You can reach Ortakoy from Besiktas by bus or you may simply walk from Besiktas since it is 20min by walking.