Consisting of 9 islands, Buyukada is the largest of the Prince Islands. With an area of 5.4 square kilometers, Buyukada is a great natural sports center. Walks and bicycle tours in the middle of the fresh air, green and blue nature will allow you to relax and relieve the tiredness of the city.
There are not many finds about the history of Buyukada. Found in 1930, the treasure belonging to King Philip II of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great, is considered the most important find. This treasure is exhibited in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.
Büyükada, called Prinkipo, which means big in Greek, was used as a prison during the Byzantine Period. Princes or princesses were exiled to the islands due to disputes such as throne fights, and they were made to serve their sentences. Of course, the island was not in this state at that time and it should be noted that those who were exiled were blindfolded and thrown into the dungeons on the island, before calling such exile a sacrifice.
You should go to Büyükada in the early hours of the day. So you can enjoy the calmness. Especially on weekends, it is not very meaningful to spend time in the area where the clock tower is located due to the increasing crowd towards noon.
Büyükada has two high hills. One of them is Yücetepe, 185 meters high, and the other is Jesus Hill, 135 meters high.
Yücetepe is the hill where Aya Yorgi Monastery is located. A wonderful view of the islands will be waiting for you at the summit of the difficult and tiring road starting from Birlik Square.
You can take a tea break at Yüce Tepe Gazinosu next to the church and relax and enjoy the view.
Another important religious structure of the island is the Ayios Dimitrios Church in the Kumsal neighborhood.
The easiest way to reach the Greek Orphanage, which still holds the title of the largest wooden building in the world, is through Birlik Square. The building, which has been empty and decaying for a long time, is off-limits for security reasons.
Beyond the Greek Orphanage, on the hill called Christos Monastery, which is the 2nd biggest hill of Büyükada and called Jesus Hill. It can be easily reached from the left side of the Greek Orphanage road.
The area where Ayios Nikolaos Monastery is located on the line opposite Sedef Island is the region called Caria by the Byzantines. It is also known as the Sunken Monastery because it is said that the walls of the monastery were buried in the ground after the 1509 earthquake called the small apocalypse.
There is also a synagogue built during the reign of Abdülhamit II. When there was no synagogue, Jews used to gather in houses to worship. Later, a synagogue named Hased le Avraam (Favor of Avram) was built on the land donated by the philanthropist Avram Fresk, which opened in 1904.
Ayios Demetrios and Panayia Churches are the names of other churches on the island.
There are not only churches but also mosques in Büyükada. One of the mosques, of which there are 4 in total, is the mosque built by Abdülhamit II and called Hamidiye Mosque. In the first years of the construction of the mosque, which has a single minaret and a single balcony, the lower floor was used as a school. The congregation had to go upstairs to pray.
One of the most beautiful features of the island is that there are no motor vehicles except for official vehicles. This creates a quieter, more peaceful environment. There are three options for transportation within the island. One of them is to use a carriage, which I do not recommend. The other two are more humane and healthy. You can take a walk or ride a bike on this island with plenty of oxygen.
One of the most fun activities on the island is bicycle tours. The tours can be a bit tiring for those who are out of condition, but you will be motivated by the fact that every hill has a descent. It is impossible not to have fun on the long downhill roads.