Üsküdar Basics

One of the most colorful neighborhoods in Istanbul sits on the Asian shores of the Bosporus. Üsküdar is a more conservative area of the city that captures the old world feeling that has gone missing from many historical neighborhoods on the European side. Crowded and full of action but not chaotic, there are plenty of things to see and do there. It’s a great place to spend a day wandering.

Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey


Üsküdar was founded by the ancient Greeks as Chrysópolis (Χρυσόπολις). In Byzantine times the name changed to Skoutárion (Σκουτάριον), and later Scutari.  It was conquered by the Ottomans 100 years before Constantinople.

Men chatting over a glass of çay in Üsküdar, Istanbul, Turkey

Men chatting over a glass of çay

Naturally, you would expect there to be lots of historic places. Barely anything from Byzantine times exists, but there are several important Ottoman mosques that are well worth visiting. Most are within reasonable walking distance from the ferry terminal.

Besides the historic mosques, three more things I love about Üsküdar are the seaside with spectacular views of the European side, the bustling markets, and the iconic Kız Kulesi (Maiden’s Tower).

The best way to arrive in Üsküdar is via ferry. There’s frequent service on the city ferry lines, İstanbul Şehir Hatları, from Eminönü, Beşiktaş, and Karaköy. Dentur Avrasya provides service from Beşiktaş and Kabataş. It’s also possible to take a dolmuş from Taksim or Kadıköy.

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