North of Çengelköy in the Üsküdar municipality is a village with beautiful yalılar (a yalı is a seaside mansion), Kandilli. Kandilli and its small neighborhood called Vaniköy sit on the Asian side of the Bosporus in Istanbul and are best seen from a boat. There’s not much reason to stop there.
I walked through the main street in Kandilli and all of the yalılar are behind high security fences. However, the Kandilli ferry terminal sits in a nice little square. In the square are a few restaurants and cafés along with a small mosque, Kandilli Camii, built in 1632.
Kandilli is mostly residential, but in the hills above, you can find the Kandilli Observatory of Boğaziçi Üniversitesi (dedicated to studying earthquakes), which also houses the Kandilli Earthquake Museum, and the Kandilli Anadolu Kız Lisesi, one of the first high schools for girls in the Ottoman Empire. There are also a couple of Armenian churches and an Armenian cemetery. Great views of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Köprüsü, the second Bosporus bridge, can be seen from the Kandilli seaside.
During Byzantine times, Kandilli was known as Skaliés (Σκαλιές) or Nikópolis (Νικόπολη). There’s nothing left today from that era.
The easiest way to get to Kandilli is through Üsküdar. Take a ferry to Üsküdar and walk to the Üsküdar Cami Önü stop (in front of the mosque across the street from the ferry terminal). Hop on pretty much any bus with a number 15 until you reach the Kandilli stop. You can also take a dolmuş going to Beykoz and ask the driver to let you out at Kandilli – it’s much faster than the bus. If you’re on the European side, there’s a ferry service on the same line from either Arnavutköy or Bebek to Kandilli every few hours throughout the day.