I decided to make my way up to the northernmost points of the Asian side of the Bosporus in Istanbul. Anadolu Kavağı and Anadolu Feneri are two fishing villages, one frequently on the tourist path, the other not. I had tried several times before with Isaac, but we were always thwarted by some outside force – weather, missed ferries, late buses. Now that Isaac had moved back to the US, I had to go it alone.
While most tourists arrive at Anadolu Kavağı on a touristic Bosporus cruise, my route was on one of the many buses from Kadıköy to Beykoz, then switching buses to the 15A. It was a good 90 minutes from Kadıköy until I found myself in the very touristy village known as Ieron Stoma (Ιερόν Στόμα) during Byzantine times. It was full of about 15 to 20 fish restaurants all crammed next to each other – some right on the water and others just inland. Shops were filled to the brim with all kinds of cheap and not-so-cheap souvenirs. I bypassed all of this and followed the signs to Yoros Kalesi.
Yoros Kalesi is a Byzantine castle that was later occupied by the Genoese and Ottomans. It’s a good 20 minute hike uphill, some through a maze of restaurants and cafés. Once on top, the views on both sides are breathtaking. You can look down the Bosporus and get a glimpse of modern Istanbul skyscrapers in the distance. On the other side is where the Bosporus meets the Black Sea.
Once I finished exploring the castle, I jumped on the next bus back to Beykoz to transfer to Anadolu Feneri, the Byzantine Panthikion (Πανθήκιον). Buses aren’t very frequent, so I relaxed near the sea with a çay and karışık tost before sitting at the bus stop. I should have relaxed more because what was supposed to be a five minute wait turned into 30. I almost gave up until I saw the 15D bus barreling down the road. I jumped on and another half hour later, I found myself in an eerily quiet village at the top of a cliff. Not a soul was around and no businesses or restaurants were open.
First, I walked to the lighthouse that guides ships from the Black Sea into the Bosporus and gives the village its name. It was opened in 1856 and was under French control until 1933. A lighthouse had existed there for at least 100 years before the current one was built. Next door is a small mosque with some beautiful views. It was built in 1800.
I wandered around the village a bit and tried to get some of the best views possible of the Bosporus, the European side, and the Black Sea. I think I climbed through military and private property at times, so it wasn’t the best idea. I did manage to get some nice shots, though.
All in all, Anadolu Kavağı is worth a stop on the touristic Bosporus cruise for some tasty and (sometimes) reasonably priced fish (watch out for bill cheats!). Yoros Kalesi isn’t a difficult climb and is nice to visit if not just for the views. The restaurants on top with the beautiful views are a nice alternative to the fish restaurants right along the Bosporus. Just note that this particular cruise is a full day, from 10:30am to 4:30pm.
Anadolu Feneri, on the other hand, has absolutely no reason for any tourists to visit.