A little history of Buyukada

We picked up a magazine guide of Istanbul.  Inside it was an article on Buyukada, which is the island where we are staying.  Here’s a little history from that article.  Buyukada is one of nine islands on the Marmara Sea, 20kms off Istanbul known today as the Prince’s Islands (Adalar in Turkish).  Buyukada is the largest of the islands and means “the big island” in Turkish.  These islands began with sinister reasons.  Dating back to the Byzantine times, unruly princes, deposed monarchs and others who had become vexing for the royal family were exiled to the islands, a tradition that continued under the Ottoman Empire.  Over time, the islands lost this unsavory reputation and in the 19th century became a popular summer resort for the city’s large Greek, Jewish and Armenian communities, many of whom continue to summer here today.  It was during this period that many of the islands’ lavish villas and mansions were built.  Some of these have been preserved or renovated but there are many homes like the ones in the previous post that have been neglected and/or forgotten which are rotting and crumbling.  When you compare these old structures to the ones today, there’s no comparison.  There was so much character to the older structures.  Today’s buildings are pretty plain jane in comparison.  It’s such a shame that things have become this way.

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