My local Istanbul parks

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Istanbul is a densely populated city sprawling over both banks of the Bosphorus Strait. It is a metropolis full of highrise apartments and office blocks. Nonetheless, Istanbullu (people who live in Istanbul) value their green spaces and make good use of them. In the event of an earthquake, these open spaces would be the only safe places to go. Here are some that make it onto my list of favourite Istanbul parks.

8b Selahattin Giz - FB Parki 1950s

Fenerbahçe Park in the 1950s. From the Yapi Kredi collection of photographs taken by Selahattin Giz, exhibited at the Caddebostan Kultur Merkezi, September 2012.

9a Fenerbahce Picnic 22 July

Late afternoon swimming in the Sea of Marmara off Fenerbahçe Park

Fenerbahce 1

Cooling down with a refreshing drink at Romantika Cafe

7b Fenerbahce Picnic 15 July

Smile for the camera

7c Goztepe Park

           Göztepe Park – these are real fish

7f Goztepe Park

  Whirling Dervish topiary in Göztepe Park


Özgürlük park, which means Freedom Park in English, is my favourite out of all the Istanbul parks I go to regularly. In summer it plays host to Turkish music nights, traditional puppet shows, theatre performances and other special events. Year round there are weekly organic markets and people exercising, jogging and walking their dogs. At the moment local high school students are holding a three day event to remind us how valuable these green places are, to make it clear they believe the parks belong to the people.


The Banner reads, “This is our park”.

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