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One of the main squares of the island, with the statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
One of the main squares of the island, with the statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Büyükada is located in Turkey
Coordinates: 40°51′28″N 29°07′12″E / 40.85778°N 29.12000°E / 40.85778; 29.12000Coordinates: 40°51′28″N 29°07′12″E / 40.85778°N 29.12000°E / 40.85778; 29.12000
Country Turkey
 • Total5.4 km2 (2.1 sq mi)
 • Total7,499 [1]
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
Area code0-216

Büyükada (Greek: Πρίγκηπος or Πρίγκιπος, rendered Prinkipos or Prinkipo) is the largest of the Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul, with an area of about 2 square miles (5 square kilometres). It is officially a neighbourhood in the Adalar (Islands) district of Istanbul Province, Turkey.


The island's name means "Big Island" in Turkish. Alternative Greek names are Πρίγκηπος or Πρίγκιπος, meaning "Prince" or "Foremost".


Büyükada consists of two peaks. The one nearest to the ferry landing, İsa Tepesi (meaning Jesus Hill in Turkish), formerly Hristos (Χριστός, the Greek name for Jesus Christ), is topped by the former Greek orphanage, a huge wooden building now in decay. In the valley between the two hills sit the church and monastery of Agios Nikolaos and a former fairground called Luna Park.


The house inhabited by Leon Trotsky (April 1929 – July 1933) as it appeared in 2006.

Byzantine Emperor Justin II had built a palace and monastery on Büyükada in C.E. 569.[2] A convent on Büyükada was the place of exile for the Byzantine empresses Irene, Euphrosyne, Theophano, Zoe and Anna Dalassena.

There are several historical buildings on Büyükada, such as the Hagia Yorgi Greek Orthodox Church and Monastery dating back to the 6th century, the Agios Dimitrios Church, and the Hamidiye Mosque built by Abdul Hamid II. The pier was constructed and designed by Armenian architect Mihran Azaryan.[3]

Princess Fahrelnissa Zeid was born in 1901 on the island.

After his deportation from the Soviet Union in February 1929, Leon Trotsky was moved to Büyükada (aka Prinkipo) in April 1929, where he lived until July 1933. While on Prinkipo, Trotsky stayed at a house called the Yanaros mansion.

For the first half of the 20th century, the island was popular among prosperous Turks, Greeks, Jews and Armenians.[2]

Işil Dillig grew up on this island.


The historic Splendid Palace Hotel (1908) near the port of Büyükada.

As on the other eight islands, motorized vehicles – except service vehicles – are forbidden so residents and visitors ride bicycles or more commonly take a horse and carriage to travel around the island.[4]

The ferry port of Büyükada.

Visitors can take the 'small tour' of the island by a phaeton carriage, leading to the point from where it is a strenuous climb to Agia Yorgi (St. George, in Greek Άγιος Γεώργιος), a tiny hilltop church with a magnificent panoramic view, and a café in its garden that serves wine, chips and sausage sandwiches, this being a part of the "classic" Agia Yorgi experience.

Ferries and ships depart from Bostancı, Kartal and Maltepe on the Asian side, and from Kabataş on the European side, to Büyükada.

The conditions in which the horses on the island live and the lack of a treatment centre for horses on the island has been criticised by animal rights groups. According to official figures, 400 horses die each year, although activists consider this to be an underestimate, and claim that the lifespans of the horses on the islands are greatly reduced.[5][6]

Places of interest[edit]

Büyükada has many historic churches, monasteries and mansions that tourists can visit. The main churches in Büyükada are the Greek Orthodox Churches of Panagia, and Hagios Demetrios, Franciscan Church of San Pacifico and the Armenian Church of the Surp Astvadzadzin Verapolium. The Greek Orthodox Hagios Georgios Koudonas and Sotiros Christou are the two monasteries extant on the island.

The island has a large number of historic mansions. The most well-known are: Con Pasa, Yelkencizade, Fabiato and Mizzi Mansions.[7]

In addition, the island features the Prinkipo Greek Orthodox Orphanage which is the largest wooden construction in Europe and second largest in the world.[8]



  1. ^ "Nüfus Durumu".
  2. ^ a b Liesl Schillinger (July 8, 2011). "A Turkish Idyll Lost in Time". New York Times.
  3. ^ "Büyükada Pier". Buyukada Island Travel Guide. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011. Today’s masonry structure constructed in a place of former wooden pier, built at Büyükada in 1899, was designed by Mihran Azaryan.
  4. ^ Bilgen-Reinart, Üstün (January 2007). Porcelain Moon and Pomegranates: A Woman's Trek Through Turkey. p. 105. ISBN 9781459717916.
  5. ^ "Atların Ömrü 20 Yıl, Faytonda Çalıştırılanların 2 Yıl". Bianet. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  6. ^ Anger sparked again after horse on Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands collapses
  7. ^ Buyukada Istanbul[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Greek Orthodox orphanage, Europe’s largest wooden building, awaits salvation off Istanbul

External links[edit]

  • Büyükada at Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality website