Bebek, Beşiktaş

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Jan Matejko, View of Bebek, 1872
Bebek, Istanbul

Bebek (known in Greek as Χηλαί, Chelai) is a historic Istanbul neighbourhood that falls within the boundaries and administration of the Beşiktaş district. It is located on Bebek Bay along the European shores of the Bosphorus strait and is surrounded by similarly affluent neighbourhoods such as Arnavutköy, Etiler and Rumeli Hisarı.

The literal meaning of the word "Bebek" in Turkish is "baby", which is a reference to the neighborhood's attractive positioning on the Bosphorus with its deep, sheltered bay and sweeping views in both directions along the waterway. It is believed to be a shortened form of "Boğaz'ın gözbebeği", which translates, literally, as "the pupil of the Bosphorus", or more appropriately, "the apple of Bosphorus' eye", as the literal translation of "pupil" in Turkish is "eye baby".

Bebek was a popular residential district under Ottoman rule, and continues to be so today. Its population reflected the diverse society of the time, which is still visible in Bebek's historic architecture and contemporary constituencies.

Bebek is also home to Boğaziçi Üniversitesi, i.e. Bosphorus University, a public university established in 1971 that is one of Turkey's premier institutions of higher education. The university occupies the buildings and grounds of the now-defunct higher education division of Robert College, a historic American academic institution founded in 1863 by wealthy New York merchant Christopher Robert and American missionary and educator Cyrus Hamlin. Following the coeducational merger of the formerly all-male Robert College with sister school American College for Girls, all operations of the former were moved from Bebek to the wooded Arnavutköy campus of the latter, where it continues to operate.

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Coordinates: 41°04′32″N 29°02′39″E / 41.07556°N 29.04417°E / 41.07556; 29.04417