Beşiktaş is known to be one of the oldest suburbs in Istanbul, Turkey. Located on the European side of the city, it is one of the main hubs for ferry transportation over to the Asian quarter of Istanbul. Beşiktaş is home to majestic palaces, museums, lively local markets and plays host to one of the oldest football clubs in Istanbul, Beşiktaş JK.
Beşiktaş has many places of historical interest. One of the most popular to visit is the Turkish Naval Museum. It has a wonderful exhibition of gilded imperial caiques which once belonged to the Sultan. The boats reached up to 32 metres or more in length and were powered by 15 pairs of oars. Visitors can stroll the museum to discover the caiques and ships, plus there are a variety of maritime documents and historic cannons on display. Close by is Dolmabahçe Palace and Mosque, a building which epitomises the decadence and opulence of the Ottoman Empire. The palace is the grandest of all of Ottoman imperial palaces taking up over a vast area of shoreline. It was so magnificent that the imperial family moved from Topkapi Palace in Sultanahmet to Dolmabahçe. The Sultans Palace has 285 rooms in total, comprising 43 large salons with glimmering glass chandeliers. The largest light fitting weighs an eye-watering 4000 kilogrammes. There is a daily entrance quota for visitors, therefore arrive early to be guaranteed access to the palace and grounds. Beşiktaş also has a vibrant market district, laden with locally grown produce and fresh fish caught on the Bosphorus. There are many delightful Turkish restaurants located in this area, ideal places to sample the authentic regional cuisine.
Beşiktaş can be reached by ferry boat from the Asian side of Istanbul. Bosphorus crossings are regular and allow access to many suburbs on both sides of the city. A good way to access Beşiktaş is via tram from Kabataş station. Public buses operate from Kabataş and follow the river front to neighbourhoods on the Bosphorus, with most buses passing through Beşiktaş. Dolmuses are also available from Taksim.
Being outside the walls of the city, Beşiktaş was vulnerable to plunderers arriving from the Black Sea. Legendary sailor Barbarossa made his home in Beşiktaş, the Ottoman navy would dock in the harbour, and the area became a crossing ground for those venturing along the Silk Road. Today, the transportation hub that existed during the Ottoman era still exists, albeit with more contemporary methods of transport. Beşiktaş continues to be an important junction for ferries and buses travelling throughout Turkey.