Heybeliada or Heybeli Ada (Greek: Χάλκη, Halki) is the second largest of the Prince Islands in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul. It is officially a neighborhood in the Adalar district of Istanbul, Turkey. The large Naval Cadet School overlooks the jetty to the left as you get off the ferry or seabus. There are two interesting pieces of architecture on the grounds of the school. One is Kamariotissa, the only remaining Byzantine church on the island, and more importantly the last church to be built before the conquest of Constantinople. The other is the grave of Edward Barton, the second English Ambassador to be sent to Constantinople by Elizabeth I of England, who spent his last days in Heybeli in order to escape the plague raging through the city in 1598. His remains were later relocated to the British Cemetery in the Haydarpaşa quarter of the Üsküdar district.
To the right of the jetty lies the town with its bars and cafés, a hotel that stays open all year round, and many lovely Ottoman era wooden houses. At the top of the central mountain is an 11th-century Greek Orthodox monastery which houses the currently defunct Halki seminary, the main Greek Orthodox seminary in Turkey and Theological Seminary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. In 1971, parts of the Private University Law were ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of Turkey; subsequently all private institutions of higher education either became part of the state universities or closed down. Halki’s Board of Trustees refused to have it become a part of the University of Istanbul. Consequently, the seminary section of the Halki Theological School was closed down. The high school section is still open, but no longer has students. The monastery attracts tourists from all over Greece and Turkey.
To prevent the island from becoming polluted, the only motorized vehicles permitted on the island are service vehicles (ambulance, fire, police, and the like), the only forms of transport are by foot, bicycle, horse and buggy and service transport. There is no airport; the only way of getting there is by boat. The winter population of the island is around 3,000, but in the summer, the owners of the summer houses return and the population swells to approximately 10,000 people. The main attractions during the summer are small-scale open-air concerts laid on the local council, a swimming and fitness club next to the sea, and an annual Independence Day march which is commemorated by a resident naval band touring the island.
TCG Heybeliada, the lead ship of the twelve Milgem class corvettes (first eight) and frigates (last four) that are being built for the Turkish Navy, is named after the island.
Sedef Island, (Turkish: Sedef Adası, literally “Mother-of-Pearl Island”; Greek: Τερέβυνθος Terebinthos, and in ancient times also Androvitha or Andircuithos) is one of the nine islands consisting the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul, Turkey. Sedef Adası is officially a neighbourhood in the Adalar district of Istanbul.
With an area of 0.157 km², it is one of the smallest islands of the archipelago. The island is mostly private property and the current pine forests were largely planted by its owner Şehsuvar Menemencioğlu, who purchased the island in 1956 and also played an important role in the imposition of a strict building code to make sure that the island’s nature and environment will be protected. It is not allowed to build houses with more than 2 floors.
The island’s Greek name, Terebinthos, means “turpentine”, which suggests a significant presence of the turpentine tree or terebinth in earlier times. In 857 AD Patriarch Ignatios of Constantinople was sent in exile to the island, where he was imprisoned for 10 years before being re-elected as Patriarch in 867 AD.
Places look very different at night, they become more interesting than in the daytime. As the night takes over in Büyükada, street lighting and neon signs alter the appearance of buildings and objects. With the day coming to an end, restaurants and shops close and people return to their homes.
“Büyükada (Turkish, meaning “Big Island”) is the largest island among the Princes’ Islands in the Marmara Sea. It covers an area of 5.4 km², and the distance of the island to the nearest Maltepe shore is 2.3 km. As of 2000, it has a population of approximately 7,335 including Sedef Island.”
(ibb.gov.tr [online] 2010)
For years Büyükada Market has been held every Thursday between 6:00am and 12:00pm. Stalls and canopies are erected the previous day by the local market traders. Some of them live on the island but most come from Istanbul. They come to sell fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and cheese to the islanders. Over the years the market has expanded into the surrounding side streets. Here traders sell hand made items like lace tablecloths, scarves and rugs; as well as manufactured items like shoes, handbags and clothing. Bartering is expected.