Reading list | Maçka

Maçka is both one of Istanbul's few leafy parks and an upmarket district of Istanbul extending all the way from the Military Museum on Valikonağı Caddesi and Teşvikiye Mosque down a long ridge and valley to a bluff overlooking Dolmabahçe Palace, now covered by the sprawling Swissotel, where Süleman the Magnificent settled ihabitants of a Black Sea village of the same name in the mountains above Trabzon. It neighbours hilltop Nişantaşı and Teşvikiye, and seaside Beşiktaş and Dolmabahçe. The park, always an Ottoman pleasure ground, miraculously preserved, and cable car gondolas swing over it, connecting Maçka with Taksim Square.

Abdi İpekçi Caddesi is Istanbul's Bond Street. Maçka has three smart hotels good hotels in addition to the Swissotel: The House Nişantaşı, the new the St Regis, and the Park Hyatt, three concert venues, the Açık Hava Tiyatrosu (Open-air Theatre), the Cemal Reşit Rey, and the Lütfi Kırdar (also used for events), the Istanbul State Theatre, and several art galleries.

While Nişantaşı and Teşvikiye, once choc a bloc with the most astonishing wooden palaces, have lost most of their late 19th-century palatial wooden konaks, Maçka's were built of stone, and three survive – the most eccentric has to be the intended Italian embassy, now a technical college.