Cornucopia’s travel guide


At first sight, Büyükdere is not very promising, but it has a fabulous museum, several  grand yalıs, and the odd meyhane. As in Arnavutköy, a highway on stilts was constructed in front of the town, separating it from the sea. But historically, after Tarabya, this was the second of the grand places to build your summer embassy, and the Spanish and the Russians still have handsome houses and gardens here. The Spanish was the first to be restored. The Russians have just begun, and the view of the bay of Beykoz, where they  liked to moor their fleet, explains the location. Büyükdere (the Grand Valley), is home of the Turkish coastguard fleet.

Historically, Büyükdere's advantage over Tarabya was that it backed on to the Belgrade Forest, in the old days an easy ride away – you could hire a horse from the shore, and the sultan used to do the long ride from the top of the Golden Horn to Sarıyer, pausing to rest and contemplate by one of the several great reservoirs built by the Ottomans in the forest. There are frequent buses (to Bahçeköy). Also woth a visit near Bahçeköy is the Atatürk Arboretum, though it has to be said having a car helps.

The key thing to note when planning a visit to Büyükdere is that the Sadberk Hanım Museum, possibly the best private museum in Turkey, is is closed on Wednesday, not, like most other musuems, on Monday.

Getting there

Metro: Hacıosman, though if you don’t mind the extra 5TL, fewer escalators are involved if you exit at Darulşafaka.

The high road running the length of the Bosphorus from Beyoğlu, via Mecidiyeköy and Levent, is known as Büyükdere Caddesi, and sweeps down to the Bosphorus shore from Hacıosman, last stop on the Taksim metroline. Minibuses hurtle up and down the route as far as Sarıyer. The Sadberk Hanım Museum is just past the main town. The Sarıyer boat station is a 10-minute walk from the museum.