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Reading list | Üsküdar

Facing old Istanbul across the straits, Üsküdar, known to the West as Scutari, was romanticised in the paintings of John Frederick Lewis. His painting of A Kibab Shop exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1858, ‘encapsulate the fascination that the “exotic east” held for the west,’ wrote Briony Llewellyn. No less romantic in history are the formidable-looking Selimiye Barracks, where Florence Nightingale attended the wounded during the Crimean War. Key Sinan mosques can be found on the shore and on the hill above the port.

The old quarters of Üsküdar lie beside the busy waterfront where ferries ply back and forth across the Bosphorus. Üsküdar's famous meydan, with Ahmed III's handsome fountain, has been a bit of a mess for the past few years thanks to the new metro works that one day will see the Maramary trains from the city centre emerging from beneath the waves. And a HIDEOUS wedding hall competes with Sinan's diminutive masterpiece the delightful Şemsi Pasha Mosque.

Among the other architectural treasures is Sinan’s Mihrimah Sultan Camii of 1547, built for Suleyman’s daughter, and, up the hill, the beautifully tiled, rarely visited Çinili Cami, which features prominently in Cornucopia 52.

Just to the south of the centre, facing the Leander Tower (Kız Kulesi/Maiden’s Tower), is the Salacak district, where the cafe-lined seafront promenade is popular for its sweeping views of old Istanbul opposite. The Leander Tower is an island lighthouse that has been a marker to shipping since Byzantine times and now has a touristy restaurant. You go for the view.

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