The Prince Islands in ​​Marmara sea

The Prince Islands in ​​Marmara sea are one of the most popular attractions for tourists visiting Istanbul. What makes them so irresistibly attractive? You will find out from our Istanbul story, where the Prince Islands are the main characters.

The Prince Islands are a group of 9 islands located in the waters of the Marmara Sea, about 20 km from the Asian coast of Istanbul. 4 of them (Kınalıada, Burgazada, Heybeliada and Buyukada) are inhabited and included in the daily tours of the continent and the remaining 5 are miniaturized in size and without human presence. Its name Prince Island was given during the Byzantine period (IV – XV century) when it was used as a territory for the exile of the rebellious princes and royal peasants – including the Byzantine emperor Constantine IV, blinded by his mother Irina.

Buyukada – he is the largest of the group (as the name of the Big Island) and is dominated by 2 mountain peaks with one monastery each. One is the Monastery with the church of the same name, built in the 6th century, “St. George” (where a tourists can find a cozy place offering wine, snacks and fabulous views) and the other is the Monastery of Christ (formerly Greek Orphanage) gardens arranged with decorative shrubs, olive trees and ivy. In the valley between them is placed the Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Monastery. Popular attractions on this island are the church “St. Dimitar and the Hamidie Mosque.

Heybeliada, the second-largest Prince Island, is also called the Copper Island because of the deposits of copper ore, which also give the specific reddish color of the soil. It is most popular with the “hill” on the northern hill of the Holy Trinity Monastery built in the 9th century and until 1971 by the Halki Theological School – the main spiritual seminary of the Greek Orthodox Church in Turkey and the Constantinople Ecumenical Patriarchate .
The other particularly attractive sites on the island are the Turkish Naval Academy (whose dungeons preserve the remnants of the only surviving Byzantine church dedicated to Our Lady), the tomb of the second English ambassador to Constantinople, Edward Barton (during Queen Elizabeth I) and the former Orthodox orphanage , today turned into a naval hospital.

Burgazada, the third-largest Princezone Island, has only one hill (surrounded by thick pine forests) on which stands a fortress built by one of the descendants of Alexander the Macedonian – Demetrius I of Macedonia and named after his father – Antigonus I. was inhabited mostly by Greeks, many Orthodox churches are preserved on the island, and one of the restaurants is waiting for you to see a bronze statue of one of the most famous Turkish writers who took inspiration from the island.

Kınalıada – the smallest one, closest to Istanbul and the most beautiful of the Prince Islands. The blood-red color of the soil and the rocks has given its name (translated into the Last Island). Although it was the most favorite recreation of the Byzantine aristocracy, it was this island that was also preferred for exile (probably because of its proximity to the continent).

The three hills of Kınalıada are covered with the slightest vegetation, and there are no interesting cultural and historical sites (if we do not count the remains of the monastery walls, a mosque, a Turkish primary school and a Greek Orthodox church), but an abundance of picturesque bays with fabulous beaches. Maybe that’s why he’s a favorite of all.

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