ortakoy mosque

Istanbul is a city of cliches, phrases that are easier to repeat rather than trying to explain how intricate and unique it is across 39 districts. Like this Hubble experiment where scientists pointed the orbiting telescope to an empty patch of space only to discover countless galaxies, in Istanbul, Turkey, there are dense patches of photographic opportunity.

Last year during one of the stops of my See It Like A Local Tour, I turned my lens to the Ortakoy Mosque (Büyük Mecidiye Camii) to see what angles I could find of this iconic sight.

interior ortaköy mosque

Built in 3 years beginning in 1853, the small Ortakoy Mosque was designed by Armenian father and son architects Garabet Amira Balyan and Nigogayos Balyan. (The latter also designed Dolmabahce Palace.) Some of the interior calligraphy was done by then sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Abdülmecid I.

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Büyük Mecidiye Camii

The Ortakoy Mosque from the angle above is often what you’ll see in the background of foreign correspondents reports on CNN or travel shows highlighting Turkey.

ortaköy camii

Entry to the Ortakoy Mosque for free. The easiest way to find it is by taking a ferry to Beşiktaş, then hopping a minibus to Ortaköy (Osmanzade Sokak). A 15 minute walk directly from the ferry port is also an option.

Bosphorus Bridge Boğaziçi Köprüsü

To capture this angle, you need to walk around to the sea-facing side.


Aside from the mosque and views of the Bosporus Straight, this part of Ortaköy is one of the best places to try kumpir, a street food, for vegans and carnivores alike.