Istanbul 11 Jan 2024 BY Batul Eidi

Discover Çamlıca Hill's Panoramic Views of Istanbul

Have you ever dreamed of witnessing all the iconic landmarks of Istanbul in one mesmerizing view?

Visit Çamlica Hill, one of the highest points in Istanbul, reaching a staggering 267 meters above sea level in the Üsküdar district of the Anatolian side of Istanbul.

From this elevated perch, you can have a panoramic view of the entire city, including the glistening Marmara Sea and the winding Bosphorus Strait. On clear days, the panoramic vista extends to the Princes Islands and the snow-capped Uludag Mountain, while at sunset, the silhouettes of Istanbul's domes and minarets create a breathtaking spectacle against the vivid, colorful sky.

In this blog, we will explore the history of Çamlica Hill. Discover its facilities, magnificent vistas, location, and how to reach this enchanting destination.


About Çamlıca Hill

2. About Çamlıca Hill

Çamlıca Hill pronounced as Chamlija Hill, is located within the Üsküdar district on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. It is situated near the first suspension bridge, and it overlooks the majestic Bosphorus and the sparkling Marmara Sea.

Camlica Hill, known as çamlıca tepesi in Turkish, is not only one of Istanbul's most popular tourist destinations but also among its highest and most enchanting locations.

It is divided into two sections known as "Büyük Çamlıca" (Big Camlica) and "Küçük Çamlıca" (Small Camlica). Büyük Çamlıca reaches an impressive elevation of 267 meters, while the Küçük Çamlıcastands at 228 meters.

In Turkish, the word 'Çam' means Pine, and the name "Çamlıca" derives from the abundance of pine trees that once covered the area. Historical accounts describe the hills as being so densely populated by towering pine trees that sunlight struggled to penetrate the foliage. The landscape was further enhanced by vibrant wildflowers and poppies, adding splashes of color to the picturesque scenery.

Throughout history, Camlica Hill has served various purposes. It has been a summer residence, a hunting lodge, and even a training ground for birds of prey.

Ottoman Sultans held Camlica Hill in great esteem. Murat IV, one of the sultans, commissioned the construction of the first summer residence here, while Mehmet IV, known as "the Hunter," established a hunting lodge. During the reign of Selim III, Camlica transformed into a recreational haven, offering leisure activities alongside the delights of the Bosphorus and Kagithane.

Aside from its royal associations, Camlica Hill played a significant role in training birds of prey during the Ottoman era. Falconers and hawk breeders utilized the hill's natural terrain to groom and train hawks, falcons, and peregrine falcons. Ivaz Fakih, a renowned falconer, was entrusted with the hill as a grooming place. His tomb now rests atop Camlica Hill, serving as a testament to his respected status among the Turks.

Camlica Hill's allure has attracted notable figures throughout history. German Emperor Wilhelm II, during his visit to Istanbul in the late 1800s, he strolled along Camlica Hill and was captivated by its beauty. He expressed a desire to build a monument on the hill, but Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamit Han graciously declined, citing the revered tomb of Ivaz Fakih as a reason. In response, Wilhelm II gifted the Sultan with the German Fountain, which stands in Sultanahmet Square to this day.

This magnificent hill also holds a significant place in Turkish literature. Renowned poets and authors of the Tanzimat era, as well as subsequent literary figures, have immortalized Camlica Hill in their works, reflecting its prominence in Turkish culture.

Today, Camlica Hill continues to captivate visitors with its array of offerings. From traditional snacks like "Gözleme" to ice cream and corn on the cob, visitors can indulge their taste buds while exploring the hill's kiosks, fountains, tea, and coffee shops, and restaurants, all managed by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB).

The hill is adorned with historic trees and public parks boasting rich flora, vibrant flowers, and blooming tulips. A refreshing cool breeze accompanies visitors as they revel in the breathtaking panoramic views of the Bosphorus and the city. Camlica Hill is also renowned as a prime bird-watching location, attracting bird enthusiasts from around the world during the migratory seasons of September, October, and springtime.

Camlica Hill also has one of Istanbul's largest mosques and a towering radio tower with an observation deck, adding to its allure and enhancing the visitor experience.


Things to Do at Camlica Hill

Enjoy Camlıca Hill View of Istanbul

4. Enjoy Camlıca Hill View of Istanbul

When visiting Istanbul or Çamlıca Hill, one of the top attractions that draws almost everyone is the captivating view it offers of the Bosphorus Strait. The panoramic view from Çamlıca Hill is truly one-of-a-kind and a must-see for visitors. Beyond its breathtaking vistas, the hill's prime location also makes it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts. Capture unique and memorable souvenir photos against the backdrop of this picturesque hill. Don't miss the opportunity to explore Çamlıca Hill and create lasting memories while immersing yourself in its fascinating and photogenic surroundings.


Have a Scenic Walk

5. Have a Scenic Walk

Having a leisurely walk along the pathways of Çamlıca Hill while immersing yourself in the stunning landscapes is an absolute must-do when visiting this enchanting area in Istanbul.

All you need to do is wear a pair of comfortable shoes to fully immerse yourself in the captivating ambiance and awe-inspiring views. As you stroll around the corners of Çamlıca Hill, the lush green surroundings and breathtaking landscapes will leave you spellbound. Just don't forget to capture the beauty of this hill by snapping some memorable photographs along the way.


Have an Unforgettable Dinner

6. Have an Unforgettable Dinner

There are many restaurants and cafes on Camlica Hill, offering a variety of cuisines and refreshments. If you want to have a truly delightful experience, make your way to one of the hilltop restaurants and treat yourself to a delectable dinner or savor a cup of authentic Turkish coffee or tea while reveling in the panoramic view of Çamlıca Hill and the majestic Bosphorus. So if you're longing for an unforgettable dinner, a visit to Çamlıca Hill restaurant is the perfect choice.


Çamlıca Hill Tourist Attractions

Çamlıca Tower

7. Çamlıca Tower

One of the standout landmarks of the Camlica hill is the Çamlıca Tower.

The tower was constructed in 2016 to consolidate and relocate numerous masts and communication antennas that were installed atop the hill due to the higher height compared to the city level, which marred the visual beauty of the hill. This tower not only restored the aesthetic appeal of Çamlıca Hill but also enhanced the quality and broadcasting capacity of radio and television networks to meet global standards.

The Camlica Tower stands at an impressive height of over 365 meters, and over 100 TV and radio frequencies are broadcast from the Camlica Tower. It is the tallest structure in Istanbul and can be spotted from various vantage points across the city. With 49 floors, including four underground and 45 above ground, the tower has fast elevators, making it easily accessible and ensuring a seamless journey between floors. The tower's distinctive external architecture and modern facilities make it a must-visit attraction.


360-degree Istanbul View Restaurant

8. 360-degree Istanbul View Restaurant

For an exceptional dining experience accompanied by breathtaking views, the 360-degree Istanbul View Restaurant awaits on the 39th and 40th floors of the Çamlıca Tower. Here, guests can indulge in a delectable menu while enjoying an unparalleled panoramic vista of the city. You can also enjoy a 360 view of Istanbul at two other viewing terraces on the 33rd and 34th floors, providing tourists with stunning views of Istanbul's iconic landmarks.


Çamlıca Hill Mosque

9. Çamlıca Hill Mosque

Dominating the hilltop, the Çamlıca Mosque stands as a testament to architectural grandeur. It holds the distinction of being the largest mosque ever built in the history of the Republic of Turkey. The meticulously crafted design of the mosque was chosen from 62 participating projects in a competition, with architects Hairiyeh Gul Tutu and Bahar Mizrak being the visionaries behind this masterpiece. Although the construction began in 2013, the mosque opened its doors for worship in 2019 due to the sheer magnitude of the project.

The Çamlıca Mosque can be admired from various vantage points in Istanbul, captivating onlookers with its majestic presence. The mosque boasts a total of six minarets, each bearing historical significance and symbols. Four of these minarets reach an impressive height of 107.1 meters, while the remaining two stand at 90 meters, commemorating the victory of Malazgirt in 1071 AD.

The central dome of the mosque, with a radius of 34 meters, soars to a height of 72 meters, symbolizing the 72 nations residing in Istanbul. With a capacity of accommodating 37,500 worshippers, the mosque provides designated areas for women and children, ensuring a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. Moreover, the Çamlıca Mosque complex encompasses various sections such as a museum, art gallery, library, conference hall, art studio, and parking lot, adding further depth to the visitor experience.


Best Time to Visit Çamlıca Hill in Istanbul

10. Best Time to Visit Çamlıca Hill in Istanbul

To truly experience the magic of Çamlıca Hill, it's important to know the best time to visit. If you are seeking a truly unique and mesmerizing view, visiting at sunset is highly recommended. As the sun dips below the horizon, the view of the Bosphorus Strait from the hilltop becomes even more breathtaking. It presents the perfect opportunity to witness the beauty of the sunset and capture stunning souvenir photos.

If you find it difficult to reach Çamlıca Hill before sunset, opting for a nighttime visit is an excellent alternative. As darkness falls, the lights of the Bosphorus Bridge illuminate the surroundings, casting a mesmerizing reflection on the water's surface. This creates a captivating visual display that is sure to leave a lasting impression.


Camlica Hill Location

Camlica Hill is located in the Üsküdar district of the Asian side of Istanbul, Turkey.


How to Get to the Camlica Hill

11. How to Get to the Camlica Hill

Getting to Çamlıca Hill is relatively straightforward, and here's a breakdown of how to reach it from various starting points:

From Taksim: Head to the bus terminal at Taksim Square and catch the 129T Bus. Stay on the bus until you reach the Kısıklı stop. From there, you have the option to take a taxi or follow the road signs and enjoy a pleasant walk to the top of the hill.

From Kadikoy: Make your way to the bus terminal located in front of the Kadikoy Pier. Hop on the 14F Bus and disembark at the Kural stop. From there, it's a short walk to the sight of Çamlıca Hill.

From Besiktas: In Besiktas Square, board the 129T Bus, which follows the same route as the one from Taksim. Alight at the Kısıklı stop, and either take a taxi or follow the road signs on foot to reach the top of the hill.

From Sultanahmet: The route from Sultanahmet requires a few transfers but is still manageable. Start by taking the T1 Kabatas tramway from Sultanahmet station and get off at Sirkeci stop. You'll find the Marmaray station in front of you. Take the Marmaray train heading towards Sogutlucesme and disembark at Uskudar Station. It's a quick 4-minute journey, just one stop. Without exiting the station, transfer to the M5 Cekmekoy metro line and ride until you reach the Kısıklı stop. Make sure to check the direction of the trains, and if needed, seek assistance from security staff or consult the station boards. Upon arrival at Kısıklı, leave the metro station and embark on a pleasant 20-minute walk to Çamlıca Hill.


Bottom Line

Çamlıca Hill is a remarkable destination in Istanbul that offers a panoramic view of the entire city. It also has one of Istanbul's largest mosques and a towering radio tower with an observation deck, adding to its allure and enhancing the visitor.

 The hill served as a summer residence, hunting lodges, and a space for training birds. Today, Camlica Hill is adorned with historic trees and public parks boasting rich flora, vibrant flowers, and blooming tulips, providing visitors with a serene atmosphere for scenic walks and capturing unique and memorable souvenir photos. So come and experience the magic of Çamlıca Hill for yourself!

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