Prince Islands near Istanbul is an archipelago in the Sea of Marmara, which consists of four larger islands, five smaller and two rocks. The largest of the islands is Buyukada (its name means precisely this - "Big Island"), which was our main destination on this day of excursion. The name of the islands comes from the practice of ever exiting princes and embarrassing nobility families there.
In the nineteenth century, however, they became a very popular resort and to this day are a major tourist attraction. We boarded a boat on the islands at eight in the morning and the trip took us almost two hours, because Buyukada is the farthest. It was very beautiful because we saw Istanbul - first the center, then the neighborhoods with huge residential buildings and outskirts. The islands were like villa areas - with villas, often painted in white and quiet beaches or rocky wharves.
On the way, we stopped at many ports, people were going up and down, typical urban transport, but water. The variety of people of different nationalities and cultures has struck me. There were many tourists, but even the locals were different - I saw women dressed from top to bottom in black, as well as groups of teenagers, including girls with a European look, and their girlfriends with headscarves, wide trousers and blouse with long sleeves in the heat . I wondered how they perceive others when they are together. I will never know. We arrived at Buyukada about ten o'clock. The ways of traveling are on foot, by bicycle or carriage.
On site you can choose which of the three you prefer - many shops rent a bike for an hour, and horse-drawn carriages await tourists in prominent places and offer island tours or transport to a specific location like taxis. We chose to walk in the quiet streets and take pictures of some of the more impressive villas. The greenery was abundant - palm trees, olive trees, evergreen shrubs.
It was the beginning of September and there were many blooming trees - mostly purple-colored burgens. Buyukada has two peaks where monasteries are located - St. George's Monastery from VI century and the monastery of Christ, which was once a Greek orphanage. Among them is the monastery "St. Nicholas". This presence of Christian holy places has its logical explanation.
By the beginning of the twentieth century the Greeks were a predominantly populous population of the Prince Islands, but later the Turkish presence increased, partly because of the relocation of rich families in the villa zone. Apart from the lovers of the sea and tranquility, the Prince Islands are also a paradise for cats. Generally, these animals enjoy good attitude in Turkey, and Buyukada had the opportunity to see and shoot a lot of them who visibly enjoyed their vacation in the shadows.
Another local attraction created specifically for tourists was the fashion women are made in island with wreaths of artificial flowers in all the colors you can imagine. I never took it, but quite a few ladies took advantage of offering such decorations along the harbor. We had a specially organized lunch for the island beforehand. I wrote in my diary that I liked it, although today, when I look at the menu, it does not impress me so much - seven cold starters (slice of tomato, slice of cucumber, Russian spoon and milk salad, humus, something with hot peppers and blanched spinach), a warm appetizer, a cabbage salad and a lot of lemon carrots, grilled fish and a dessert - a kuefef, which was no different than ordinary cadavers.
Still, it was nice to have lunch by the sea. We left the island at three in the afternoon, part of the group staying on the beach with the idea of taking the ferry at six o'clock. In fact, there was not much room for a beach - during the tour we found only a rocky quay with stairs to the water instead of a golden sand with umbrellas and sun loungers. We arrived at the harbor in Istanbul at five o'clock, charged with positive energy and lots of sunshine.