Heybeliada, which is Istanbul’s largest island after Büyükada, is also a frequent destination for tourists coming to Istanbul. It’s called as ‘Heybeliada’ because when looking at this island from a distance, it seems like a bag put down the ground.
The island, which is one of the most popular places among the holiday resorts of Istanbul, is famous not only by with its nature, its clean air and its beauty, but also with its historical structures attracting visitors such as Bahriye, Sanatorium, Denominational School.
Information about Heybeliada
Today, it is estimated that the population of Heybeliada is about 7 thousand. However, in the summer, its population increases with the summer vacationers coming to the island. It is also possible to say that Heybeliada’s the summer population has exceed 50 thousand people, when the number of one-day visitors is added.
The famous traveler Evliya Çelebi noted that in the Ottoman Empire, there was a Bostancıbaşı and a few Subaşı soldiers in Heybeliada and that the income obtained from this island was allocated to Chief Admiral.
Like in the all other Istanbul islands, ferry services to Heybeliada were started only in the mid-nineteenth century. In this island in which rich Greeks lived predominately, the Turkish population was started to increase because of the marine. The population of Adana was 800 in 1820, but after the start of the ferry voyages, this number has risen to 2000. Like the other islands, after the Independence War and the exchange, Heybeliada was calmed down. But in the 1950’s, it started to regain its vitality.
The tomb of Ahmet Rasim, who was one of the most famaous writers in Istanbul, is located in Heybeliada. However, Ahmet Rasim had never wrote any works related to Heybeliada. Ahmet Rasim’s nephew, Yesari Asım’s song called ”We used to go for in the moonlight in Heybeliada” is famous much more than many things in Heybeliada. Aziz Nesin and Zeyyat Selimo also mentioned a lot of things about Heybeliada in the works.
Places To See In Heybeliada
The width of the island is 2,700 meters and the length is 1,200 meters. The island, consisting of 4 hills, located in the midst of Istanbul islands.
The highest hill is Degirmentepe with 136 meters high. The other hills are Taşocağı, Makarios and Ümit. Ümit Hill whose former name is Priest Hill, is 85 meters high and denominational school is located on it.
There are also the port of the island. Pine harbor and Bahriye harbor are the most important ones. The most important structure of the island are Navy School, Aya Ofemya the Holy Spring, Turkey’s first sanatorium, Heybeliada Sanatorium, The high school named Heybeliada famous resident writer Hüseyin Rahmi Gurpinar, Abbas Halim Pasha Kiosk, religious buildings and official buildings such as Denominational School.
In this island, the tours are organized with donkeys and cars in the summer on the two tours road. (One is called ‘Big Tour’ the other one is called ‘Small Tour’.)
The small tour is also known as ‘Lovers Tour‘. Like other islands of Istanbul, In Heybeliada, there is no motor vehicles. You can also wander this island by bicycle.
Heybeliada Denominational School
The Heybeliada Denominational School, also known as the Aya Triada Monastery and Halki Denominational School, is located at Ümit Hill in the northwest of Heybeliada, covered with pines. The history of Heybeliada shows that the Denominatonal School is a very important building.
Sources say that the monastery was firstly established by the Patriarch of Istanbul, St. Fotios in the 9th century. In this respect, every year, the 6th of February, which is the festival of Orthodox faith is celebrated as the foundation holiday of the monastery. The monastery is dedicated to the Holy Trinity of the Christian (Aya Triada). In 1063 the Byzantine Emperor Katerina Komnini donated a manuscript Bible to this monestery. On this Bible, Heybeliada (Its Greek name “Halki”) was used in the expression of Aya Triada Monastery.In this regard, the Denominational School is also known by these names.
In 1844, for the first time in order to train Orthodox clergy. A theology school was opened within Aya Triada Monastery with the supports of Partick IV. Germanos.
During the years when the school was opened, there was a great need of clergies who had been well educated for Ortodox people living both in Istanbul and within Ottoman Empire or out of Ottoman bounds, could best perform their religious duty by combining modern science and technology At some point, the reforms in the Western churches and the clergies growing up with this culture, have forced the establishment of such a school. Therefore, Heybeliada Denominational School was integrated with Aya Triada Monastery from its opening in 1844 until its closing in 1971.
In the rich library of the monastery, today, over 120 thousand books were recorded. Apart from theology, the books of Greek and Latin classics, Byzantine and Roman history, church architecture, churches, law, archeology, art history and other valuable books are included in the collection.
How to go to Heybeliada
You can reach Heybeliada with the ferries departing from Kadıköy, Bostancı, Eminönü and Kabataş. At the same time, it is possible to go to Heybeliada with the motors departing from Bostancı Pier. The schedules vary according to the seasons within the year and the number of excursions is increased on weekends.
Heybeliada Ferry Hours
It is possible to reach Heybeliada by sea through many different businesses. Below you will find a list of the relevant lines of these businesses, which have different line services. We recommend that you check the current tariff information for the most convenient line on your website before traveling as the tariffs are changing in summer and winter months.
The City Lines
The City Lines continue on the island expeditions from the direction of Beşiktaş and Eminönü due to the two-year restoration of the Kabataş Pier. The current line information for the City Lines island excursions is as follows:
Beşiktaş – Heybeliada – Büyükada Line
Beşiktaş – Kınalıada – Burgazada Line
Eminönü – Kadıköy – Island Line
Bostanci – Island Line
Bostanci – Büyükada – Sedef Island Line
IDO carrying passengers from Beşiktaş to Adalar, took a break from 2017 excursions. As of April 2018, the excursions will start again. The current line information is as follows:
Beşiktaş – Kadıköy – Islands Line
Bostanci – Islands Line
Bakırköy – Islands Line
The Bakırköy-Adalar excursions, which are only held on Sundays during the winter season, held on Saturdays and Sundays in spring periods; every day during summer season. You can check the Turyol website for the excursion information.
Büyükçekmece – Islands Line
The excursions organized only in the summer, are organized as one-round trip depending on the passenger density.