Besiktas, the opposite side neighbor to Uskudar, one of the soldiers in welcoming troops to those who enter the Bosphorus...
When viewed from the sea front, it will definitely catch your eye just across the Dolmabahce Palace with its dock and its high and shining statue which was built in recent years... Besiktas is one of the most central districts of Istanbul as well. Once you are in Besiktas, you are sure to reach any spot in Istanbul.
Whether by boat, or by bus, or minibus or by taxi... The age of Besiktas documents its ancient history, though not comparable to the seniority of Istanbul itself. Throughout history, one of the people who had talked about Besiktas and its surroundings is Dionysos of Byzantine. Besiktas which, in that period, had a very different structure compared to today, was a forest. Today's Dolmabahce was then a cove as seen in its name. (Dolmabahce in Turkish means "filled garden").
Theorizing on what Dionysos tell, it is thought that Arheion he mentions is Besiktas. Besiktas region (Arheion) which had Emperors' summer houses, docks and indeed one temple, is described with hills and a river flowing between them towards north. In reality, today's Ihlamurdere Street, is an ancient river bed. (Ihlamurdere = Ihlamur Stream)
There are many theories on the root of the name "Besiktas". One of the most notable dates back to famous Ottoman sailor, navy commander Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa (In western world, Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa is known with the name "Barbarossa". This name was given to him because of his red beard). According to the theory, the name of Besiktas comes from Bestas (Bestas = Five Stones). And these five stones are the five stone columns Barbaros built to tie the ships to the land...
Besiktas earned an identity for being a residence area in Ottoman period. Most influential factor in residence in the Bosphorus is climate. Especially the coast's being open to hard weather currents from the north and the south and the humidity created by the sea requires the buildings by the coasts to be protected. This means expensive construction. Ottomans preferred wooden construction for reasons of being cheap, easy to construct and restorate.
This type of buildings' being suitable only for summer residence on the coast caused emergence of a special type of architecture called "yali" in the history of the Bosphorus extending to 20th century. The main residence was on coves, valleys, and south skirts of hills where are less effected by hard weather currents. Besiktas was developed in this nature. Besiktas was the first residential area to rise in the coasts of the Bosphorus.