Kadıköy, or as King Byzas used to call it, The Land Of The Blind

I always wonder where the names of settlements come from. Some of the names are very easy to predict but some are not. Today I want to share the story of Kadıköy’s names. Kadıköy is one of the largest and most populous cosmopolitan neighborhoods of Istanbul. “Kadı” means judge, in Turkish and “köy” means village, so it translates to “village of the judge”. After the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul, Kadıköy was given to Hıdır Bey who was the first Ottoman judge (Kadı). Since then this neighborhood was called Kadıköy.

Before the conquest, its name was Khalkedon which means “The Land of the Blind”. Its story goes back to 667 BC. Byzas from Megara (somewhere in today’s Greece) was sailing to find a land to settle for a colony. He was told by an oracle from the Apollon Temple in Delhi that he was going to settle his colony opposite to the city of the blind. One day he stepped on the peninsula of the Golden Horn which was surrounded by sea from three sides and had a deep and long bay. It was a perfect place for a harbor. He remembered the prophecy and thought that the people of Khalkedon must have been blind not to see this wonderful land and have preferred to build the city on the other side. Since Byzas took the first step in there it has been called Byzantium, or in other words Istanbul.

old istanbul map

Khalkedon was ruled by Persians, Bithynians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders and Turks. After it was badly damaged during the riotous Fourth Crusade, the Ottoman took over Khalkedon in 1353, a hundred years before Istanbul (Constantinople) was conquered. That is also why Kadıköy has the oldest mosque in Istanbul.

Kadıköy is the heart of the Asian side of Istanbul. It is a hub for transportations; ferries, ships, trains, buses, taxis and dolmuşes (minibuses) start their route from here. Kadıköy is also a residential and commercial neighborhood which has many bars, cinemas, bookshops, shops, restaurants and cafes. It has a very lively nightlife. Don’t miss Barlar Sokağı (Turkish for “Street of Bars”). It is very cool place to hangout.

If you visit Istanbul, spend some time on the land of the blind and give your own decision about their blindness. You’ll see they had reasons to settle down there 😉

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