Growing up on small island in the Pacific Northwest, I was spoiled by the natural beauty of the region. However, when I moved to the bustling concrete jungle of Istanbul, I realized that my natural surroundings are more than something I appreciate, but something I need. It took me too long to find a natural refuge from the chaos of city life, but ever since I discovered Yildiz Park, I have flocked to this beautiful green hillside whenever I was consumed by the desire to be surrounded by nature. For a lovely Sunday afternoon, we took a bus to Besiktas and walked past students, couples and tourists before entering the grand gates of Yildiz Park. Formally, the palace gardens and hunting grounds for the sultans who inhabited the ornate Dolmabahce Palace, it is now a public park that is always full of life. On Sundays, it is overflowing with families and friends who flock to this prized piece of urban greenery for a picnic. We love walking along the paths and up the steep hill. Sitting at the top of this hill sits a wonderful cafe where you can order tea, read your newspaper and enjoy the scenery. It is the perfect way to spend an afternoon outdoors in Istanbul.

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An Afternoon at Yildiz Park


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