Adalar - History

History

During the Byzantine period, princes and other royalty were exiled on the islands, and later members of the Ottoman sultans family were exiled there too, giving the islands their present name. They were taken by the Ottoman fleet during the siege of Constantinople in 1453. During the nineteenth century, the islands became a popular resort for Istanbul's wealthy, and Victorian-era cottages and houses are still preserved on the largest of the Princes' Islands.

The islands have become more and more ethnically Turkish in character due to the influx of wealthy Turkish jetsetters, a process which began in the first days of the Turkish Republic when the British Yacht Club on Büyükada was appropriated as Anadolu Kulübü, for Turkish parliamentarians to enjoy Istanbul in the summer. The islands are an interesting anomaly because they allow for a very rare, albeit incomplete, insight into a multicultural society in modern Turkey, possibly alike to the multicultural society that once existed during the Ottoman Empire in places such as nearby Istanbul/Constantinople. Prior to the 1950s, each of the inhabited islands had significant communities of ethnic minorities of Turkey, which is only the case to a much smaller extent. Since the vast majority of the residents and visitors are Turkish, today their legacy is of cultural rather than of demographic importance.

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