Princes' Islands

Princes' Islands

Prens Adaları (Adalar)
Statue of Atatürk in Büyükada, the largest of the Prince Islands in the Sea of Marmara, to the southeast of Istanbul.
Statue of Atatürk in Büyükada, the largest of the Prince Islands in the Sea of Marmara, to the southeast of Istanbul.
Location of the Princes' Islands (Adalar district) in Istanbul
Location of the Princes' Islands (Adalar district) in Istanbul
Princes' Islands is located in Istanbul
Princes' Islands
Princes' Islands
Location of the Princes' Islands (Adalar district) in Istanbul
Princes' Islands is located in Marmara
Princes' Islands
Princes' Islands
Princes' Islands (Marmara)
Coordinates: 40°52′N 29°06′E / 40°52′N 29°06′E / 40.867; 29.100

The Princes' Islands (Greek: Πριγκηπονήσια, Turkish: Prens Adaları; the "princes" are plural, meaning "Islands of the Princes") or Kızıl Adalar ("Red Islands") in Turkish, officially just Adalar ("Islands"), are an archipelago off the coast of Istanbul, Turkey, in the Sea of Marmara. The islands constitute the Adalar district of Istanbul Province. The mayor of the Adalar district is Atilla Aytaç (CHP).

They consist of four larger islands, Büyükada ("Big Island") with an area of 5.46 km2 (2.11 sq mi), Heybeliada ("Saddlebag Island") with an area of 2.4 km2 (0.93 sq mi), Burgazada ("Fortress Island") with an area of 1.5 km2 (0.58 sq mi), Kınalıada ("Henna Island") with an area of 1.3 km2 (0.50 sq mi), and five much smaller ones, Sedef Adası ("Mother-of-Pearl Island") with an area of 0.157 km2 (0.061 sq mi), Yassıada ("Flat Island") with an area of 0.05 km2 (0.019 sq mi), Sivriada ("Sharp Island") with an area of 0.05 km2 (0.019 sq mi), Kaşık Adası ("Spoon Island") with an area of 0.006 km2 (0.0023 sq mi), and Tavşan Adası ("Rabbit Island") with an area of 0.004 km2 (0.0015 sq mi).

Tourism and transport

The historic Splendid Palace Hotel (1908) in Büyükada.

During the summer months, the Princes' Islands are popular destinations for day trips from Istanbul. As there is almost no motor traffic on the Islands, the only transport being bicycles and horse and cart, they are more peaceful than the city of Istanbul. They are just a short ferry ride from Istanbul, with ferries departing from Bostancı, Kartal and Maltepe on the Asian side, and from Kabataş on the European side. Most ferries call in turn at the four largest of the nine islands: Kınalıada, Burgazada, Heybeliada and, finally, Büyükada. Ferry and ship services are provided by six different companies.

In spring and autumn, the islands are quieter and more pleasant, although the sea can be rough in spring, autumn and winter, and the islands are sometimes cut off from the outside world when the ferry services are cancelled due to storms and high waves. During winter, with the addition of the biting cold and the strong winds and the resulting ferry cancellations, the islands become almost deserted. As for cultural tourism, Büyükada happens to have the first and only city museum in İstanbul, the Museum of the Princes' Islands in Aya Nikola Bay.