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Polonezkoy

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Founded by the Polish settlers in the 19th century on the Asian side of the Bosphorus near Istanbul, Polonezköy, literally the "Polish village", provides a surprising contribution to the ethnic mix of Turkey.

Understand[edit]

A house in Polonezköy

After the November Uprising of 1830 against the Russian Empire in what was then Russian-dominated Poland failed, Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, one of the leaders of the uprising, decided to form communities for his fellow Polish revolutionaries in countries that were friendly to their cause. The first settlers arrived in 1842 and laid the foundation of the village they named Adampol ("Adam's town"), after the prince. During the rest of the 19th century and the early 20th century, more immigrants poured in every time a conflict involving the Poles arose and the population of the village rose accordingly, although it never exceeded the all time (ethnic Polish) maximum of 220.

After the World War I, Poland regained its freedom in 1918, and many of the settlers returned. Those that remained were granted Turkish citizenship in 1938.

While Polonezköy is by no means the only example of Central European revolutionaries taking refuge in Turkey (there were Hungarian colonies in Tekirdağ and Kütahya in the 18th and 19th centuries, respectively, for example), it is the longest lasting one, as about 40 of the villagers (out of a total of around 1,000, which nowadays includes non-ethnic Poles as well) are fluent speakers of Polish, and the local Polish heritage has been vigorously protected.

Thanks to the deep woods surrounding Polonezköy (under protection as a "nature park" since 1996) and the quite "exotic" appeal (according to the Turkish standards) of the village, it is now seen as something of a quick escape from the city by the Istanbulites, arriving in summer weekends in numbers.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Polonezköy is about 25 km from central parts of Istanbul.

From Istanbul’s European side, first cross the Second Bosphorus Bridge (Fatih Sultan Mehmet Köprüsü, usually referred to as FSM Köprüsü or 2. Çevreyolu on the traffic signs). After crossing the bridge, leave the motorway in the first exit, first follow the “Beykoz” signs, after you have left the motorway behind, follow the “Polonezköy” signs you’ll see in every junction.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

  • Village houses with a traditional Polish style.
  • little Catholic chapel which dates back to 1914
  • Church of Matka Boska Częstochowska (Czestochowalı Meryem Ana Kilisesi). Catholic Church

Do[edit]

A trail in the forest near Polonezköy

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

There are many restaurants in the village mainly serving Istanbulites visiting the village for a day in the nature at weekends. Some of them serve traditional Polish meals too. But all restaurants are reported to be expensive, so it may be best to bring your sandwiches from the city and perhaps have a picnic in the park (which contains some beautiful wooden sculptures) situated right in the centre of the village if you are on budget.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

You can stay in Istanbul and visit Polonezköy as a day-trip. If you have an irresistible will to overnight in the village, there are a few guesthouses and hotels here too.

Polka Country Hotel – tel +90 216 432 20 21

Gülayım Hotel (2*) 75. Yıl Caddesi no: 64 – tel +90 216 432 31 34

Connect[edit]

Telephone[edit]

The area code of the village is 216, which it shares with the rest of the Asian side of Istanbul. The area code should be dialed not only when calling from out of Istanbul, but also when calling from the European side of Istanbul.

Go next[edit]

Şile is about a further 40 km away, follow the road passing through the village which eventually reaches the shore of Black Sea.


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