Buyukada is 22 nautical miles from West Istanbul Marina
Buyukada (Turkish, meaning “Big Island”) is the largest island among the Princes’ Islands in the Marmara Sea. It covers an area of 5.4 km².
Buyukada was used as an exile destination and as a monastery region during the Byzantine Christian period. The island was also used to exile the close relatives of kings and statesmen who might have threatened their political power. Furthermore, the island was also used as a prision for those who opposed the ones in power. One of the oldest structures on the island was a convent used for the exile of the Byzantine empress and for clergymen who lived in seclusion; however, this structure has not made it to the present day.. Undoubtedly, one of the most interesting exiles to the convent, named Kadınlar Manastırı, was the Byzantine empresses, Irene, who had the monastery built.
One of the most important places of worship of the Büyükada is the Hristos Monastery located at the top of the Jesus peak. Also found on the island are the Ayios Dimitrios Church, located in Kumsal district, where Orthodox Christian islanders hold their grand religious ceremony, a Jewish Synagogoue, located in the Kumsal district, and the Hamidiye Mosque built by Sultan Abdulhamid II (1842-1918) in 1895. Moreover, there are many churches on the island. Two of the churches belong to the Armenians and Latins, and most of the others were built by Orthadox Christians. After Muslims began to settle on the island, mosques were built, adding to the number of places of worship worship drawing the attention of visitors. In adition to these places of prayer, there are several historical holy water springs called “ayazma.” Other eye-catching places on the island are Ayios Konstantinos, Ayia Fotini, Ayia Paraskevi, and Ayios Yeorios.
In 1930, the Treasure of Büyükada, which consisted of 207 coins belonging to King Phillip II, the father of Alexander the Great was found around the Greek Cemetery of the island. It was added to the collection of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. This treasure has a special meaning in terms of revealing new historical facts of the island.