We all know the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, its shopping centers and historical monuments. As a large number of people travel to this Turkish city every year to visit it. But in this article, we will talk about one of the natural attractions of this city, which is the Belgrade Forest.
This natural forest is located 15 km northwest of Istanbul and because of its pristine nature and wildlife that attracts a lot of tourists, especially in the summer, this forest can be a good haven to escape from the heat of the city.
To learn more about the Belgrade Forest in Istanbul, read on.
History of the Belgrade Forest in Istanbul
During the period of the Ottoman Empire, the area of this forest was about 13000 hectares.
Although the area of this forest has decreased to 5442 hectares. But those who come to Belgrade for the first time will still be surprised by the vast forests and tall and old trees.
During the reign of Sultan Suleiman, the Belgrade Forest in Istanbul had a very important strategic location, As it was the main source of water supply for the city.
Today, before reaching this forest, visitors become aware of its previous function when they see the historical canals that previously carried water to different parts of the City.
You might be wondering how this forest was the main source of water supply in the city.
To answer, We have to say that the water was originating from several springs and rivers in the Belgrade Forest in Istanbul, and reaching the city using canals.
With the passage of time and the increasing demand, a dam was built in this forest. And today there are 7 dams in Istanbul.
The protected conditions of the forest were applied from the sixteenth century and continued until the twentieth century.
It can be said that such an event is almost unique in the history of Turkey causing the animal species to remain unchanged.
What animals and plants can we see in the Belgrade Forest?
To see the animals you have to go deep into the woods.
If you get lucky, you would see the tranquility of the forest and a weasel emerging from his den for a short hike.
The wildlife situation in these forests has improved since the hunting ban. And when you walk quietly in the jungle, you will hear animals rustling like a weasel coming out of its den for a short hike and walking on dry branches.
And sometimes a snake might crawl on your feet to catch a frog.
You have to wait until late at night to see the foxes and wolves appearing in the remote areas of the forest.
You may also see a wild boar attacking litter in search of food.
But let’s be honest here, there is nothing more enjoyable than watching a deer run slowly through trees.
More than 71 types of birds and 18 types of mammals live in this forest.
As for plants, oak trees make up the largest number of small-leafed trees in this forest, after that the oriental birch, trumpet ray and Anatolian chestnut trees are the main vegetation of Belgrade forests.
What is the best time to go to Belgrade Forest?
Well as mentioned earlier, due to its pristine nature and attractive wildlife, the forest has managed to attract many travelers interested in nature.
Summer is the best time because it is the best option for those who want to escape from the heat of the city.
This forest is a good refuge for those who want to escape in the hot seasons.
There are also many travelers who come to this region in the autumn, especially if you love the world of silence and tranquility.
You have to endure the cold when you travel to this forest in the fall.
When you enter this forest, coldness will greet you, as in spring and autumn, the forest appears with amazing views before your eyes and different colors everywhere.
In the winter season, it is completely different, but the forest still does not lose its beauty.
And you can see the people who came to this forest to walk in its calm and take shelter in the clean and cool forest air.
If you visit this forest after a few days of snowfall, you will fall in love with winter in Istanbul.
Why is this forest named (Belgrade)?
Belgrade is one of the most important cities in present-day Serbia, now why is a forest in Istanbul called after this city?
After the defeat of the Roman Empire and the conquest of Constantinople, the Ottomans felt empowered and contemplated occupying Belgrade, and attacked the city, but were defeated.
This was the second time in the era of Beyazıt that the Ottoman army invaded Belgrade and were defeated again.
Finally Sultan Suleiman conquered the city, and when he returned, in honor of this great victory, he named the forest northwest of Istanbul Belgrade so that everyone remembers this beautiful victory.
Ataturk Arboretum in Belgrade
This is an old botanical garden that was created in 1916 in the middle of the Belgrade forests, the botanical garden is actually a great exhibit for a variety of plant species.
In Ataturk Arboretum, there are more than 2000 species of domestic and foreign plants on a plot of 300 square meters, from famous plants to exotic trees and plants.
Entrance to the Arboretum is also free, the gates of Ataturk Arboretum open all days of the week from 9 in the morning and close at 5 in the evening.
This park is very crowded on weekends, for those looking for silence and tranquility, we recommend midweek for their trip.
Note: Ataturk Park is closed on Mondays
How do you go to Belgrade Forest?
Address: Bahçeköy Merkez Mahallesi, 34453 Sarıyer / İstanbul, Turkey
As we said, Belgrade is located 15 km northwest of Istanbul and the best way to reach it is by car or taxi.
But if you prefer to use public transportation, you can go to Istanbul Hacıosman Metro Station and then take the HM-42 bus, get off, and walk the rest of the way.
If you are a runner, you can take part in Istanbul tours that take you on the weekends and go jogging in these forests.
Forest picnic areas
In 1956, the first picnic area was opened near Nesit Spring and around the dams.
But there are currently seven picnic areas in the Belgrade forests in Istanbul, the most famous of which is Buyuk Bint, a café near the dam that offers biscuits, toast, tea and soft drinks.
We also suggest that you take advantage of the tables available for barbecue in this area and start cooking kebabs yourself, as in the middle of the forest there is a large barbecue area where you can use its facilities.
You can also eat for a small fee.
After eating, a short walk between tall trees and animals and birds can be fun.
Note that there aren’t many devices to control Fire in Belgrade Forest, so make sure you pay enough attention when making a fire.
Rules for visiting Belgrade Forest
Since the Belgrade forest is one of the natural resources in Istanbul and Turkey, environmental officials have enacted laws to protect it, including banning hunting in the forest entirely.
There are parking spaces for your car, which if you go on holidays (Saturday and Sunday) you have to pay 11 liras. And if you want to enter the parking lot on other days of the week, you do not need to pay for entry without a car.
Hiking trail in Belgrade Forest
There is a hiking track in Belgrade Forest in Istanbul, where you can walk slowly or quickly. In which case you have to run a lot.
This path starts from the source of the leak. Tourists line up with plastic bottles to fill them with the spring water and enjoy its pure taste along the 5.6 km road in this forest.
17 sports machines have been installed so you can do some sports along the road you are going on.