I first visited Yildiz Park about a week ago when some friends and I found ourselves with an open evening and access to a car. We decided to do some exploring around Istanbul, and the first stop was the park, which is one of the largest green spaces remaining in the city. I had never been, but had heard of it, and Yalda assured me it was beautiful, but no account was able to do justice to the area that has since become my favorite place in Istanbul.
It was a short drive from our apartment in one of the busiest parts of the city, and when we passed through the gate and entered the walls of the park, it was like crossing into another world. The sun was setting as we drove along the winding roads, with glints of light flashing between the leaves and foliage. The air was cool and clean, and breathing in I could smell the grass and flowers. Even in the twilight, the surrounding nature was bold and beautiful. The trees were tall and healthy, the grass was lush, and the flowers were colorful. It was, honestly, as close to home as I’ve felt in any of my experiences abroad, and I fell instantly in love.
We found a small cafe and sat for a while talking and drinking çay. We could have been a million miles away from the city. I cursed myself for not bringing my camera, but it was dark enough that it probably wouldn’t have been very useful, plus I knew I’d want to return anyway. I asked Yalda how I could get to the park without a car and found out that, like most things in this wonderful city, all it takes is a bus. I woke up the next morning and went straight back.
Because Yildiz Park is so large, I’m not sure I covered everything, but I spent many hours there and certainly covered a lot of ground. There were several other people there, but the size of the area allowed for plenty of space, so it never felt crowded, and there were many stretches of trail that I had completely to myself. I walked and took photos for a while, then had an early dinner at a cafe in the park before settling on a patch of grass to read. It was a beautiful day, and I hope to spend many more like it in my beloved Yildiz Park!