Moda: From One End To The Other

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Moda: From One End To The Other

How about taking a walk in Kadıköy's finest district which was home to Turkish Greeks and Levantines in the last century, by making some stops? From its historic streets to monuments of famous writers, here is Moda in eight steps...

1- HALDUN TANER MONUMENT

"Keşanlı Ali" is in Kadıköy once again... Vandalized by unknown persons in recent months, Haldun Taner's bust was renovated and replaced in its original spot. Taner's bust made by Ümit Öztürk, took its place on Mühürdar Avenue in Moda. You can take an in-depth journey into old Istanbul spirit by reading books by famous story writer, playwright, academic and journalist Haldun Taner, such as "Fazilet Eczanesi" (Fazilet Pharmacy), "Şişhane'ye Yağmur Yağıyordu" (It was Raining Over Şişhane), "Yalıda Sabah" (Morning in the Seaside House) and "Ayışığında Çalışkur" (Racket in the Moonlight).

2- NEŞE STREET

In the early 20th century, Moda that boasted beaches and gardens, maintained its summer resort characteristic while becoming a residential area close to the center. Before the large fire in 1950, there were mainly attached houses on the streets opening from Kadıköy to Moda Cape. Old houses with bay windows all alike, formed neighborhoods. In the district which went through a fast urbanization process after the 1960s, today you can see three, four storey high Western style villas in gardens, buildings in distinct and individual styles and multi-storey apartment buildings. Although once famous small hotels as Moda and Mano Palas and most stone houses have become pleasant memories in photographs, traces of the past have not disappeared completely. Frederici House in Moda Cape and Sarıca Mansion on the main street as well as some houses on Ağabey Street survive the architectural character that made Moda. The number of these houses that still stand is no more than a dozen today and aside from those, Neşe Street is one of the unique destinations in Moda. The first street to the right at the start of Moda Avenue, Neşe survives district's authentic spirit with old Istanbul houses and historic trees under which you can enjoy a sparkling cool. Just as Murat Belge said in his book titled "Istanbul Travel Guide": "Without Neşe, Moda would just be another Osmanbey placed on the seaside."

3- YENİ MODA PHARMACY

Have you ever visited a pharmacy decorated with antique furniture where medicines of the past fill nostalgic display windows and soothing classical tunes can be heard? One of the oldest faces of Moda, Yeni (New) Moda Eczanesi (Pharmacy) adamantly refuses to resemble the modern pharmacies of our day. The owner, son of a pharmacist father who takes pride in his father's diploma written in Ottoman that is hung on a wall of the store, says the pharmacy has been offering services since 1902. A display window filled with old medicine bottles, ointments, creams, lotions, tin cans, laboratory vials is to the right when you enter the pharmacy and a collection of old Istanbul photographs by Ferit Safkan adorns the wall on left. Make sure to visit this museum-store for a brief journey into the history of Turkish pharmacy and the nostalgic odor of medicines. Moda Ave, 89/B.

4- L'ASSOMPTION CHURCH

On your way to seaside on Moda Avenue, take Cem Street on the left to find the edifice that could have been a school or an orphanage. This Catholic Church dated 1860, was built in neoclassical architectural style. The church that consists of a prayer hall, living quarters of the clergy, a churchyard and a cultural hall where the congregation gathers, is still the meeting point for local Christian community.

5- VIEWPOINT GARDENS

You are lucky to find a table in Moda's tea gardens in spring and summer months and even luckier if you can find one closer to the sea. Of course, on days when there are no restrictions due to the pandemic... Especially on weekends, many people come early in the day with their magazines, knitting projects, crossword puzzles and enjoy the sea and the sound of seagulls at length. One never gets tired of gazing at the sea, passers-by or the people relaxing on grass. You can even come across a writer, poet, musician or artist who adds color to city's cultural life in these tea gardens, lined up one next to the other which are similar both in service and ambiance... Do not get surprised if you see Turkish writer Buket Uzuner who is a Moda local in the vicinity, with her head buried in a book.

6- MODA SEA CLUB

Moda Deniz Kulübü (Sea Club), referred to as "Moda Sea Bath" by the old locals, is one of the oldest venues in Istanbul focused on sea sports and has social goals. Atatürk held visits to Moda Bay in 1934 and Celal Bayar who embraced his idea that "being on the sea is the maxim of civilization", met with Zeki Rıza Sporel and requested for establishment of a sea club here. Upon this request, Moda Sea Club was established in 1935 led by a committee formed by Turkish and foreign partners and became one of the most vibrant venues in the district in 1950s. Before the pandemic, a live orchestra used to perform during the summer months in the club. In the past, catering was undertaken by famous restaurant of the time, Süreyya. The club that once hosted notable bureaucrats as well as foreign statesmen like Shah of Iran and King of Britain, still continues to offer services with its swimming pool, tennis courts, conference halls, restaurant, cafeteria and sailing unit. Visit modadenizkulubu.org.tr for membership terms and conditions. 

7- HISTORIC MODA PIER

The pier right across Moda Sea Club, was built by well-known architect Vedat Tek in First National Architectural style. In its early years, it was a yachting club established by the British people who lived in Moda, to organize social and cultural events. Later, it was handed over to Moda Sea Club. Until 1986, regular ferry rides were held from the pier which in the past was a meeting point for prominent figures of the period and most notably Atatürk. At the turn of 2000s, it was renovated by the Chamber of Shipping and came into service on July 1st Cabotage Day with the slogan "it does not have a sea view, it is a view for the sea".

8- PROMENADE

The promenade right next to the historic Moda Pier and below old Mühürdar garden that connects Moda to Fenerbahçe, is a place that does justice to its name. The route typically preferred for morning runs and afternoon tea, is refreshing with its flower beds. All we have to do is to enjoy the promenade. 

Three more recommendations…
* Taste the famous ice cream by Ali Usta in Moda,
* Visit Barış Manço's museum house,
* Stay at Dedeman Istanbul, Dedeman Bostancı or Park Dedeman Bostancı hotels to enjoy this route properly. www.dedeman.com

MELİH USLU 
Travel Writer, Managing Editor of FOOD and TRAVEL Turkey Magazine, 
Member of Grand Jury, Hürriyet Seyahat (Travel) Newspaper