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This article is about a district in Istanbulmarker. For the sports club, see Beşiktaş J.K.

Beşiktaş (pronounced ) is a municipality (belediye) of Istanbulmarker, Turkeymarker, located on the European shore of the Bosphorusmarker. It is bordered on the north by Sarıyermarker and Şişlimarker, on the west by Kağıthanemarker and Şişli, on the south by Beyoğlumarker, and on the east by the Bosphorus. Directly across the Bosphorus is the municipality of Üsküdarmarker. Beşiktaş is also the name of the historic center of the municipality.

The Beşiktaş municipality includes a number of important sites along the European side of the Bosphorus, from Dolmabahçe Palacemarker in the south to Bebekmarker in the north. The municipality also includes many inland neighborhoods such as Leventmarker and Etilermarker. Some of its other well-known neighborhoods are Yıldızmarker, Kuruçeşme, Ortaköy, and Arnavutköymarker.


The words beşik taş mean "cradle stone" in Turkish.

According to one story, there was a Byzantine church where Beşiktaş now is with the name Kounopetra, Greek for "stone cradle." The church was built to honor a relic, a stone reportedly taken from the stable in Bethlehemmarker where Jesus was born. This stone was later removed to Hagia Sophiamarker and disappeared during the Fourth Crusade, possibly to be sold in Europe's relics market.

According to another story, a cleric from an Aya Menas (Saint Menas) Church where Beşiktaş now is returned from a pilgrimage to Jerusalemmarker with a cradle-shaped stone used in the baptism of Jesus and placed it in the church.

According to yet another story, the name is a corruption of beş taş, Turkish for "five stones," referring to stone pillars used for mooring ships in the time of Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha.


The Bosphorus has been settled for a long time, and there are many places of historical interest in Beşiktaş. This stretch of the Bosphorus shore is somewhat sheltered from the strong northeasterly winds that bring storms to Istanbul, and thus it forms a good mooring place for ships.

In Byzantine times, the area was called Diplokionion, meaning "double pillar" in Greek.

In ancient times the villages on the Bosphorus shore were isolated communities in the forest that lined the water-side. The Bosphorus, however, was prominent in the history and mythology of the ancient Greeks, and villages like Beşiktaş would have had their place in traditional tales such as Jason and the Argonauts. In the Byzantine era churches and a monastery were built and the tradition of having a summer palace on the Bosphorus was begun by the Byzantines with their Ayios Mamas palace complex.The Bosphorus settlements however, being outside the city walls, were vulnerable to raiders from the Black Seamarker coasts and little of this architecture or the statuary that would have decorated it so gloriously has survived.

In the Ottoman period, once the emperors had established control of the Black Sea coasts the Ottoman navy was docked in the Bosphorus and the Bosphorus villages became safe and attractive again. One man in particular, the legendary sailor Barbarossa, built his palace and mosque in Beşiktaş, making it his home. By now Beşiktaş was an established Bosphorus crossing for caravans trading across Anatoliamarker and along the Silk Road, and of course for the great Ottoman armies.

This coast was of course very attractive to the Ottoman rulers, who built hunting lodges and then great palaces in the area, and the Beşiktaş district contains some of the most important and attractive Ottoman buildings. The area was thus the scene of great intrigues of the late Ottoman period such as the dethronement of Sultan Abdülaziz at Dolmabahçe Palacemarker in a coup in 1876, the announcement of the founding of the Ottoman parliament in 1908, and the deposing of Sultan Abdul Hamid II at Yıldız Palace in 1909.

Following the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1924, the Ottoman ruling family was deported and the palaces and mansions along the coast were emptied out. Some were given to new government ministries, some used as schools and other public buildings, other were pulled down.

Today, it is widely accepted by the residents of the municipality that the most significant resident of Beşiktaş was Zübeyde Hanım, the mother of the Turkishmarker national hero Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who lived in the old quarter at the core of Beşiktaş municipality, literally right next to the then headquarters of the Beşiktaş J.K..


The neighborhood gives its name to Turkey's oldest sports club, Beşiktaş Jimnastik Kulübü (Beşiktaş Gymnastics Club), founded in 1903. The club's football team is one of the top three in Turkey and has won 13 Turkish Super League titles and participated five times (1997-98, 2000-01, 2003-04, 2007-08, 2008-09) in the UEFA Champions League. The club's 33,000-seat BJK İnönü Stadiummarker is on the Bosphorus seafront southwest of the center of Beşiktaş, and on match days the area is very crowded with football fans.

The football team wears black and white shirts and is nicknamed the Black Eagles. The club has earned notoriety for its faithful fans, who have broken volume records with 132 decibel cheers.

Beşiktaş J.K. also has basketball, volleyball, and other sports teams.

BJK Akatlar Arena is the home of the basketball team.


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