The island is called in Turkish Burgaz and Antigoni in Greek, the name originates from Demetrius I, one of the heirs of Alexander the Great who built a fortification named after his father Antigonus. This place has been a favorite island getaway for Istanbul‘s Greek-heritage residents for a century, hence the grand Greek Orthodox Church of St John towering above the town. There are also mosques and a synagogue on the island as well, indicating to the islands’ rich Ottoman mix of populations and cultures.
Unlike Büyükada, which is regularly crowded with visitors, on Burgaz you interact mostly with locals. Throughout history, the islands have welcomed aristocracy, exiled politicians, authors, artists, and minorities, all of whom left their traces on the archipelago.
Like the other islands, Burgazada is secluded and was occupied in the past by ascetics and monks.
The beloved Turkish short-story writer Sait Faik Abasıyanık (1906-1954) lived with his mother on Burgaz from 1939 to 1954, and their house is now in the small, modest Sait Faik Museum, worth a look as it is a period piece.
St. George's Monastery is a beautiful Greek Orthodox Church (Aya Yorgi Manastırı) and a peaceful place on peaceful Burgaz Island. The only mosque of the island is called the Burgazada Mosque and was built in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. The mosque right behind the square when you land at the pier and the church located slightly further, give an idea regarding the island of Burgazada, famous with its Kalpazankaya site offers the best access to the sea on the far side of the island.
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