The Princes islands stand offshore Istanbul, in the south-east Marnara. Called the princesī islands as they were favoured resorts of the Byzantine princess, tey are 18-28 kms away from the city. Still Istanbulīs resort, they can be reached via boats from both Kabatas and Eminonu. There are 5 small and 4 large islands in the group, five of which are inhabited and may be reached by boat. They are covered with the summer houses. Only horse drawn phaetons and donkey plie the islandsī roads. The boats visits the island in following order.
1,3 square kms , this is the island closest to Istanbul. It has a distinctive band of reddish cliffs along the shoreline, giving its Turkish name meaning "henna". There is a Byzantine monastery on the Island which housed a number of princes and noblemen among the devotees. Some traces of the original walls of the monastery still stand on the hilltops of the Island.
This island covers 1,5 square kms. The remains of two Byzantine monasteries are known on the island. On the site of the present willage church originbally stood a building founded by the empress Theodora in 842 A.D. It was here that the patriarch Methodius was imprisoned for seven years. The highest point of island is 165 mts and possesses a fine view.
Covers a area of 2,3 square kms. Once known as Chalkitis (cooper island) as it possessed a cooper mine, its present name is derived from its shape.The pine covered island has many hotels and restaurants and is a pleasant place for holiday. There were monasteries on each of three hills of the island. That on the northernmost hill, the monastery named Holy Trinity, was probably founded in 850 A.D. and was rebuilt in 1844 by the Patriarch Germenos IV. Today it is a seminary, possessing an important library and reowned Iconostasis.On the east of the island, where once stood the ancient Panagia Camariotissa monastery, and orthodox orphanage was later founded. Later the Turkish Naval School was founded here in 1942.
Measures 5.4 square kms. and is the largest and best known of the islands. Reowned for its fine climate, pleasant woods and beached, it possesses a number of resorts. Known in ancient times as Pitiusa, it has two hills, which are covered with gum cistus shrub. The hill on the north, Isatepe is surmounted by the monastery of Christ, built in 1547. At the top ot the southern hill, at a height of 203ms, is the monastery of Hagia Georgos (Aya Yorgi), where the remains of a monastery probably dating to 6th century can still be seen.