An ideal place for a weekend to escape the everyday Istanbul.
Literally Polonezköy means “a Polish village” and according to the available sources around 100 Polish people still live there. Previously known as Adampol, it was funded in 1842 by Adam Czartoryski - the Chairman of the Polish National Uprising Government and the leader of a political emigration party. At that time, Poland was partitioned by its former allies at the Vienna victory: Austria, Prussia and Russia – Poland as such did not exist on maps. The Ottoman Empire, however, did not recognise this forceful division and in palace protocol, the place of the Polish ambassador was preserved*.
Until 1960, Polonezköy had been a typical village where Polish alongside Turkish had been spoken. In the second half of the 20th century, though, it changed its character to typically tourist one.
The village has been visited by people like Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1937), Pope John XXIII (as Pope Nuncio), Lech Wałęsa and Aleksander Kwaśniewski.
Now, Polonezköy is a place where Istanbul spends their weekends, far from endless traffic, noise and stress.
A couple of visits made me take to to this place. It is relatively far from Etiler (about 30 km) and getting there requires crossing the Bosphorus which may mean getting stuck in a traffic jam, however so far we have been lucky to get there in about 20 -30 minutes from various locations on the European side.
The recent visit, apart from the breakfast at Leonardo restaurant, involved visiting the “zoo” in the Polonezköy Country Club. A great place for the kids to run around, look at lamas walking pass freely, monkeys, parrots, a python! (luckily, this one didn’t walk, or rather slither around freely J), geese and many other birds. There is a pool, hammocks, playground, a lot of green grass and tables at which one can sit and have a meal.
Entrance fee 20 TL for and adult, 10 TL for a child. The price includes a free non-alcoholic drink.
Leonardo Restaurant – Breakfast first! Yufka, sucuk and cheese. For a start of course
A horse ride
A pool at Leonardo
Then a walk – visiting Dom Cioci Zosi (Aunt Zofia’s House). The backyard looks very Polish indeed.
Peekeing through the window and spotting a book about Lech Wałęsa.
Visiting the “zoo“. Unfortunately, the heat didn’t allow us to stay long enough to check every nook and cranny of the park. But we will next time!
* Source: Sakıp Sabancı Museum http://muze.sabanciuniv.edu/