It was called Chalcedon in ancient times when Greeks from Megara came in the area in 685BC, 18 years before they do the same on Byzantium (at the other side of Bosphorus). It was also known as city of the blind because the prophecy wanted Byzantium to be built opposite the city of the blind because the people that settled at Chaldedon didn’t see the value of the area at the other side around the Golden Horn(Keratios Kolpos in greek). Many conquered Chalcedon over the years, including Persians, Romans, Arabs, crusaders and Turks (in 1353, 100 years before they conquered Constantinople!).
The centre of Kadıköy today is the transportation hub for people commuting between the Asian side of the city and the European side across the Bosphorus. There is a large bus and minibus terminal next to the ferry docks. Ferries are the most dominantly visible form of transport in Kadıköy, and the central market area is adjacent to the ferry dock.
Kadıköy (Turkish pronunciation: [kaˈdɯkøj]; ancient and Byzantine Chalcedon) is a large, populous, and cosmopolitan district of İstanbul, Turkey on the Asian side of the Sea of Marmara, facing the historic city centre on the European side of theBosporus. Kadıköy it is also the name of the most prominent neighbourhood of the district, a residential and commercial area that, with its numerous bars, cinemas and bookshops, is the cultural centre of the Anatolian side. Kadıköy became a district in 1928 when it seceded from Üsküdar district. The neighbourhoods of İçerenköy, Bostancı and Suadiye were also separated from the district of Kartal in the same year, and eventually joined the newly formed district of Kadıköy. Its neighbouring districts are Üsküdar to the northwest, Ümraniye to the northeast, Maltepe to the southeast, and Kartal beyond Maltepe. The population of Kadıköy district, according to the 2007 census, is 509,282.
Kadıköy is an older settlement than those on the Asian side of the city of İstanbul. Relics dating to 5500-3500 BC (Chalcolithic period) have been found at the Fikirtepe Mound, and articles of stone, bone, ceramic, jewelry and bronze show that there has been a continuous settlement since prehistoric times. A port settlement dating from the Phoenicians has also been discovered. Chalcedon was the first settlement which the Greeks from Megara established on the Bosphorus, in 685 BC, a few years before they established Byzantium on the other side of the strait in 667 BC. Chalcedon became known as the ‘city of the blind’, the story being that Byzantium was founded following a prophecy that a great capital would be built ‘opposite the city of the blind’ (meaning that the people of Chalcedon must have been blind not to see the obvious value of the peninsula on the Golden Horn as a natural defensive harbour). Chalcedon changed hands time and time again, as Persians, Bithynians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs,Crusaders, and Turks passed through the area, which was badly damaged during the riotous Fourth Crusade and came into Ottoman hands in 1353, a full century before İstanbul (Constantinople). Thus, Kadıköy has the oldest mosque in İstanbul, built almost a century before the conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
At the time of the conquest, Chalcedon was a rural settlement outside the protection of the city. It was soon put under the jurisdiction of the İstanbul courts, hence the name Kadıköy, which means Village of the Judge. In the Ottoman period, Kadıköy became a popular market for agricultural goods and in time developed into a residential area for people who would commute to the city by boat. The population was the typical Ottoman İstanbul mix of Armenians, Greeks, Jews and Turks. Kadıköy has several churches (Greek, Armenian, Serbian, Catholic, Protestant) and synagogues.
Kadıköy has many narrow streets filled with cafés, bars and restaurants, as well as many cinemas. Süreyya Opera House is a recent redevelopment of the same named historic movie theater..
The market area is mostly closed to traffic and contains a wide variety of fast food restaurants serving toasted sandwiches, hamburgers and döner kebab. Many students go to this area to buy large sandwiches called ‘maniac’ or ‘psychopath’. There are also traditional Turkish restaurants and patisseries, bridge schools, bars with live jazz, folk and rock music, as well as working class tea and backgammon houses.
Behind the center lies a large shopping and residential district winding uphill to the Bahariye Caddesi pedestrian zone. This area was transformed during the economic boom of the 1990s and many new bars were opened.
Kadıköy’s entertainment is generally not of the affluent type. It has a more working class ambience; therefore, it is easier to find food of the like of kebab, kokoreç and fried mussels than haute cuisine, though Musa Dağdeviren’s Çiya is found here.
Kadıköy does not have as much nightlife as Beyoğlu (where nightlife also continues much later into the night), nor does it have Nişantaşı’s style of shopping or the Bosphorus for nightlife. Instead, it is often considered a cheaper alternative but may still be regarded as vibrant.
Kadıköy is a busy shopping district, with a wide variety of atmospheres and architectural styles. The streets are varied, some being narrow alleyways and others, such as Bahariye Caddesi, being pedestrian zones. Turkey’s biggest food market is there, starting next to the Osman Ağa Mosque, and has an immense turnover of fresh foods and other products from all around Turkey, including a wide range of fresh fish and seafood, olive oil soap, and so on. There are also modern shopping centres, most notably the large Tepe Nautilus Shopping Mall behind the center of Kadıköy, and pavements crowded with street vendors selling socks, pirated copies of popular novels, and other products. In the streets behind the main post office, there is a large number of well-known bookshops selling both new and second-hand books, craft-shops and picture-framers, and a number of shops selling music CDs and related ephemera such as film posters and t-shirts. Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music is sold in the arcade namedAkmar Pasajı, where associated items are also sold. On Sundays this area becomes a large second-hand book and music street market. Being a crowded shopping district, Kadıköy has many buskers, shoe shine boys, glue sniffers and schoolchildren in the streets selling flowers, chewing gum and packets of tissues.
At the top of the shopping district there is an intersection, with a statue of a bull, called Altıyol (Six Ways), where a road leads to the civic buildings and a huge street market called Salı Pazarı (Tuesday Market). The working-class residential districts of Hasanpaşa and Fikirtepe are located behind the civic buildings.