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Dikilitaş neighborhood of Zeytinburnu
Dikilitaş neighborhood of Zeytinburnu
Location of Zeytinburnu in Istanbul
Location of Zeytinburnu in Istanbul
Zeytinburnu is located in Turkey
Location of Zeytinburnu in Istanbul
Country Turkey
City Istanbul
 • Mayor Murat Aydın (AKP)
 • Governor Selim Cebiroğlu
 • District 12.08 km2 (4.66 sq mi)
Population (2012)[2]
 • District 292,407
 • District density 24,000/km2 (63,000/sq mi)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Area code(s) 0-212
Website .tr.bel.zeytinburnuwww

Zeytinburnu (literally, Olive Cape) is a working-class neighbourhood, municipality (belediye) and district on the European side of İstanbul, Turkey, on the shore of the Marmara Sea just outside the walls of the ancient city, beyond the fortress of Yedikule. The mayor is Murat Aydın (AKP).


  • History 1
    • Historical Places 1.1
  • Zeytinburnu today 2
  • Zeytinburnuspor 3
  • Towns twinning 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


In the map, "Seytin Burun" is a little cape which originates of Zeytinburnu and settlements in old Zeytinburnu;Balıklı and Yedi-Kuleh koi

Zeytinburnu was known as Kyklobion (Greek: Κυκλόβιον) in the Byzantine period. It was first settled by a community of Greeks who moved out of Constantinople following the Ottoman conquest. The land they occupied was later taken over by the Turkish state.

From the early 19th century onwards Zeytinburnu was an industrial village, centred on the leather industry of the area called Kazlıçeşme, which being on the coast with a good water supply was well suited to leather production. (the area was named for a fountain with a goose carved into the stonework, the fountain is still in existence, but the goose has disappeared). Up until the mid-20th century the residents were an urban mix of Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, Jews and Turks and still today the Yedikule Surp Pırgiç Armenian Hospital is active in Kazlıçeşme, and has a museum in the grounds.[3]

The character of Zeytinburnu changed when a large wave of immigrants from Anatolia came and settled there from 1950 on. Zeytinburnu is an important lesson for city planning in Turkey, because it was one of the first Gecekondu districts. In other words most of the buildings were built illegally, without infrastructure, and without any aesthetical concern. In the 1960s legislation was passed to prevent this type of building but by then this type of development had become unstoppable. At first these were little brick-built single storey cottages. From the 1970s onwards the little houses were replaced by multi-storey concrete apartment blocks built in rows with no space in between. In most cases the ground floor was used as a small textile workshop, and thus Zeytinburnu became a bustling industrial area with a large residential population living above the workshops. All this was still illegal and unplanned and still lacked the infrastructure and the aesthetics. After a heavy rain the streets would run with dirty water for days.

Historical Places


  • Balıklı Holy Spring
  • Balıklı Church
  • Balıklı Greek Trust Hospital
  • Çırpıcı Meadows
  • Kirazlıçeşme Fatih Mosque
  • Hacı Mahmud Ağa Dervish Lodge
  • Kazlı Çeşme (Goose Fountain)
  • Merkez Efendi Dervish Lodge
  • Merz. K. Mustafa Paşa Masjid
  • Perişan Baba Dervish Lodge
  • Seyyid Nizam Dervish Lodge
  • Istanbul City Walls
  • Yedikule Surp Pırgiç Armenian Hospital
  • Takkeci İbrahim Ağa Mosque
  • Yenikapı Mevlevîhane
  • Zeytinburnu Military Hospital
  • Cemeteries in Zeytinburnu

Zeytinburnu today

Tram station (Zeytinburnu), note this is actually a light rail stock

The leather industry has largely moved out to Tuzla now but the rows of six-storey blocks of housing and textiles remains. Although some improvements have been made to the streets and drainage the area still has a reputation for being the home of tough men and uncontrollable youths who drive around in cars blasting out pop music at high-volume. Possibly this is exaggerated nowadays, and steps are being taken to smarten up the area. Most residents are working class, recent migrants from Anatolia, typically lacking in education. However, the younger generations are more educated thus changing the shape of Zeytinburnu.

To integrate the district with the rest of Istanbul, the municipality has improved the transportation by extending the modern tram line to Zeytinburnu, and the main tram station is now at the intersection of the metro line leading to Atatürk International Airport and Aksaray and fast tram lines leading to Istanbul's inter-city coach station and the old city in Eminönü. Moreover, Zeytinburnu has a station on the suburban railway line Sirkeci-Halkalı. Other important projects have improved the transportation, life quality and the economics of the district. Olivium Outlet Center was opened in 2000 [5] , a modern shopping mall with cinemas, but with many shops specializing in factory surpluses, this has brought new shopping opportunities for the people of Zeytinburnu and surrounding districts, it's very crowded at weekends.

There is an Alevi community served by the Erikli Baba Cemevi[6]

There are large minority groups of Kazakhs and Turkmens,[7] who generally work in the textile, clothing industry contributing to the Turkish economy.


Zeytinburnuspor facility; in the foreground a Corinthian column

In the early 1990s a top-flight football team, now languishing in the minor leagues. Arif Erdem and Emre Belözoğlu started their careers here. Matjaz Cvikl, Slovenian National Team player, who died just a few years after played there also.

Towns twinning


  1. ^ "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  2. ^ "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  3. ^ "Official homepage" (in Turkish). Surp Pırgiç Ermeni Hastanesi. 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  4. ^ "Official homepage". Zeytinburnu District Portal. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  5. ^ "Official homepage". Olivium Outlet Center. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  6. ^ "Official homepage" (in Turkish). Erikli Baba Cemevi. 2010. 
  7. ^ "Official homepage" (in Turkish). Easternturkistan Migration Association, Zeytinburnu. 2010. 

External links

  • District governor's official website (Turkish)
  • District municipality's official website (English)
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