Belgrad forest is one of Istanbul’s most famous spots attracting many visitors hoping to escape the city’s heat and crowd during summer and fall. If you are one of the people interested in The Belgrad forest and plan on taking a trip down there, keep reading this article to learn all about this beautiful natural resource.
History of Belgrad Forest
Belgrad forest was named after the siege of Belgrade in 1521 by the Ottoman emperor, Sultan Suleiman, in order to honor his victory over Serbia, thousands of Serbs were transferred to Istanbul after this victory, and during this time, the Belgrad forest had a very important strategic role because it was the main source of water for Istanbul. You can still see the ancient water canals that used to carry water from several springs and rivers to the city. Years later, several dams were built in the forest to help supply the demand for drinking water.
Location and how to get to the Belgrad forest
Belgrad forest is located 15 km northwest of Istanbul. During the Ottoman period, this forest was about 13000 hectares, and today it covers an area of about 5400 hectares. The best way to get to the forest from the city would be by taxi or car. Although if you choose to use public transportation, you can use the underground metro and the bus to get near the forest and walk the rest of the way. You can visit the forest on your own or join tours from Istanbul. You can even find tours that take you on the weekends and go jogging in the forest with the group.
Weather and wildlife
There are about 71 types of birds and 18 types of mammals that live in the Belgrad forest. You can’t see the animals in the picnic areas. To see the animals, you have to walk deep into the forest. You can see bears, foxes, wolves, or deer in the trees.
The main vegetation of Belgrad forest contains trumpet ray and Anatolian chestnut trees, but the most common type of tree in the Belgrad forest is oak trees.
Since Belgrad forest is one of the natural resources of Turkey, the forest has been protected by environmental officials from the 16th century until this day to protect the animals and the vegetation. Due to these special conditions, there are some rules that you have to follow if you plan on visiting the Belgrad forest, like the prohibition of hunting in the protected area.
There is a parking spot near the forest which is free during the week, but if you enter the parking on weekends or holidays, you have to pay a small fee. There is also an admission fee you have to pay to enter the park.
When to visit Belgrad forest
The best and most popular time to visit the Belgrad forest is during the summer, especially if you plan on escaping from the heat and noise of the city. Although you can visit the forest all year round, you have to be prepared to endure the cold weather if you plan on visiting the forest in the winter to see the beautiful snowy nature.
What to do in the Belgrad forest
Visitors enjoy doing various activities in the Belgrad forest, including hiking, exploring the forest, camping, bike riding, riding horses, and having barbecues in the forest. You can find many touristic spots in the Belgrad forest, including game and fitness spots and parks located within the woods that are home to various animals and plant species. You can find a hiking track in the Belgrad forest where you can walk or jog along the forest, and you can discover taps along the way to fill your water bottle and sports machines to work out on.
You can find many picnic areas inside the forest. There are currently seven picnic areas inside the Belgrad forest. You can find restaurants and cafes in these areas or enjoy cooking your own meal on the barbecue tables in the forest, although you have to be careful about making fires in the area to protect nature.