Princes' Islands

Thomas Allom (1841)

The islands are nowhere this craggy or dramatic. Allom's vision is so Romanticized as to be imaginary. Compare this photograph, which was taken in 1880 from a spot nearby also on Büyükada.


The earliest-known name given to this archipelago is Demonisia–Isles of the Demons. Due to the presence of a large number of monasteries during Byzantine times, they came to be known as Popodonissia–Isles of the Monks. The islands were remote however and in time, the Orthodox Church began dispatching its more troublesome priests to the monasteries on Kinalı and Heybeli islands. This practice was adopted by the Byzantine court, and the islands became a place of exile for members of the royal family whose disposal was not otherwise expedient. Some of these were princes and it was because of this that they became known as the Princes' Isles (Isles de Princes) in Europe. Under the Ottomans, the islands ceased to be a place for exiles of this sort. (Not for lack of troublesome princes, mind you; they were just dealt with in other ways.) As a result, the term "Princes' Isles" has no Turkish counterpart.


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