BREAKING NEWS Car of missing North Iowa man contained human remains Full Story

Inside Istanbul's 'plague islands'

Just 90 minutes from downtown Istanbul, the Princes' Islands have provided refuge to those fleeing plagues, kept watch over exiled royalty and now offer respite from city life.

Posted: May 9, 2020 4:01 PM
Updated: May 9, 2020 4:01 PM

Like many places around the world, Turkey has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 100,000 cases have been registered in the country, with the vast majority recorded in Istanbul.

But this isn't the first time Turkey's largest city has been devastated by an outbreak of disease.

Around 540 CE, Istanbul, known as Constantinople at the time, fell victim to one of the worst outbreaks of the Black Death, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people each day.

When it was hit by another outbreak in the 16th century, many fled the city, some choosing to take refuge in Princes' Islands, located about a 90-minute boat ride from central Istanbul.

Island escape

It's easy to see why this cluster of nine islands in the Sea of Marmara would've seemed like the promised land while the city was being ravaged by another pandemic.

Not only do the idyllic islands, of which Buyukada and Heybeliada are the best known, offer a respite from Istanbul's frantic energy, time actually seems to move slower here.

In fact, first-time visitors would be forgiven for thinking they'd been transported back a century on the ferry ride over.

While Istanbul's busting streets are teeming with traffic, on the islands cars are banned and the pace is a great deal slower.

Princes' Islands remains a popular haven for those keen on escaping the city today -- albeit for very different reasons.

Those who visit come to take in the islands' beautiful landscapes, marvel at its pretty 19th-century wooden houses, as well as the Ottoman-style architecture of Buyukada and Heybeliada, to ride bicycles and to sample great local food.

Idyllic refuge

The islands were a place of exile for dethroned royalty during the Byzantine era, which is where their name comes from.

They later became a refuge for religious minorities, particularly Christians, and holds a number of historic religious monuments.

In fact, one of Buyukada's most popular sights is the sixth-century Aya Yorgi church and monastery.

Situated on top of the island's highest hill, it offers up fantastic views of Istanbul and beyond.

In Heybeliada, the magnificent Ruhban Okulu, once a theology school run by the Eastern Orthodox Church's Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, stands surrounded by pine trees.

While the striking structure shut its doors as a school back in 1971, it remains open to visitors.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 135372

Reported Deaths: 2406
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin34290991
Ramsey14168361
Dakota9897138
Anoka8872150
Washington598672
Stearns588344
Scott342934
Olmsted327730
St. Louis302669
Wright254115
Clay232843
Nobles227616
Blue Earth20457
Carver18207
Sherburne171122
Kandiyohi17055
Rice164810
Mower152917
Winona126019
Chisago10402
Crow Wing103522
Lyon9766
Benton9509
Waseca9299
Beltrami9017
Otter Tail8737
Todd8266
Steele7613
Morrison7429
Nicollet73917
Itasca73617
Douglas7083
Freeborn6844
Polk6734
Le Sueur6315
Martin61317
McLeod6024
Goodhue59711
Watonwan5794
Becker5754
Isanti5615
Pine5490
Carlton4441
Chippewa4443
Mille Lacs41315
Hubbard3962
Dodge3940
Wabasha3840
Cass3775
Pipestone35117
Rock3404
Meeker3313
Brown3243
Unassigned29253
Yellow Medicine2856
Murray2833
Cottonwood2820
Redwood28111
Roseau2650
Fillmore2640
Renville25611
Sibley2543
Wadena2393
Faribault2350
Jackson2151
Kanabec21510
Swift2071
Houston2061
Pennington1951
Lincoln1840
Stevens1841
Aitkin1792
Koochiching1704
Pope1610
Big Stone1410
Lac qui Parle1403
Wilkin1374
Marshall1261
Lake1230
Norman1170
Mahnomen1162
Clearwater1140
Grant994
Red Lake782
Traverse570
Lake of the Woods441
Kittson420
Cook170

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 116514

Reported Deaths: 1643
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk19024288
Woodbury724797
Johnson586230
Black Hawk562698
Linn5591132
Dubuque521157
Scott456639
Story401018
Dallas346344
Pottawattamie324744
Sioux244716
Buena Vista226112
Marshall202036
Webster184415
Plymouth166728
Wapello153062
Clinton149226
Muscatine147758
Des Moines139610
Cerro Gordo137726
Crawford136114
Warren12617
Carroll115612
Jasper111234
Henry10675
Marion101810
Lee95610
Tama94837
Delaware78013
Dickinson7417
Wright7271
Boone7239
Mahaska69724
Bremer6779
Washington66211
Harrison65815
Jackson6333
Benton5902
Lyon5537
Clay5354
Louisa52315
Winnebago49719
Hardin4777
Winneshiek4779
Hamilton4754
Cedar4746
Kossuth4690
Poweshiek45911
Buchanan4544
Jones4474
Floyd43711
Emmet43019
Clayton4233
Iowa4109
Page4060
Mills4053
Cherokee4032
Sac3994
Guthrie39515
Cass3903
Butler3832
Fayette3814
Franklin38118
Shelby3732
Allamakee3719
Madison3623
Chickasaw3611
Clarke3523
Humboldt3253
Hancock3204
Palo Alto3142
Grundy3115
Calhoun3094
Osceola2851
Mitchell2811
Howard2709
Monroe25911
Monona2451
Taylor2432
Jefferson2391
Union2314
Appanoose2273
Pocahontas2262
Fremont2061
Lucas2056
Ida1932
Greene1870
Van Buren1802
Davis1784
Montgomery1787
Adair1701
Keokuk1611
Decatur1500
Audubon1481
Worth1450
Wayne1213
Ringgold882
Adams810
Unassigned110
Rochester
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 17°
Mason City
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 23°
Albert Lea
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 21°
Austin
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 20°
Charles City
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 23°
Tracking plenty of sunshine through the week!
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Could your credit score have gone up during the pandemic?

Image

Car of missing man and body found in pond

Image

Sara's Evening Forecast - Tuesday

Image

Keith Ellison on Voter Rights

Image

Project Lifesaver

Image

First Responders Brush up On Search and Rescue

Image

Searching for Rochester's next City Administrator

Image

Local schools conduct Kid Elections

Image

Silver Lake Dredging Project

Image

Contact Tracing to stop the spread

Community Events