Bebek is one of the nicest neighbourhoods on the Bosphorus, located on the European side of Istanbul. This fine neighborhood within the Besiktas district is full of expensive waterside apartments, a small bay where yachts are anchored, fancy restaurants and quaint cafeterias which gets very busy especially during the weekends. But Bebek was a distinct area of Istanbul during the late Ottoman period as well, for its wealthy shore mansions surrounded by forests.
Bebek in Turkish means "baby", probabily derived from a Turkish saying "beautiful as a baby", to outline the beauty of a person or of a place. It's also said that the name comes from Bebek Çelebi, the head of the Law enforcement during the times of sultan Mehmed II, who was appointed to this area during the Conquest of Constantinople to control the security. Before the Ottoman era, these lands were known as Challae, Chilai, Khile, Skallia, or Hallai.
The Egyptian Consulate (Valide Pasha Mansion) is a large waterside building in Bebek. It was built in 1902 by the Italian architect Raimondo D'Aronco for an Ottoman minister, than sold to the Egyptian Embassy when Istanbul was still the capital of the Ottoman Empire.
The Bosphorus University is located on the hills of Bebek and is one of the best universities of Turkey. The university was established in 1971 after the conversion from the Robert College, founded in 1863 by an American missionary and named after Christopher Robert. The Robert College still operates today as a highly appreciated highschool and is located between Arnavutkoy and Kurucesme neighborhoods, overlooking the Bosphorus.
Other important and historic buildings or sites in Bebek neighborhood are: Bebek mosque from 18th-19th century, Yilanli Yali (snake mansion) from 19th century, Kavafyan Mansion from 18th century, Ayse Sultan woods and kiosk, Ayios Haralambos Greek Ortodox church from 19th century, Kayalar Mescid (small mosque), Asiyan Park and Tevfik Fikret museum, Asiyan cemetary, Bebek Hotel from 1965, and a small wooden ferry pier. Just passed Bebek and Asiyan, you can visit the impressive Rumeli Fortress.
Several other fine neighborhoods can be found near Bebek, such as Etiler, Rumelihisar and Arnavutkoy.