Çamlica Hill is located within the borders of Üsküdar district, on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, near the first suspension bridge. Camlica, a place with two hills overlooking the Bosphorus and the Marmara Sea, is one of the most favored promenades in Istanbul, and also one of the highest and most charming places in the city. It's divided into two sections as "Büyük Çamlica" and "Kücük Çamlica", meaning "Big" and "Small". Buyuk Camlica is 267 meters above sea level and the other one is 228 meters.
Camlica got its name from the pine trees in the area (Çam means Pine in Turkish). First settlers turned the entire region into a pine forest, which survived not only the Roman period but also the Byzantines. According to the book of Turkish historian Ismail Hakki Konyali, in ancient times both Camlica hills were covered with pine trees so thick that no sunlight could shine through them. There were also wildflowers in all colors and poppies.
Ottoman Sultans had a high interest on Camlica. Murat IV ordered to build the first Summer residence here. Mehmet IV, who was given the nickname "Hunter", built a hunting lodge. The area of the spring water in Buyuk Camlica was also upgraded during his reign. During the reign of Selim III, Camlica became a recreational place, together with the enjoyments in the Bosphorus and Kagithane.
During the Ottoman period, Camlica Hill and some other hills in Istanbul were also used for training birds of prey, such as hawk, falcon and peregrine. Ivaz Fakih, whose grave is in Camlica, was a religious person and a peregrine breeder during that time and the hill was handed to him as Peregrine Grooming Place for the first time, and later to Dogancibasi's and Sahincibasi's, heads of falcon and hawk breeders.
The German emperor Wilhelm II has strolled and admired Camlica during his visit to Istanbul by the end of 1800's. He asked Camlica Hill from Ottoman sultan Abdulhamit Han for raising a monument here, but Abdulhamit kindly refused him telling as an excuse the existence of the tomb of Ivaz Fakih, who is admired by the Turks. After this refusal, Keiser Wilhelm II has ordered to build the German Fountain in the Sultanahmet Square as a gift to the sultan.
Camlica has also an important place in Turkish literature. Many poets and authors of the Administrative Reforms (Tanzimat) age, and also other literature figures who lived in later years have mentioned Camlica in their works.
Today, With its traditional snack "Gozleme", ice cream and corn on the cob, with its kiosks, fountains, tea and coffee shops and restaurants operated by the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul (abv. IBB), surrounded by historic trees, great flora, colorful flowers and tulips, and with a cool breeze, Camlica attracts many local and foreign visitors enjoying the magnificent panorama of the Bosphorus and the city. The hill is also one of the best locations in Istanbul where the migrating birds can be observed. Bird-watchers from all around the world come here especially in September and October or in the Spring time to watch the birds.
Lately there is a big project is carried out around Camlica hill to build one of the biggest mosques in Istanbul.