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Yeşilköy is a part of the Bakırköy district of Istanbul. It is located along the Marmara Sea about seven miles west of Istanbul's historic city centre. Before the rapid increase of Istanbul's population in the 1970s, Yeşilköy was merely a village and a sea resort.
Its original name (pronounced Aghios Stephanos, Greek for Saint Stephen) derives from a legend: in Byzantine times, the ship carrying the bones of the saint from Constantinople to Rome was forced to stop here because of a storm. The bones were taken to a church until the sea calmed down, and this gave the name to the church and to the place.
In 1203, on the beach of Agios Stefanos, the Latin Army of the Crusaders landed, which one year later would conquer Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade.
In the 19th century, the whole village was owned by the powerful Armenian Dadyan family, which got it as a gift from the Sultan after they refused to emigrate abroad.
During the Crimean War, the French forces were stationed here, and built one of the three historic lighthouses of Istanbul still in use. Yeşilköy is also where the Russian forces stopped at the end of the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878) and was the location where the Treaty of San Stefano was signed between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. In 1909, the decision to send Sultan Abdülhamid II in exile to Thessaloniki was taken by the members of the Committee of Union and Progress in Yeşilköy.
In 1912, during the Balkan Wars, thousands of soldiers sick because of Cholera were brought here, and about 3,000 of them died and were buried near the train station.
In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Yeşilköy was a favourite coastal resort and hunting place for Istanbul's upper class, and had a mixed population, made of Turks, Greeks, (now almost completely emigrated), Armenians (who still live there in numbers) and Levantines (Italian and French people of Istanbul). As a legacy of the district's continuing cosmopolitan character, an Italian mission, an Italian Catholic church and cemetery, Armenian churches and Greek churches still exist in the area. All the churches are dedicated to St. Stephen.
The village got its present name (Yeşilköy: "Green Village" in Turkish) in 1926, because of the legislation which imposed to give a Turkish name to each community. The name was given by the writer Halit Ziya Uşakligil, who lived here.
Yeşilköy – whose population is mainly affluent - retains some notable examples of wooden Art Nouveau houses built between the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. It has a Marina and beautiful sandy beaches.
Istanbul Atatürk International Airport, formerly known as the Yeşilköy Airport, is located in this district.
Turkish Air Force Academy and Aviation Museum are also in Yeşilköy, where the first air base of the Ottoman Air Force was established in 1909-1911.
Yeşilköy has a station for the suburban railway line between Sirkeci and Halkalı. The first station was built in 1871, and contributed to neighbourhood's boom as a popular resort.
Yeşilköy borders the neighbourhoods of Yeşilyurt to the northeast, and Florya to the southwest.