Kartal is a district of Istanbul, Turkey located on the Asian side of the city, on the coast of the Marmara Sea between Maltepe and Pendik. Despite being far from the city centre, Kartal is heavily populated now. (total population of 407,865) (2000 census). Total land area is 147,000 m² which includes some countryside areas inland. Her neighbours are Maltepe the west, Ümraniye and Kadıköy the nortwest (due to Ferhatpaşa quarter passed from Maltepe to Samandıra in 2004), Sultanbeyli the north and Pendik the east.
The centre of Kartal was a fishing village on the Marmara shore during the Byzantine Empire called Kartalimen, and was founded at the beginning of the 6th century. In the 11th century the town was conquered by the ruler of the Seljuks, Suleiman Shah, and then in 1329 Kartal became part of the Ottoman Empire (However the Byzantines re-took this city in 1403 and held it for 17 years).
By 1947, Kartal was an industrial area and with the introduction of commuter trains to Haydarpasa Terminal from Gebze in 1973, Kartal became even more important as an industrial area of Istanbul. There are about 400 large and middle sized factories, 1,300 workshops and over 1,200 shops and offices in central Kartal including the northern part of the district called Samandira. More than 40,000 people are employed.
The current trend is that as more and more housing is built near the coast, factories there are being closed down and moved inland. For example the large cement factory on the shore, which is to be converted into a cultural center, was closed in 2003.
Living in Kartal today
Kartal is on the sea and there are ferries to Adalar (Princes' Islands) and to Yalova. But most people travel by road, it is easy to get from Kartal to both the E5, the main road from Anatolia to the Bosphorus Bridge, and to the TEM, the huge motorway which crosses the Bosphorus via the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge. Also the coast road from Tuzla to Bostanci is another important route. And finally Sabiha Gokcen International Airport at Kurtköy, Pendik is 15 minutes away. And finally when the Marmaray project is completed it'll be possible to get to European side of Istanbul by light train. An initial stage, a light train between Kadiköy and Kartal is planned to begin running in 2008.
With all these transport options Kartal is becoming heavily populated despite being far away from the centre of Istanbul. Luxury apartment complexes have been built on the coast, along with much more housing inland and this has attracted more shops and infrastructure. There are a number of well-known private and state schools in the area, including Kartal Anadolu Lisesi, one of the few German-language high schools in Istanbul. And the housing is of good-quality in general making Kartal a nice area to live. If you don't mind a long commute. Building near the coast slowed down after the 1999 earthquake, when people became very aware that a major faultline runs just off this coast. However building on the high ground inland is proceeding apace and Kartal is projected to be a major urban and industrial area by the 2020s.
The people of Kartal are largely working or lower-middle class and in recent years have voted for the Islamic AKP.
The park around Ayazma Fountain in Yakacik is a popular picnic spot for Kartal's people.
Behind the coast the land rises sharply up to Yakacik Hill, "The balcony of Istanbul", and Aydos On these hills the land is fertile and has a mild climate. The coast of Kartal has sandy and clay soils, whereas the northern part of the district is mostly silica. On the Yakacik Hill, there are limestone and quartz deposits.
Waters: The streams of Pasakoy, Kavaklidere and Findikli feed the reservoir behindOmerli Dam.
The name "Kartal" is the Turkish word for "Eagle".