Şile is a city and district in Istanbul, Turkey. According to the 2007 census, the population of the district was 25,169, of which 9,831 lived in the city of Şile, 2,096 in the nearby town of Ağva (Yeşilçay) and 13,242 in surrounding villages. However, between June and September, the population rapidly increases because of the many residents of Istanbul who have summer houses in Şile.
The district of Şile is part of the province (il) of Istanbul, and the municipality of Şile is part of the metropolitan government (büyükşehir belediyesi) of Istanbul. Bordering Şile is the province of Kocaeli (districts of Gebze, Körfez, Derince, Kandıra) to the east and south, and Istanbul districts of Pendik to the south, Çekmeköy to the southwest, and Beykoz to the west. The boundaries of Şile were expanded by the addition of the village of Esenceli from Beykoz district in 1987. Şile consists of Şile, Yeşilvadi and Teke subdistricts, and 58 villages. Popular resort Ağva is also a part of Şile.
There has been a fishing village here since 700 BC and a lighthouse since the Ottoman period. Today, Şile is a beach resort, popular with people who want a resort atmosphere without the expense of travelling to the Mediterranean Sea. Şile is about an hour's drive from the city and was always a retreat from the city. During Turkey's economic boom of the 1990s, a great many summer homes and holiday villages were built for the city's middle class, especially after the 1999 earthquake damaged the Marmara coast. There is a small but sandy beach, a little harbour of fishing boats, dense forest behind and a quiet pleasant atmosphere during the week. At weekends though, and especially on a hot summer Sunday, Şile is crowded with day-trippers from the poorer districts of the city, who come packed into minibuses and vans to picnic and play football. There are a number of bars and restaurants with sea views, especially in the little park around the lighthouse.
İmage: Şile Feneri
Şile is famous for its beaches. However, it is at the northernmost point of Istanbul and thus shares the same sea conditions as other Black Sea towns where strong sea undercurrents can be dangerous to inexperienced swimmers. There is insufficient danger warning and people drown here regularly. The north-facing Black Sea has a much shorter holiday season than the Aegean, the Mediterranean or even the Marmara, due to the cold winters.
Şile Castle (Turkish: Şile Kalesi) is a 14th-century Genoese castle on an island in Şile. The castle was renovated in 2015, sparking criticism that the work had made it resemble the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants or an illustration from the video game Minecraft.
The tomb of a Muslim saint, Kum Baba, is on a tree-covered hill above Şile. Along the coast near Şile in the village of Kızılcaköy is a cave said to be the scene of events in the Anabasis of Xenophon, although this is probably untrue.
Şile is also known for Şile cloth, a crimped-looking, light, see-through cotton fabric, made on the Şile coast, sold in many shops in the town and sent to the bazaars of Istanbul. There is a fair to promote Şile cloth in the town held every summer.
The largest campus of Işık University is located in Şile.