Between Istanbul and Izmit, motorists must choose between the fast new toll road and the coastal highway. On the motorway there is only the occasional glimpse of the Izmit Golu to relieve the monotony. Gebze, Libyssa and Hereke are on or near the coast road where traffic is heavy and there are often long delays. Almost all long-distance coaches go by the motorway. Some local buses from Istanbul go to places on the coast road.
As another option: Visit the city of Bursa, once the capital of the Ottoman Empire, with the difference of Istanbul Bosphorus Tours on day trip (to bursa from istanbul) that starts with a 2-hour ferry ride from Istanbul.
In Gebze, the ancient Dakybiza, is the Byzantine fortress of Eskihisar which was part of a defensive system protecting the eastern approach to Constantinople. In the house of the late 19C artist, Osman Hamdi Bey, there is a collection of his paintings. The area has mooring facilities and yards where boats may be wintered. The early 16?
Orhan Gazi Camii and the later Coban Mustafa Pasa Camii merit a visit.
The Carthaginian general Hannibal, wearied by years of warfare, retired to nearby Libyssa in his sixty-fourth year. However, he was not allowed to end his days in peace. In 183 BC Quinctius Flamininus demanded that Prusias I of Bithynia deliver his former friend and ally to Rome. Craven Prusias agreed to this demand. Warned by a noise of the stealthy approach of his would-be captors, Hannibal decided not to be taken alive and took poison. According to Plutarch, in his final agony he cried out, 'Let us ease the Romans of their continual dread and care, who think it long and tedious to await the death of a hated old man'.
A signpost points to the putative site of his tomb, on a windy height above the Izmit Golu in a large grassy clearing surrounded by cypress trees. A single marble shaft c 2m long is all that remains of the funerary monument. At noon on Whitsunday, 22 May 337 Constantine the Great died in the castle of Ankyrion at Hereke. Nothing remains of this building where, newly baptised by Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, and dressed in white he quietly awaited his end. Mehmet II the Conqueror died in the nearby village of Hunkur Cayre. Famous in Ottoman times for the quality of the fine silk fabric produced there, it is still a centre for the sale of silk carpets.