Bosporus Attractions Bogaziçi
Strait between the Black Sea and theSea of MarmaraLength: 32km/20miBreadth; O.66-3.3km/720-3,600ydsDepth: 30-120m/100-395ftCharacteristicsBosporus comes from a Tracian word of unknown origin, interpreted in Greek as meaning "Ford of the Cow", from the legend of Io, who swam across the sea here as a cow. Known in Turkish as Bogaziçi (the Strait), it links the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and, with the Dardanelles, separates Europe from Asia. It is a former river valley (formerly Haliç valley; see Istanbul, Golden Horn) which was drowned by the sea at the end of the Tertiary period.SceneryWith the shores rising to heights of up to 200m/650ft, lined with palaces, ruins, villages and gardens, this is one of the most beautiful stretches of scenery in Turkey.
By Boat through the Bosporous
Bosporus - European Side
By boat through the BosporusThe best way of seeing the Bosporus in all its beauty is to take a trip from Istanbul on one of the coastal boats which ply along its length, calling in alternately at landing-stages on each side and thus affording a constantly changing panorama. The point of departure is just southeast of the Galata Bridge; the ports of call can be seen on the timetables displayed in the waiting room. Not all boats go as far as Rumeli Kavagi, the last station on the European side (1.75-2 hours). At each station there is a ferry to the other side.Suspension bridge.Past the little promontory of Defterdar Burun and the Duimi Bank (navigational light) to the village of Kuruçesme and the Albanian fishing village of Arnavutköy on Akinti Point, where there is always a strong current.Bebek, in a beautiful bay, with villas and waterside houses (yalis).On a low promontory beyond Boyaciköyü Emirgan are the palaces built by the Egyptian Khedive Ismail (d. 1895).Istinye, with a shipyard.
Tarabya (Therapia), a sizable township in a little bay, known in antiquity as Pharmakeios (Poisoner, after the poison strewn here by Medea in her pursuit of Jason). Pleasantly cool in summer owing to the wind blowing in from the Black Sea Tarabya has numerous houses, where some of the European diplomatic missions have their summer quarters.From the little promontory of Cape Kireç the Black Sea can be seen in the distance.
Büyükdere is a popular summer resort, with a large park. The bay of Büyüdere (large valley) forms the widest part of the Bosporus (3.3km/2mi).10km/6mi northwest is the Belgrade Forest (Belgrat Ormani), with a number of reservoirs.
Sariyer, at the mouth of the wooded and well-watered Valley of Roses. There is an interesting museum, Sadberk Koç Hanim Müzesi (tiles, porcelain, glass, crystal, silver, costumes, jewelry; documents belonging to the Sadberk Koç family), in the old Azaryan Yali. From here a bus or dolmus (communal taxi) can be taken to Kilyos (10km/6mi north), a popular little resort on the Black Sea with a good sandy beach. Then on past the Dikili cliffs.
Rumeli Kavagi, the last station on the European side, below a castle built by Murat IV in 1628. On a hill to the north are the ruins of the Byzantine Castle of Imroz Kalesi, the walls of which once reached right down to the sea and were continued by a mole, which could be linked by a chain with the mole and walls of Yoroz Kalesi on the Asiatic side.In summer the boats usually go on (5minutes) to the resort of Altinkum (Golden Sand), with a restaurant on the plateau of an old fortification (view).The tourist boats continue to the north end of the Bosporus (4.7km/3mi wide) and turn back when they reach the Black Sea. On both sides bare basalt cliffs rise almost vertically from the sea.Between Rumeli Kavagi and the promontory of Garipçe Kalesi is the little Bay of Büyük Liman.
Rumeli Feneri (European Lighthouse), at the northern entrance to the Bosporus, with the village of the same name and an old fortress on the cliffs at the north end of the bay. The dark basalt cliffs to the east are the Cyanaean Islands or Symplegades, the "clashing rocks" of the Argonaut legend.
Besiktas - Ciragan Sarayi
Besiktas; opposite the landing-stage, the Türbe of Kheireddin Barbarossa. Beyond this the massive ruins of the Ciragan Sarayi, a luxurious palace in the same style as the Dolmabahçe Palace (façade 950m/1,040yds long), built by Abdul Aziz in 1874 and burned down in 1910. On the hill above it is the Yildiz Köskü (Yildiz Sarayi), residence of the retiring Sultan Abdul Hamid II.The palace has been restored and is now a luxury hotel.
Above the cypresses of an old cemetery rise the picturesque wall and towers of Rumeli Hisari (European Castle), built by Mehmet II in 1452 (well worth a visit; open-air theater in summer). It commands the narrowest part of the Bosporus (660m/720yds), where the current is at its strongest (Seytan Akintisi (Satan's Stream); fine view. Here Darius built a bridge of boats over the Bosporus in 514 B.C. Ahead the Second Bosporus Bridge spans the river.
Yeniköy (last station for most boats), with delightful villas and gardens. In St George's Church is an old icon of the Mother of God Kamariotissa.
The pavilions are in fashionable English style and are open to the public as restaurants and concert hall. A large collection of shrubs and trees have been planted in the park. There are conifers, deciduous and evergreens in the park.
Ihlamur Kasri in Bosporus displays roses, pampas grass, and usual annuals. Fine trees include limes, Magnolia grandiflora, ginkgos and plane trees in the bed of an old stream.
Map of Bosporus Attractions