The Bosphorus is one of the most remarkable straits in the world, the object of admiration of tourists and the pride of the inhabitants of Turkey, including those who are forced to cross it every day on dangerously crowded ferries. Thirty kilometers of salt water separate Europe from Asia and connect the Black and Marmara seas. The width of the Strait varies from 660 to 4500 meters, and the depth – from fifty to several hundred meters. Its name comes from the Greek myth of Zeus ‘ beloved IO, whom the Thunderer, saving from the wrath of his jealous wife Hera, turned into a cow. She jumped into the water of the Strait, running away from the chase, and since then it has been called the Bosphorus, which means “Cow crossing”. Later, Jason visited here, who went in search of the Golden fleece.
Brief tourist description of the Bosphorus
Every year, up to 80 thousand cargo ships, oil tankers and ocean liners pass through the Strait, and for local residents and visitors to Istanbul, it is a vital transport artery. Passenger ferries and sea trams run from shore to shore down and up the Strait, giving their passengers the opportunity to admire from the water the beautiful Imperial palaces, ancient fortresses, small fishing villages and wooden yalis, houses on the beach, many of which are in a dangerous dilapidated state. Despite its pollution, there are many fish in the Bosphorus, from swordfish to the anchovy-related small fish hamsi. Seafood is served in numerous restaurants in villages all along the Strait.
In order to go on a trip to the Bosphorus and its coastal villages, you will need a schedule of ferries vapur tarifesi, which can be purchased at the pier and tourist information centers of the city, tokens for travel, several bus tickets or travel ticket akbil. Ferries run frequently, but if you will be late for their last flight, you can go back by bus or dolmus (taxi). And those and others go on to the Asian and European coast of the Bosphorus from one village to another.
Part of the European shore of the Bosphorus is within the city limits, the first bridge over it is located on the outskirts of Taksim and commercial Istanbul, and beyond Ortakoy the landscape becomes more diverse. Two of the nicest villages on this side, Arnavutkoy and Bebek, are particularly popular with the wealthy and carefree public responsible for the growing commercialization of the once unassuming vacation spot.
Further North are the villages of Sariyer and Rumeli, famous for their wonderful fish restaurants. To the West of Sariyer lies the forest of Belgrade. It is more difficult to get there, but the journey is worth the effort, as it is the closest to Istanbul quiet countryside with forests. On the European side of the Bosphorus there are several ferry piers, and from Eminonu along the coast to Rumeli Kavagi runs a very convenient bus number 25-A.
The road along the coast from Ortakoy leads to the North and runs under the first two Intercontinental bridges over the Bosphorus. The construction of the nearest of them, the Ataturk bridge, one kilometer long, was completed in 1973, to the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the Republic of Turkey. A couple of kilometers from the bridge is Arnavutkei, one of the most wonderful villages on the Bosphorus coast, especially if you look at it from the sea. It is famous for its yalis, standing at the water’s edge wooden mansions with moorings for boats. The Greek taverns and wooden houses of its streets are also noteworthy.
Bebek and its surroundings
Bebek (Turkish for child) is the beginning of real Bosphorus luxury. From it to Sarier stretch the magnificent, dear yalis. From Arnavutkoy to Bebek can be reached in fifteen minutes. The road goes along the Park on one side and the sea on the other, so there are always a lot of bathing children and sunbathers. The townspeople come to Bebek to eat ice cream in the Central square of the village, which is also a gathering place for Bicycle parties of children of wealthy parents. You can also have a look at other daily İstanbul tours in order to see Bebek.
The Asian coast
On the Asian tour in shore of the Bosphorus stretched vast suburbs and completely unknown to tourists villages. On the way to Anadolu Kavagi, the last stop of the tour of the Bosphorus and the last village on this side of the Strait, the ferry enters only a few settlements. They are easier to reach by buses from Uskudar, which depart from its main bus station in front of Iskele Jami and the pier. The most convenient is the bus number 15-D, which throughout the route from Uskudar to Anadolu Kavaya goes along the road along the shore of the Bosphorus.
2-3 kilometers on the road along the coast by bus or dolmus from Uskudar you will find Kuzguncuk. From here there are ferries to Besiktas, there is a good fish restaurant Ismet Baba, which is one of the old authentic institutions that are so difficult to find today on the Bosphorus. The restaurant offers a wonderful view of the Ortakoy mosque on the other side of the Strait, and lunch of meze (about 20 species), fish of the day and crayfish cost 30-40 Turkish Lira per person.
The main attraction of the next village, Beylerbey, which stretches for half a kilometer along the shore on the other side of the first bridge over the Bosphorus, is the beylerbey Palace. This 19th-century marble building was the guest house and summer residence of the Ottoman sultans. After his visit in 1869 by Empress Eugenie told me to copy it to the window in his Palace of the Tuileries in Paris. Beylerbey Palace is still very popular with tourists from Europe and all those who are delighted with the pretentious luxury of Dolmabahce. You can attend Bosphorus Cruise in order to see Beylerbeyi.