Bosphorus Cruise Istanbul is a bridge between Europe and Asia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, a position that endows it with one of the most unique and beautiful settings in the world. For, between the hills on the European and Asiatic shores flows the BOSPHORUS, the brightest gem in the diadem of nature.

Bosphorus Through The Ages

Istanbul has no rival anwhere. It spells adventure. It has the ingredients that unite to create glamour, excitement and mystery. Centuries of invaders have been intrigued with this magic and majestic city with its 340 Byzantine columns, 500 mosques, fabulous palaces, fountains, cisterns, baths, churches, wells and covered bazaars. No city on earth has so many old buildings of beauty and distinction.
Istanbul is no myth. Its reality lies in its extraordinary history that goes back through countless phases to the first colonisation in 657 BC by the Megarians who named it Byzantium after ther commander Byzas. The Roman Emperor Constantine elevated Byzantium to the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in the third century AD and renamed it Constantinople after himself. The Turks finally brought the Eastern Empire to an end when burst through the city walls in 1453 and established Constantinople as capital of the Ottoman Empire.

istanbul Bosphorus
istanbul turkey Bosphorus


Istanbul is a bridge between Europe and Asia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, a position that endows it with one of the most unique and beautiful settings in the world. For, between the hills on the European and Asiatic shores flows the BOSPHORUS, the brightest gem in the diadem of nature.

 

'' This beautiful strait, sometimes spelled Bospprus and sometimes Bosphorus, was so called from the earliest ages by the ancients; from the mythology of Io, was the mistress of Jupiter, having passed over it in the shape of a caw. It resembeles the Dardanelles, in lenght, breadth and current, and like it, is a narrow seperation which divides Europe from Asia; but it has many featured familiar to itself. Instead of being a solitary stream running between deserted shores, it is a body water full of life and animation, winding its way through banks covered with palaces and villages, shaded with magnificent forest trees, presenting to the eye, at every mile, a new scene of crowded existence.''

turkey istanbul Bosphorus

The Turks have named this natural channel, dividing the continents of Europe and Asia, while joining the Black Sea to the Mediteranean by way of the Sea of Marmara and Straits of Dardanelles, BOGAZICI, which means '' the inner straits''.

The Bosphorus, Ox-ford English, runs for about twenty miles, at times like a river, at times as if a land-enclosed lake; then, before joining the Black Sea, it becomes a rocky, wild channel.
The Bosphorus breaths calmy and regularly, and flow of caiques eacho the rythm with their slow splashes. Not only does the Bosphorus electrify the travelers by its light, but it also intoxicated him by the white  incandescence  of the sun on its bosom with blue sky pouring into it.

It runs through the city of Istanbul, splitting it into to halves - the city built on seven hills and and described by one of her early foreign lovers, Julia Pardoe;

'' Its clear calm sky, its glittering sea, its amphitheatre of thickly-peopleed hills, its geographical position, its political importance, and above all, its suprising novelty, tend to make everyday in that georgeous scene, and that sunny sky, a season of intense enjoyment. The minaretted city cresting the opposite side of Tepebasi like a deadem, stretches allong in all the splendour of its mosques and palaces; terminated in one direction by the Topkapi Palace, glittering among its sypresses and plane trees, and enclosed within the picturbesque walls which are washed by the blue waves of the Bosphorus. In the distance the bright sea of Marmara dances in the light, bearing a thousand gleaming sails upon its bosom, and its scattered islands heave up their fantastic outline like marine monsters, while Uskudar (Scutari) closes in upon the eye, sweeping gracefully along the edge of the Sea of Marmara, untill it grows into the majesty as it nears the Bosphorus nd flings over the waves of the ''ocean-stream'', the stately shadow of Buyuk Camlica.''

Centuries  later   another   admirer   says  these   of  Istanbul:    "Men   in  immense numbers  in the streets,  few women:  mosques  built  of the finest  materials   most intricately   worked,  their domes  and minarets,   semicircles   and vertical  tangents making  so often  a striking  shape on the skyline;  and in such  large  numbers  that they form a pattern  of great beauty:  crowded  wooden  houses  and narrow  streets, dark  and  worn,  cats  beyond   count,   yellow   bulldozers,    squadrons    of  them, cutting  their way through  decay and preparing  sites for an ambitious  future:  men with  their  backs  bent  double  carrying   even  wardrobes   on  them:  the  muezzin calling  the faithful  to midday  prayer  and getting  a response:   the construction   of fine  university   buildings:   pavement   'factories'    such  as the coppersmiths,    who occupy  the whole  length  of a street  near the Bazaar:   in short  the old traditional life rubbing  shoulders  with the new at every  turn, so that it is hard to be sure in which  century   one  lives ... The  city  once  the  deep  spring-head    of Byzantine culture,  now the pride  and centre of the whole Eastern  Mediterranean  ...

turkey istanbul Bosphorus

"The seaward approach to Istanbul can be a rare experience of pleasure. The first impression is of domes and minarets beyond count, semi-circles and vertical tangents, with three huge buildings dominating a unique and romantic skyline: Santa Sophia, and the Mosques of Sultan Ahmet and of Suleyman. These are surely among the greatest achievements of man in the art of building.

Their architects have raised thousands of tond of stone into the air and enfolded vas volumes of sapace with an ease and grace which are astonishing.


Along a line drawn, starting from a point between Sarayburnu (Seraglio Point) and Kiz Kulesi (Leander's Tower) to a point between the Rumeli and Anadolu Fenerlen (Ligh thouses), the length of the Bosphorus is 29.9 kilometres If you take the Ahirkapi Lighthouse at the southern entrance as the starting point, then the distance of the Bosphorus to the northern entrance is 32.2 kilometres. The total length of the European shore reaches 46 kilometres when all inlets and promontories are taken into consideration including the Golden Hom; while the Asiatic shore between the Anadolu Fener (Anatolian Lighthouse) and Kiz Kulesi (Leander's Tower) is 34 Kilometres long. Its depth varies from 120 to 480 feet in midstream.

A rapid current flows from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara but a counter-current below the surface ca rries saline water upstream. However, scientists agree that the undercurrent carrying the saline waters of the Mediterranean is pushed back by a turbulence since the northern entrance has a graded submarine terrace. Consequently, the undercurrent surfaces and mixing with the rapid flow returns to the Sea of Marmara unable to enter the Black Sea. These counter-currents form eddies adding colur and music to the glorious shores of the Bosphorus. The colour of the soil varies between black and red and the hills are covered with pines, firs, walnuts, horse-chestnuts, mulberry, medlar lime-trees, pomegranates, fig, bay and magnolia trees. However, the smiling shores of the Bosphorus turn reddish purple in spring with the blossoming of Judas trees. Near the entrance to the Black Sea, the volcanic rocks in greenish or scarlet brownish colour were formed at the end of the second Geological Dirision, but we know that the Black Sea took its present form in the PLIOCENE era.. The rocks and fossils found on the remaining sectors of the Bosphorus reveal that the history of the Bosphorus stretches as far back as the DEVONIAN and SILURIAN eras, going back 435 million years.

istanbul Bosphorus
istanbul turkey Bosphorus


The Bosphorus narrows between Emirgan and Kanhca to 790 metres and between Arnavutkoy and Vanikoy to 875 metres. After these points the parallel between the shores disappears. The narrowest point on the Bosphorus is between Rumelihisar on. the European shore and the Mesruta Yali on the Asiatic shore where the width is only 6.98 metres.

At the entrance to the Black Sea, the Bosphorus widens and the distance between the European and Asiatic Lighthouses reaches 4.5 kilometres (3 miles).

Between Y enikoy and Cubuklu it is 1480 metres, and at the entrance to the Sea of Marmara, between Semsi Pasa at Uskudar and Sahpazan on the European shore, it reaches 1675 metres. The broadest part of the Bosphorus is between Buyukdere and Pasabahce, a distance of 3.3 kilometres (2 miles). The slopes of the Bosphorus range between 15 and 200 metres high.

The  highest   point  on  the  European   shore,  where  at  Kocatas   Spring   water gushes  from  its source,  is 235  metres;   on  the  Asiatic  shore  the  Yusa Dag  (the Giant's  Mountain)   is  197 metres  high.   Again,  on the  Asiatic   shore,  the  Kucuk Camlica    is 229  metres   and  the  Buyuk  Camlica  is 262  metres;   Goztepe   lying between  Kanlıca  and Cubuklu  is 280 metres  high.
Bosphorus   derives  its  name  from  Greek  mythology.  Io, daughter  of Ina, first  King  of Argos,  beloved  of Zeus  and  metamorphosed    through  fear  of Hera, his wife,  into  a heifer,  crossed  the Bosphorus   in her  wanderings,   thereby  giving the name  of Bosphorus  to the strait dividing  Europe  and Asia.

For the defence of Istanbul,   the Byzantine Emperors constructed fortifications on the Bosphorus.    Later one of the Ottoman Sultans,   namely BAYAZIT,   the thunderbolt,    had the Anadoluhisan fortress built in 1393 and named it GUZELCEHISAR.    Mehmet,  the Conqueror had the Rumelihisar Castle constructed in ninety days in 1452. After the conquest of Istanbul,   the Bosphorus together with the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea became Turkish inner seas and in the second half of the sixteenth century the Mediterranean was considered a Turkish lake. However, towards the middle of the eighteenth century,  during the decline of the Ottoman Empire and with the ascendancy of  Russia   as  a world  power,   the Bosphorus  gained  a well  deserved  importance   in international   politics.  The Hunkar lskelesi Treaty of 1833 opened the Bosphorus to the Russians and closed it to every other European power.  With the growing influence of the European Powers,  especially after the Crimean War,   rules were codified in treaties of 1841 and 1871 governing the transit of commercial and naval vessels through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles.   After the Ottoman defeat in World War I,  an international commission assumed control of the straits.  However,   after the declaration of the Turkish Republic,   Turkey resumed full control of the straits in 1936 with the signing of the Montreux Convention.

The Bosphorus has an inlet, a natural harbour which is an arm of the Sea of Marmara, called the Golden Hom. It is a deep drowned valle about 7 km long. Two streams, Ali Bey and Kagithane, flow into the Golden Hom which was so named as the early inhabitants saw it as shaped like the horns of a stag or water buffalo.  Turks call it the Halie, i.e. the Gulf.

turkey istanbul Bosphorus

The Bosphorus has an inlet, a natural harbour which is an arm of the Sea of Marmara, called the Golden Hom. It is a deep drowned valle about 7 km long. Two streams, Ali Bey and Kagithane, flow into the Golden Hom which was so named as the early inhabitants saw it as shaped like the horns of a stag or water buffalo. Turks call it the Halie, i.e. the Gulf.

The Bosphorus itself has two pleasant rivulets on its Asiatic shore, called Goksu and Kucuksu which empty themselves into the Bosphorus between the villages of Anadoluhisan and Kandilli.


The two streams flowing into the Golden Hom were named by foreigners athe Sweet Waters of Europe, while Goksu and Kucuksu were known as the Sweet Waters of Asia. "The valley of Goksu, charmingly situated about midway of the Bosphorus and called by the Europeans the Asian Sweet Waters, owes its charm and its popularity to the circumstance of its being intersected by a pretty stream of fresh water, which, after flowing along under the shadows of tall and leay trees, finally mingles its pigmy ripples with the swifter waves of the chaael, The Anadoluhisari or Castle of Asia, stands upon its margin, and painfully recalls the mind to the darker and sterner realities of life; or the visitor to Goksu might fancy himself in Arcadia, so lovely is the locality." Pondering on these words of Julia Pardoe, the traveller feels within him the first premonitory signs by which the heart recognizes the onset of a great love affair. After that first visit in spring one will wander all day long in a delightful daze drinking in the Light and enjoying the beauties of the Bosphorus. Each day will be a brilliant improvisation with full orchestra - the light on the sea, the folliage, the stabbing cypresses and the pink and purple of Judas trees,
Powers in their favour,  for, inst ead of marching into the demilitarized zone,   the Turks preferred to see the new status of the Straits worked'   out at an international conference at Montreux,     where together with the right to remilitarize her own territor, Turkey secured a revision of the clauses governing the passage of ships through the Straits -  this narrow strip of water which,  though it looks at each outlet like the Thames at London, is fact an arm of the sea. Tradition demands that the ships of the Powers should use it as freely as the high seas, but the unusual nature of this particular strip of the high seas makes some modificati on necessary in the interests of Turkey. 

The Montreux Convention permitte d unrestricted use of the Straits to the warships and merchantmen of the Blac k Sea Powers and to the merchant ship of and Power in time of peace.  During war Black Sea warships still enjoyed unrestricted passage, provided they were helping a victim of aggression under the Covenant of the League. In a war in which Turkey was herself a belligerent, full control of the Straits passed to her."
The Bosphorus has an inlet, a natural harbour which is an arm of the Sea of Marmara, called the Golden Hom. It is a deep drowned valle about 7 km long. Two streams, Ali Bey and Kagithane, flow into the Golden Hom which was so named as the early inhabitants saw it as shaped like the horns of a stag or water buffalo.  Turks call it the Halie, i.e. the Gulf..
The Bosphorus itself has two pleasant rivulets on its Asiatic shore, called Goksu and Kucuksu which empty themselves into the Bosphorus between the villages of Anadoluhisan and Kandilli.
The two streams flowing into the Golden Hom were named by foreigners as the Sweet Waters of Europe, while Goksu and Kucuksu were known as the Sweet Waters of Asia.

"The valley of Goksu, charmingly situated about midway of the Bosphorus and called by the Europeans the Asian Sweet Waters,  owes its charm and its popularity to the circumstance of its being intersected by a pretty stream of fresh water, which,  after flowing along under the shadows of tall and leay trees, finally mingles its pigmy ripples with the swifter waves of the chaael,  The Anadoluhisarr, or Castle of Asia,  stands upon its margin,  and painfulj recalls the mind to the darker and sterner realities of life;  or the visitor to Gosu might fancy himself in Arcadia, so lovely is the locality."
Pondering on these words of Julia Pardoe, the traveller feels within him the first premonitory signs by which the heart recognizes the onset of a great love affair. After that first visit in spring oe will wander all day long in a delightful daze drinking in the Light and enjoyingthe beauties of the Bosphorus. Each day will be a brillia nt improvisation withfull orchestra -  the light on the sea, the folliage, the stabbing cypresses and the pink and purple of Judas trees,