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.

The Europen Shore

On  the  European    shore,   once  past  the  Dolmabahce    Palace,   one  reaches Besiktas,  where  once the Turkish  Fleet  lay at anchor,  and where  the mausoleum of its Grand  Admiral  Barbarossa  Hayrettin  Pasa, who conquered  Algeria  in 1516, stands  by  the  Naval  Museum. A little  further  on,  the  Naval  Academy   and  the burned  down Ciragan Palace  comes to view and on your left is the entrance  to the Yildiz Palace,  favourite  residence  of Sultan  Abdullhamid   (1878-1909).   The main road running  parallel  to the Bosphorus,  takes you to Ortakoy,  where  the huge  leg of the Bosphorus   suspension  bridge  spanning  the continents  of Europe  and Asia, was completed  in 1973, coinciding  with the 50th Anniversary  celebrations   of the founding  of the Turkish  Republic.  You pass by the Ortakoy  Mosque  and the Lido, Public  Swimming   Pool  and  some  coalyards,   after  which  you  reach  Kurucesme with  its  pleasant   sea-front   and  a small  island  housing   the  Galatasaray    Sports Club's  Swimming  and Sea Sports Centre.


The curve of Arnavutkoy,  with its tall, elegant  wooden-frame   houses  reminds one  of the  Bosphorus   of  the  18th century.   On  your  left  is the  entrance   to  the wooded  Robert  College  and  the  American   College  for  Girls,  founded  in  1863. The road  leads you to eddying  Akintiburnu,  where the Devil's  Current  runs like a lively  river, mad waves  leaping  high.  Then  the road and promenade  sweep  round to  the  gaiety   of  Bebek.  This  pretty  village,   situated   about  midway   down  the Bosphorus  and stretching  for a considerable  distance  along the European  shore,  is chiefly a luxurious residential area, and the bay serves as a marina for yachts and motor-boats. Once the Sultan had an Imperial Kiosque, a favourite retreat here, where he held secret talks with the Ambassadors.  Now, the Embassy  of the United Arab Republic stands beside the small romantic Mosque. After passing the entrance to the Bogazici Universitesi, the road will lead you past the Rumelihisan Fortress and the graveyard, to the fishing village of the same name, where the Bosphorus reaches its narrowest point. You pass by the hospital and the small rivulet to reach Baltalimam valley, where Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror's grand vizier,  had the naval vessels built for the conquest of Istanbul. A little further  on, the road will take you to Emirgan,  where under the two centuries-old  poplar tree, the waterside street cafe serves tea to thousands of • Bosphorus lovers. On the slope of Emirgan, there is the beautiful  Tulip Gardens and a public park where all kinds of flowers bloom. From there the road winds first to the left and then to the right, and the creek of Istinye appears with its dry- docks in constant use by both passenger ships and freighters and all sorts of sea-craft tied up to the quay.
Once Julia Pardoe described it:
"The beautiful little village of Istenia is situated in one of the prettiest spots on the Bosphorus.  The edge of the water at the base of the dusky chain of hills is fringed with houses and gay with trees ... Crowds of caiques  dance  on the heaving current within twenty paces of the graceful fountain; the transparent nets of the fishermen hang in festoons from the branches;  veiled women come and go with their earthen vessels in quest of the pure water of the village spring; the  wind from  the Bosphorus  as it sweeps  along  the ripple,  awakens  the mysterious music of the leaves which overhang it; the white sails of the passing vessels glimmer in the sunlight."

Then, after going through elegant Yenikoy, most of whose houses overhang the sea with waves beating against their narrow terraces, you pass by the Sait Halim Pasa Yalisi with its two marble lions keeping guard for the players at the Casino.  As the rapid current forces the waves on, passing by Kalender and the Notre Dames de Sion, French School grounds, you reach the old health resort of Tarabya.

This village  which takes  its name from the word THERAPY  is situated around a charming bay, where yachts and all sorts of seacraft seek shelter, and it houses the Grand Tarabya Hotel with its large new conference centre. The hotel is owned by the Government Pension Fund. Tarabya deserves especial mention for serving as the favourite summer residence of the Western European Ambassadors.  The German, the French and the Italian  Embassies have their summer  residences  here, while the British  summer residence,  having burned down in 1911, still stands neglected in a beautiful garden covered with huge magnolia trees.

"On  this  terrace   stand  the  two  ambassadorial    residences;    the  'Palace'   of  the English    legation    being   a  small,   half   ruinous, irregularly     gabled   wooden building, withoutmark or likelihood and that of France, by comparison,  a handsome  and spacious  edifice,  with  a noble garden."  So says Miss  Julia Pardoe.

The road takes you on to the fishing village of Kirecburnu which boasts an excellent  bakery  and  several  sea-food  restaurants,  where  one could  see the entrance of the Bosphorus to the Black Sea; then to Buyukdere, standing boldly , near  the  very junction  of the  two  seas.  It  is  backed  by  a noble  meadow, luxuriantly green, at whose extremity is seen the stately aqueduct of Bahcekoy, Buyukdere extends gracefully along the lip of the shore at the foot of a'sloping ridge, rich with vineyards and gardens. Its houses are light and hadsome, fringing • the Bosphorus for a considerable distance and parted from it only by a stately terrace  of immense  length  and breadth,  the favorite  promenade  of the  the inhabitants.
As Miss Pardoe has pointed out:

"Nothing can be more beautiful than the view from Buyukdere on a summer night,  when  the intense  blue  of the  sky is reflected  by the  waves  of the Bosphorus,  which take a fringe of pearl as they heave themselves gently against the terrace,  and then break away in light; while the moon,  clear and polished like  a silver shield, floods earth  and sea with lustre,  and the stars tremble brightly about her, as though they were too glad for rest."

Buyukdere houses the Spanish and the Soviet Embassises. As you walk along the promenade, you pass by the Sadberk needlework and handicraft Museum, and the famous Kocatas Suyu factory where the spring water of Kocatas is bottled. The promenade  leads  you to Sanyer,  renowned for its fish market  and fish restaurants.  Sanyer  bakery  as well  as homemade  icecream  shops  are  quite popular. Sanyer is also the home of pure, natural drinking water: Hunkar Suyu, Hunkar Suyu, Findik Suyu, Kestane Suyu and Sifa Suyu, all have their sources on its slopes. Beyond Sanyer, one finds Yenimahalle with its romantic, old wooden houses  and pleasant,  colourful  gardens.  The road winds up a slope and the panorama becoms breathtaking, full of movement and interest. The Yuşa Dagi (the Giant's Mountain) is framed in the picture on one side, while in the other direction the Bosphorus, winding betweenits  romantic shores, stretches away as far as the eye can reach, and the horizon mingles with the waves of the Black Sea. A little further on, you come to a small shrine, that of Telli Baba, where women and girls visit to pray for a husband or a baby and drape a symbolic strip of silver tinsel over the tomb - just like people lighting a candle in a church.  From there the road will take you down to  the sea-shore of  Rumelikavagi, where the main occupation of the inhabitants is fishing and rowboat building. Rumelikavak also houses  modest   and  inexpensive   fresh  seafood  restaurants.   The  last  stop  on  the European   shore  of the Bosphorus   is the once quite  famous  Altmkum.   Now  there is a small cafe overlooking  the lonely  "golden  sand" beach.

After  Altinkum,  the military  zone starts and only tourist  ships continue  to the Rumelifeneri   (European  Lighthouse)   on the tip of the north  of the Bosphorus.   On the  Asiatic   shore  the  Anadolufeneri    (Anatolian   Lighthouse)    is  situated   on  the cliffinged  coast  with  an old fort.  On both  sides,  bare  basalt  cliffs,  where  birds nest, rise  vertically  from  the   sea. The width  of the Bosphorus   reaches  4.5 km at the northern  end.

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