One of the world’s most strategic waterways, Bosphorus is a natural strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara; it is an inundated valley that follows an irregular northeast-southwest course 32 kilometers (20 miles) long, 730-3300 meters (800-3600 yards) wide, 30-120 meters (100-395 feet) deep.
Bosphorus comes from a Tracian word of unknown origin, interpreted in Greek as meaning “Ford of the Cow”, from the legend of “Io”, one of the many lovers of Zeus, who swam across the sea here as a cow chased and continuously disturbed by flies sent by Hera.
Known in Turkish as Bogazici (the Strait), it links the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and, with the Dardanelles Strait (in Canakkale), separates Europe from Asia. It is a former river valley which was drowned by the sea at the end of the Tertiary period. This is a very busy strait with many commercial ships and oil tankers, as well as local fishing and passenger boats. The current flows from north to south; however, a strong subsurface countercurrent with numerous points and coves sets up swirls and eddies that make navigation dangerous to the inexperienced.
The first bridge is streching between Beylerbeyi neighbourhood on the Asian side and Ortaköy neighbourhood on the European side. It was opened in October 1973 and was called as “Bogazici (Bosphorus) Bridge”, then in July 2016 it’s named as “Martyrs of July 15th” dedicated to the victims died during the failed coup attemp of 15th of July 2016. It’s 1074 meters (1175 yards) long, has 6 lanes, and 165 meters (540 feet) high pillars.There are three suspension bridges over the Bosphorus Strait, all of them with a toll:
There are also two tunnels under the Bosphorus:
With the shores rising to heights up to 200 meters (650 feet), lined with palaces, ruins, villages, and gardens, this is one of the most beautiful stretches of scenery in Turkey. The best way of seeing the Bosphorus in all its beauty is to take a trip on one of the coastal boats, in this way you can also admire many of the old Ottoman wooden houses (called as Yali in Turkish). You can also stay in some of the best hotels or eat in some of the best restaurants along its shores during your stay in this magnificent city.
Some of the interesting palaces, buildings or neighborhoods along the Bosphorus are: Galata tower, Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Yildiz Palace, Besiktas, Ortaköy, Arnavutköy, Bebek, Rumeli Fortress, Tarabya, Yeniköy, Istinye, Sariyer, Uskudar, Kanlica, Beykoz, Anatolian Fortress, Kuzguncuk, Beylerbeyi Palace, and Kuleli former Military High school.