The Bosphorus is a 31km/20miles long strait between Asia and Europe, linking the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Its average depth is 50m/ 164 ft and its width varies between 1 and 2.5 km / 0.5 and 1.5 miles. Its narrowest part (700m / 2.300 ft) is situated between the Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses. Because the level of the Black Sea is a little higher than that of the Marmara Sea, this causes strong currents on the surface and under water. Another current is caused by the difference of salt rate between the two sees.

Two suspension bridges link the two shores: “Atatürk Köprüsü” inaugurated in 1973 and “Fatih Mehmet Köprüsü” inaugurated in 1988.
Map 1

A boat (vapur) ride on the Bosphorus must be experienced to discover another aspect of the city. Palaces, beautiful old wooden houses called “yalı”, luxuous villas, numerous fish restaurants line both shores.

Built on a natural rock, “kız Kulesi” (Maiden’s Tower) is a lighthouse loctated at the mouth of the Bosphorus. According to the legend, a sultan learning that his daughter would die poisoned, built a tower to confine her there, in order to protect her. But a snake hidden in a fruit basket brought by her servant bit her...
Recently opened as a restaurant, the Lighthouse can be reached from the Asian side of Istanbul by shuttle boats located at Üsküdar, in the past better known by the Westerners under the name Skutari.



The Golden Horn (Haliç) is an arm of the sea and a natural harbour prized ever since ancient times. Its name comes from its shape and from the colour of the surface of the water at sunset. The Orthodox Patriarchate (St George church) is located at Fener where it was established in 1586. The beautiful wooden building, which was rebuilt in 1837, was destroyed by a fire in 1941.
Map 2, C 1

The Greek school

In Balat are the old Jewish quarters. From Eyüp, through interesting Ottoman cemeteries, a path leads to the top of a hill from where Pierre Loti, an officer of the French navy who lived in Istanbul at the end of the 19th century (read his novel called “Aziyade”), loved to contemplate the Golden Horn. There is a superb view from the Café Pierre Loti and watching sunset from here should not be missed.

The Golden Horn separates the old town in the South, from the new town in the North.
Map 4, B 2

Eyüp cemeteries

Café Pierre Loti