Istanbul H2O


Istanbul meets my good city criteria by having a skyline (not tall buildings per se, but dominated by minarets of mosques), hills, and water.  Lots and lots of water!  But before I show you a couple of views of the waterfront, I thought it would be useful to start by putting Istanbul in context.

Here you can see where Turkey is, a true bridge between Europe and the Middle East (and therefore Asia).

Here you can see where Turkey is, a true bridge between Europe and the Middle East (and therefore Asia).  You can see how the classic Orient Express train route would have run from Paris (well, actually London by train/ferry connection) to Istanbul.

Zoomed in on Istanbul, you can see all of the water around it.

Zoomed in on Istanbul, you can see all of the water around it.  It is also worth mentioning that this location puts Istanbul in prime earthquake territory, as it sits close to faults that mark the boundary between different tectonic plates.

The Bosphorus (also known as the Istanbul Strait) is the critical link, not only separating the city’s parts and Europe from Asia but also serving as the narrowest strait in the world used for international navigation and a key link ultimately between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea (the Aegean Sea links to the Mediterranean, and the Dardanelles strait connects that to the inland Sea of Marmara.

I’ll leave our journey up the west (European) side of the Bosphorus by bus and back by boat to another post, but we did also take a walk along the southern coast on the European side, looking out into the Sea of Marmara, and crossed the wide harbor where the Bosphorus and Sea of Marmara meet.  First, to get to the waterfront, we had to go a long and winding way down through the backside of the old town (Sultanahmet).  Not surprisingly, the oldest part of the city was built on a hill high above the water, near the strategic point where the sea narrows to become the strait.

We new we were getting close to the waterfront when the grade leveled out and a long street of seafood restaurants appeared.

We new we were getting close to the waterfront when the grade leveled out and a long street of seafood restaurants appeared.  The simple circular street light above actually reminds me of the ones we saw in Copenhagen, oddly enough.

This shore is more of a working shore than a pretty one, and is actually pretty removed from the nearby Old Town area.  There are some large ferry ports along the way, serving mostly domestic destinations in Turkey that are along or across the sea.

We did see

Still, it was a pleasant enough walk, as we headed toward the heart of the European city, historic Constantinople – you can just about make out the Asian side in the distance as well.

We enjoyed the wide harbor when taking the ferry across to the Asian side in Kadikoy, where we stayed for our last two nights.

We enjoyed the wide harbor when taking the ferry across to the Asian side in Kadikoy, where we stayed for our last two nights.  The ferry runs every 20 minutes and costs a little over US$1.

Stay tuned for views of the Istanbul waterfront from a few different perspectives!

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Posted on 13/01/2013, in travel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. WOW !! Whatta blog – – thanks for all the info, the stats and the pics – – most interesting

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