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