The Bosphorus Strait serves as Istanbul's main highway. A never-ending stream of vessels sail up and down this corridor, day and night.
The Bosphorus means "strait" in Turkish. This 19 mile-long waterway connects the Black Seat to the north with the Sea of Marmara and eventual the Mediterranean in the south. It is Russia's only outlet to the Mediterranean and the only outlet to the ocean for other countries such as Bulgaria.
We arrived at the ferry dock terminal two hours in advance, as advised by Rich Steves' tour book. Our plan was a six hour cruise of the Bosphorus, up and back, with a two-hour lunch stop at the far end.
Finding a seat on port side of the ferry for photography is the goal of every tourist with a camera, so queuing up early on the dock is necessary. A group of tourists pushed in front of us and I remarked to the man next to me that world peace might not be possible until everyone learned how to queue-up. We had a good laugh at that thought!
Waiting for the Ferry
We wondered around the dock taking in the sights and smells. The odor of fried fish wafted from this floating kitchen. Food cooked here was brought to the shore where it was served.
Nazar Boncuk are eye-shaped amulets thought to protect against the "evil eye". A typical nazar is made of handmade glass featuring concentric circles or teardrop shapes in dark blue, white, light blue and black, occasionally with a yellow/gold edge.
The Galata bridge is lined with fishermen.
Underneath the bridge are restaurants and shops. "Balik" means "fish" (far left). I wondered if the fisherman above sold to the restaurants below...
Rich Steves mentions jellyfish and bread floating in the Golden Horn. Yup--still there!
The Economist states that, "...one of the most polluted areas (of the Bosphorus) is the Golden Horn - an inlet of the Bosphorus that suffers high levels of pollution because it has very few currents" (the economist.org). You didn't see anyone swimming in the Golden Horn or the Bosphorus.
The water is a beautiful color however and has nice reflections..
In S.E. Asia the first step in building/remodeling is to surround the building with bamboo scaffolding so that the project looks like a square porcupine.
In Istanbul the first step in building/remodeling is to surround the building with a beautifully printed material so that the project looks like a piece of art.
Inside this wrapping is a mosque under repair.
The short and the tall
The water police
Rumeli Fortress built by Sultan Mehmet II in 1492
There are two bridges across the Borphorus; the longer one is about a mile long and eight lanes wide. These bridges link two continents: Europe and Asia. A third bridge is being planned.
Istanbul stretches for miles along the Borphorus. Looking back toward downtown you can spot enormous buildings.
This restaurant with red umbrellas appeared to be in competition with the restaurant on the left (green umbrells) and the one on the right (yellow umbrellas)
The Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits was a 1936 agreement that gives Turkey control over the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles and regulates the transit of naval warships. The Convention gives Turkey full control over the Straits and guarantees the free passage of civilian vessels in peacetime. It restricts the passage of naval ships not belonging to Black Sea states. During wartime Turkey has the right to close the straits to any vessel.(Wikipedia)
The straits are narrow, have tricky currents and 12 course-chainging bends. As traffic increased, accidents increased. Now local pilots are required and traffic is more strictly controlled by a new radar network. Also oil is frequently carried by pipelines rather than by tankers, reducing oil spills.
Lunch at Anadolu Kavagi
Anadolu Kavagi, is on the east (Asian) side of the Borphorus
Our ferry ends it's north-bound service at Anadolu Kavagi, with a 2 hour stop-over, because turning south and returning to Istanbul
Freighters pass us by nd continue into the Black Sea
We were greeted, as the ferry docked, by a very enthusiast restauranteur who encouraged the entire ferry to eat at his place. It worked--we went and the place was full. The service was rapid and the food good. We had fried mussels which were divine.
We walked around, noting the stray cats. which are fed and tolerated. Cats benefit from their association with Islam in Turkey, where the population is mostly Muslim although the laws and political system are secular. A popular saying goes: "If you've killed a cat, you need to build a mosque to be forgiven by God."
There are two blocks of restaurants in town, waiting for the ferry and charter boats to arrive
Street vendors entice you with samples
In this fishing community you can pick you own fresh fish for lunch.
As I sat on the ferry waiting for its departure I watched this man work. He is using a putty-like substance on the deck
"Gozcu" means watcher or lookout. It was moored next to the ferry pier.
Am I in Ireland or Turkey? A ruined castle...
Have no idea what is happening here. The bags contain something lumpy like shells which one man is opening. another man has a shovel.
Half of Istanbul's radio and television transmitters are on this 1,2000 ft hill
The Ismail Sener has four huge yellow cranes (one visible) for loading containers or whatever. We paralleled this colorful, large ship for several miles.
Back home again
We headed for Hamdi Restaurant after disembarking from the ferry, pausing to look at the pigeons perched on the New Mosque like a string of tiny lights.
The view from the 4th floor restaurant is great.
It also shows rush hour in Istanbul--the mass of cars on the road is similar to the mass of people in the square.
A group of Muslim women, all in grey head coverings.