The Bosporus of Istanbul divides the Asian and European Continents. As a result, Istanbul is the only city in the world which is located on two different continents. The narrowest part of the strait is less than half a mile while the widest part is slightly more than two miles. Depth of the strait changes from two hundred to four hundred feet. The Bosporus of Istanbul connects the Black Sea to Marmara Sea. Marmara Sea is connected to the Aegean Sea by the famous World War One battlefield Gallipoli. Because of the strategical location of the Bosporus, it has always been a mouthwatering strait to control. The empires supervised the strait has left deep traces in the history. When we look back, we can see the strait embellished the capitals of the Byzantium and Ottoman Empires; both lasted more than a thousand years.
What Does Bosporus Mean?
The Bosporus of Istanbul is named after two Greek names meaning bull (cow) and pass. According to the Greek legend, Zeus was dating Io which was converted to a cow or a bull when he was almost caught by his wife Hera on duty. While Zeus was looking for a way to meet his lover, Hera sent a fly to irritate bull-converted Io. Deranged, Io ran across the lands and then swam through the Bosporus of Istanbul adorning it with the world famous name. Greeks also called the end of the strait clashing rocks. This must be because of the fast current on the surface of the Bosporus from the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Considering the row boats and sails of the ancient times, it must be very challenging for those trading boats to pass the Bosporus Strait.
How did the Bosporus of Istanbul formed?
There are many theories behind this question. Most common one is the floods occurred more than seven thousand years ago after the meltdown of the last ice age. Before the meltdown, Black Sea was a sweet water lake surrounded by huge fertile plains. Eventually, the level of the Oceans increased so much that the Black Sea was finally flooded by salty water from the Mediterranean, Aegean and Marmara Seas. During three years, the water level of the Black Sea increased around half foot every day creating a thousand feet salty water layer on top of the sweet waters of the Black Sea. This theory is stronger as the depth of the Bosporus is deeper on the north while it is shallower on the southern entrance. That change in the depth stresses the big flooding water from south to north across the Bosporus.
Today, thanks to the technology, cruising in the Bosporus has many alternatives. Sea taxis, intercontinental ferries, luxurious yachts, private ferries and boats can be seen on the Bosporus throughout the day. Thanks to the beautiful architecture of the sea side mansions of the Bosporus, Bosporus Cruises are one of the most popular activities of tourists. As a result, there are many different ways to cruise in the Bosporus of Istanbul.
How to cruise in the Bosporus of Istanbul?
Private Bosporus Cruise
The most comfortable way of doing a cruise in the Bosporus of Istanbul is renting a private motorboat. You are able to set the timing of the cruise according to your schedule in Istanbul. Especially if you are located in a hotel by the water, they can pick you up from the hotel and you can start the journey right after breakfast or before getting back to your hotel. This way, you will be able to avoid the time spent on the traffic before or after the cruise. Private Bosporus cruises in Istanbul also have different varieties. Majority of the travel planners focus on a 2 hour cruise in Bosporus of Istanbul as the city has too much to give to an explorer. This way, you are able to do something else before or after your cruise. Besides, you are able to hire a boat with a chef on board for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There are many ways to pamper your loved ones as a cruise can be operated with a belly dancer on board or with a nice bottle of champagne during the sunset. Our clients has experienced almost all of the alternatives above since the establishment of our company.
Locally called ‘vapur’ Intercontinental ferries of Istanbul run in between many ports located on both sides of Istanbul. They run frequently from Europe to Asia everyday. The easily accessible ports for a traveler in Istanbul are Eminonu, Karakoy and Besiktas. There are ferries running to the Asian ports such as Kadikoy, Uskudar and Haydarpasa. When you sail in between those ports for a few Turkish Liras, you will be able to see the silhouette of the old city of Istanbul, the Maidens tower and even the façade of the famous Dolmabahce Palace. Since they are ferries for public, a journey will not take longer than 15 minutes but it is the quickest way of seeing the Bosporus for tourists with a very tight schedule.
Shared boats departing on daily basis
Eminonu port is located by the famous spice market of Istanbul. After a walk from the old city of Istanbul to the Spice Market, you can easily use the underpass to cross the street across the Spice Market. You will see the docks of Turyol with a small booth written ‘Bosporus Cruise’ on top of it. For only twenty five Turkish Liras, you are able to sail all the way up the Bosporus Bridge and get back to the same place. The journey will take around ninety minutes and you will be able to see the phenomenal views of Istanbul’s Bosporus Strait. World famous palaces, historical mansions, Meanders Tower and beautiful views of the old city of Istanbul will company you during the cruise.
Municipality's Ferry Lines (Sehir Hatlari)
This public ferry line is recommended for travelers with a more flexible itinerary in Istanbul. Sehir Hatlari ferry will take you all the way up to the black sea and bring you back to the starting point in Eminonu which will last around 6 hours. Every day at 10:35 AM, Sehir Hatlari ferry departs from Eminonu and stops by the ports of Besiktas, Uskudar, Kanlica, Sariyer, Rumeli Kavagi and Anadolu Kavagi which is the last stop for about three hours. The ferry will follow the same itinerary on the way back to Eminonu but a taxi, public transportation or private transfer will consume time and money to get back since the Anadolu Kavagi is located on the Asian part of the Bosporus. As a result, we highly recommend to use that 3 hours to see the Yoros Castle and take a lunch break by the sea front restaurants there.
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