Halic was the natural harbor of Istanbul during the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Halic, also known as the Golden Horn, was also located at the intersection of traditional trade routes. The goods brought by caravans from the Silk Road were exported to Europe from the port in the Golden Horn.
Today, the Golden Horn stands out as a waterway that separates the Historical Peninsula from Beyoğlu. While there are old districts such as Sultanahmet and Eminönü in the Historical Peninsula to the south of the Golden Horn, there are relatively more modern districts such as Karaköy, Galata, and Cihangir in Beyoğlu to the north.
The history of the Golden Horn dates back to the times when Istanbul was an Ancient Greek colony. Istanbul was founded in the 7th century BC as a city-state called Byzantion. This first settlement in Istanbul was roughly where the Topkapı Palace is today. The Golden Horn, which separates Istanbul's two important pieces of land (Fatih and Beyoğlu), is like a horn. While watching the Golden Horn from the hill where the palace is located today, the inhabitants of this city during the Ancient Greek period noticed that the water was shining due to the sun and named it the "Golden Horn".
The Golden Horn has served as a natural harbor throughout history as it is surrounded by land on three sides. Goods from the traditional Silk Road and Spice Road trade routes were exported to Europe from the port of Galata. The Genoese and Venetians, who were experienced seafaring tribes, carried out this operation.
The Venetians lost their privileges because they betrayed the Byzantine Empire during the Latin Invasion of 1204. After the recapture of Constantinople from the Crusaders in 1261, all commercial concessions were given to the Genoese. They also built the Galata Tower to secure the port at the entrance of the Golden Horn. After the conquest of Istanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmet did not want to disrupt the working order. For this reason, similar privileges were granted to both the Republic of Genoa and the Republic of Venice. Thus, the traditional Silk Road trade continued.
There is a considerable Byzantine heritage in the districts of the Golden Horn. Especially most of the churches dating to the late Byzantine period can be seen here. On the other hand, the greatest number of historical artifacts on both sides of the Golden Horn were inherited from the Ottoman Empire.
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