Ortakoy is a interesting, chic neighbourhood on the northern European side of Istanbul. It is north of Dolmabahce and just south of the Bogazici Koprusu (Bosphorus Bridge).
Right on the waterfront of the Bosphorus (Bogazici/Istanbul Bogazi), it includes Ortakoy (Buyuk Mecidiye) Mosque and is home to vibrant eateries, cafes, bars, and neat shops. It has a beautiful setting along the water with restaurants, cafes, and a park along the water, with beuatiful views of the bridge. It also has many atrratctive buildings, old and new.
It is a hub of nightlife, but in the day, it is a great spot to find something to eat in a rather hip area with a great view.
On Sundays, there is a very popular, busy street market here with numerous vendors selling kebaps, gozleme, stuffed potato (kumpir), and much more.
There is also a park with a playground for kids!
The mosque itself is stunning, built in the richly decorated 19th-centiry style that blends Turkish/Ottoman with neo-classical and Baroque western elements. It is thus a somewhat unusual mosque.
The Bosphorus cruise ferry goes from Eminonu, the boat takes the asian side oneway and the european side on return . Duration was 2 hours and fare 9 TL. The cruise i was on turned at the Fatih bridge, there is another cruise that takes 3 hours and goes further up past the 2nd bridge. A tea and orange seller is on board.
Bosphorus comes from a Tracian word of unknown origin, interpreted in Greek as meaning "Ford of the Cow", from the legend of Io, one of the many lovers of Zeus, who swam across the sea here as a cow chased and continuously disturbed by flies sent by Hera.
Known in Turkish as Bogazici (the Strait), it links the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and, with the Dardanelles (in Canakkale), separates Europe from Asia. It is a former river valley which was drowned by the sea at the end of the Tertiary period. This is a very busy strait with many ships and oil tankers, as well as local fishing and passenger boats.
With the shores rising to heights up to 200m (650ft), lined with palaces, ruins, villages, and gardens, this is one of the most beautiful stretches of scenery in Turkey. The best way of seeing the Bosphorus in all its beauty is to take a trip on one of the coastal boats, in this way you can also admire many of the old Ottoman wooden houses (called as Yali in Turkish). You can also stay in some of the best hotels or eat in some of the best restaurants along its shores during your stay in this magnificent city.
ISTANBUL BOGAZI - BOSPHORUS- AND HALIC-GOLDEN HORN
A stay in Istanbul is not complete without the traditional and unforgettable boat excursion up the Bosphorus, the winding strait that separates Europe and Asia. Its shores offer a delightful mixture of past and present, grand splendor and simple beauty. Modern hotels stand next to yali (shorefront wooden villas), marble palaces abut rustic stone fortresses, and elegant compounds neighbor small fishing villages. The best way to see the Bosphorus is to board one of the passenger boats that regularly zigzag along the shores. You embark in Eminönü and stop alternately on the Asian and European sides of the strait. The round-trip excursion, at a very reasonable cost, takes about six hours. If you wish a private voyage, you can contact one of the agencies which specialize in organizing day or night mini-cruises.
During the journey, you pass in front of the magnificent Dolmabahçe Palace; farther along rise the green parks and imperial pavilions of Yildiz Palace. On the edge of this park, on the coast, stands Çiragan Palace ,now restored as a grand hotel. Refurbished in 1874 by Sultan Abdülaziz, it stretches for 300 meters along the Bosphorus shore, its ornate marble facades reflecting the swiftly moving water. In Ortaköy, the next stop, artists gather every Sunday to exhibit their works in a streetside gallery. The variety of people create a lively scene; sample a delicious bite from one of the street vendors. In Ortaköy, there is a church, mosque and a synagogue that have existed side by side for hundreds of years - a tribute to Turkish secularism and tolerance. Overshadowing Istanbul's traditional architecture is the Bosphorus Bridge, one of the world's largest suspension bridges linking Europe and Asia.
The beautiful Beylerbeyi Palace lies just past the bridge on the Asian side. Behind the palace rises Çamlica Hill, the highest point of Istanbul. You can drive here to admire the magnificent panorama of Istanbul as well as the beautiful landscaped gardens. On the opposite shore, the wooden Ottoman villas of Arnavutköy contrast with the luxurious modern apartments of neighboring Bebek. A few kilometers farther out, facing each other across the straits like sentries guarding the city, stand the fortresses of Rumeli Hisari and Anadolu Hisari. The Göksu Palace, sometimes known as Küçüksu Palace graces the Asian shore, next to Anadolu Hisari. The second link between the two continents; the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge straddles the waterway just past the two fortresses.
From Duatepe Hill, on the European side, you can admire the magnificent panorama of the bridge and the Bosphorus. Below Duatepe, beautiful Emirgan Park bursts with color when the tulips bloom in spring. Opposite, on the Asian shore is Kanlica, a fishing village now a favored suburb for wealthy Istanbulites. Crowds gather in the restaurants and cafes along its shores to sample its famous yogurt. Shortly after Kanlica and Çubuklu is the Beykoz Korusu (Abraham Pasa Woods), a popular retreat. In the cafes and restaurants you can enjoy the delightful views and clear fresh air. On the European side, at Tarabya Bay, yachts seem to dance at their moorings. The coast road bustles with taverns and fish restaurants from Tarabya to the charming suburbs of Sariyer and Büyükdere. Sariyer has one of the largest fish markets in Istanbul and is also famous for its delicious varieties of milk puddings and börek (pastries). A little further on past Sariyer, the narrow strait widens and disappears into the Black Sea.
Haliç - The Golden Horn
This horn-shaped estuary, divides European Istanbul. One of the best natural harbors in the world, the Byzantine and Ottoman navies and commercial shipping interests were centered here. Today, lovely parks and promenades line the shores where the setting sun dyes the water a golden color. In Fener and Balat, neighborhoods midway up the Golden Horn, whole streets of old wooden houses, churches, and synagogues date from Byzantine and Ottoman times. The Orthodox Patriarchy resides here at Fener. Eyüp, a little further up, reflects the Ottoman style of vermicular architecture. Cemeteries sprinkled with dark cypress trees cover the hillsides. Many pilgrims come to the tomb of Eyüp in the hope that their prayers will be granted. The Pierre Loti Cafe, atop the hill overlooking the shrine is a wonderful place to enjoy the tranquility of the view.
Istanbul (historically Byzantium, Constantinople, and other names) is Europe's most populous city (the world's 3rd largest city proper and 21st largest urban area) and Turkey's cultural and financial center. The city is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbor known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of the country. It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia) side of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world which is situated on two continents.
This is a great boat trip up and down the Bosphorous, near the sides so that you can see things - it goes up to the Rumeli fortress and then turns around. It takes about 1.5 hours round trip, with only one stop of about a min, and only costs 7 TL - well worth the cost. The boat is large with two levels and a nice man walks around selling snacks and beverages. The tea is in big glasses and costs 1.5 TL. There is no commentary about what you are seeing, but if you have a guidebook there is no problem. We really enjoyed the trip, kids would too. I think the boats run every hour on the hour from noon until 4 or 5 pm. But get on the boat early if you can to get the best seats. These trips are also interesting to see cute Turkish couples cuddling - it seems a very romantic trip for them!
Go to the Eminonu ferry dock area, to the left of the Galata Bridge. (you can get to this area by using the underpass walkway from the tram station or across the street by the Yeni Mosque). Ignore the people trying to sell you boat trips and walk (not far) past the area where people are eating fish sandwiches sold out of boats until you see the little booth that says "Turyol" where tickets are sold. The boats are just behind this booth.
More info from the Turkey Travel Planner website: http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/go/Istanbul/Sights/Bosphorus/turyol.html
Go to Eminönü ferryboat docks, and take the traditional Bosphorus boat tour. This is the biggest bang for your buck; around 15 euros for a full day boat cruise. departure times start around 8 and there is about three departing per day showing you the beautiful geographic location of istanbul, as you head towards Rumeli Kavagi (the farthest northern dock on the European shore of the Bosphorus), and Anadolu Kavagi (the final dock on the Bosphorus cruise-tour); about 10 km (6 miles) south of the Black Sea. These docks are as far as the Bosphorus cruises go, taking a total of three hours. three hours of pure delight. A slice of heaven i call it, gently riding along the bustling golden horn and then next the calming sea of marmara. The enviable expensive homes on the coast built in classic colonial style will be the sight to behold, and you can get off at several of these stops for lunch. I recommend staying on the boat until the very last stop, which also has restaurants, but even better, set on the upward hike towards the famous castle, which gives unparralleled sea views of the hills of green in the open ocean.
Tip: wait in line to get a seat on the top floor for better views of the interesting mosques, the mosques, the sights, the skylines of istanbul, and the clustor of turkish homes with victorious turkish flags on top of the great hills.The weather is always impeccable, and you will enjoy your trip undoubtably.
Just ask a manager at reception at any hotel how to get Bosphorus excursion an you are there!Fresh air,blue water and scenic views: ancient palaces,mosques,huge 2 bridges,luxury villas etc.I have found that unforgettable!
The bosphorous is what separates the Turkey in Europe to the Turkey in Asia. Most of Turkey is on the Asian side.. When you take the cruise, take it yourself ( no tours) . Tour will cost $ 60 or so......i think to go on there as a regular passenger its $10 or less. It was cheap when i was there.
With a day to kill in Istanbul before catching the night train to Ankara, Jonathan and I headed back toward Galata Bridge and let ourselves be persuaded by the touts to indulge in an hour and a half cruise up the bosphorus. We were considering it anyway so we were probably pushovers!
The trip cost 20YTL per person and was a simple run up towards the Black Sea from Galata Bridge for the first 45 minutes and back again for the second 45 minutes. I would have liked to have taken a cruise right up to the Black Sea but it takes far longer and we would have been pushed for time and would have had to check out of our Istanbul far earlier to catch the trip. Our boat was a small, rolling passenger boat with an enclosed dining area with glass windows and air conditioning on the main deck and a covered, open-air seating area above. The open-air deck was full but nobody chose to sit in the enclosed area downstairs. It was free seating and we chose seats on the outer edge of the boat and swung our legs over the railings. We'd just had lunch on Galata Bridge but many of the Italian tourists who shared our trip brought pretzels or corn-on-the-cob onboard with them to snack on. Halfway through the trip a man sold refreshing glasses of Cay for 2YTL each.
At the time we went, the boats ran at 2pm and 4pm and the full Bosphorus Cruise (to the Black Sea and back) left at 10am and - if I remember correctly - arrived back 6 hours later. To enquire approach one of the touts who hang around near the signs advertising the cruises - but to be honest if you stand still for 5 minutes they will probably find you!
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