The Bosphorus Bridge spans across the Bosphorus Strait between Ortakoy district, on the European side, and Beylerbeyi, on Istanbul's Asian side, offering the chance for visitors to cross between the two continents that make up this unique and extensive city. The famous bridge is approximately 1.5 kilometres wide and 165 meters high with an underneath clearance of 64 meters which allows for larger ships to pass below. Construction of the Bosphorus Bridge began in 1970, under the command of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes who first proposed the idea in 1957. Three years later the building works were completed and the bridge was declared open on October 29th 1973, exactly 50 years after Turkey became an independent Republic.
The impressive structure cost around $200 million to build. It has 8 lanes, 3 in each direction, plus an emergency lane and a sidewalk, although pedestrians are no longer allowed to walk across the bridge. It is estimated that over 180,000 vehicles pass over the bridge daily. On July 15th 2016, the Bosphorus Bridge was officially renamed Martyrs Bridge, although it is often still referred to as First Bridge.
The Bosphorus Bridge was the first of three suspension bridges to connect the naturally divided city. Prior to its construction, the Bosphorus strait could only be crossed by boat. Ferry services still function regularly and are perhaps a more pleasant way to make the crossing, some believe that if you make a wish made while passing under the bridge it will come true. Day Cruises on the Bosphorus Strait will bring passengers to the Bosphorus Bridge, stopping at many Istanbul attraction on the way.