The Bosphorus is the waterway between the two continents of Turkey, the European part, known as Rumelia or Ortakoy and the Asian part known as Anatolia or Beylerbeyi. The name originates from Greek mythology, whereby Zeus had an affair with a woman, known as Io. When this infidelity was discovered by Zeus’s wife, Io was turned into a cow and a horsefly was created to follow and sting her. As a result, she jumped directly over the Bosphorus, therefore naming it;
Bous – Cow
And Poros – Crossing Place
Bosphorus – Cows Crossing Place
The Bosphorus is the narrowest strait used for international navigation in the world, in some parts its width is just 700 metres, it is still unknown how it was originally formed. The strait connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and the Mediterranean. There are two bridges to cross from side to side; these are the Bosphorus Bridge and the Faith Sultan Mehmet Bridge, also known as Bosphorus II. Throughout history, the Bosphorus has been the centre of many hostilities, in Greek mythology, throughout the Ottoman Turk reign, the Russo-Turkish War (1877 – 1878) and throughout the First World War. Currently, it is a vital tool in the oil industry, used to move oil from Russia to Western Europe and the United States.
A boat cruise on the Bosphorus is a must-do when visiting Istanbul. Tourists can either take public ferries, which leave around every 45 minutes and transverse the European and Asian sides of Istanbul. There are also private boat cruises run for tourists, varying in price, according to the duration and type of trip taken. Most tours will include sightseeing of areas such as; Maiden Tower, Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Fethi Ahmet Pasa Mansion, Ortakoy Mosque, Beylerbeyi Palace, Kuleli Military School, Rumeli Fortress, Arnavutkoy, Bebek and more highlights of Istanbul located on both sides of the Bosphorus.