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The Bosphorus is the 32 km (20-mi)-long strait which joins the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea in Istanbul, and separates the continents of Europe and Asia.

It's great for a half-day cruise north toward the Black Sea. You can return to Istanbul by land along the European shore and see all the sights.

The width of the Bosphorus varies from 500 meters (1640 feet) to 3 km (2 miles), its depth from 50 to 120 meters (164 to 394 feet), averaging about 60 meters (197 feet) deep.

It runs right through the heart of Istanbul, past the Istanbul Modern Art Museum, several Ottoman palaces, at least two fortresses, forested hills, and shore villages with Ottoman architecture. (For self-guided touring, I've divided it into the Southern Bosphorus and Northern Bosphorus.)
Bosphorus Cruise Tours

Bosphorus Cruise Tours | Cable Car Tour
*Half Day Afternoon Tour*, Spice (Egyptian) Bazaar * Bosphorus Cruise . Rumeli Fortress from the sea (no interior visit)In the afternoon, Spice Bazaar may be substituted with Zindan Han, Han, once the Women Prison

Starting USD 49
Cable Car Tour
Cable Car Tour
This teleferik runs across the valley behind Dolmabahçe Palace, from near the Istanbul Hilton to near the Parksa Hilton and Swissôtel The Bosphorus.

It's not really all that practical for transportation, but if you're staying at either of the Hiltons, the Swissôtel, the the Hyatt Regency, the Ceylan InterContinental, the Divan Oteli, or any of the nice 4-star hotels near Taksim Square, you might want to cruise across the valley for fun.
Rumeli Fortress

Rumeli Fortress Tour

Rumeli Fortress
The Rumeli Fortress (Rumelihisari) is located on the European (Rumeli) side of the Bosphorus. It was built by Mehmed II in four months beginning in the spring of 1452 across the waters from the Anatolian Fortress (Anadoluhisari or Güzelce Hisar) built by his grandfather Bayezid I (1389-1402). The aim was to establish control of the waterway at this narrowest point of the strait (660m) where ships would need to approach the shore to avoid the strong currents. A batallion of four hundred soldiers were stationed at the fortress (hisar) beginning in 1452, and prevented the passage of ships with canon fire during the siege of Constantinople. It is hence, also known as the Bogazkesen or the Controller of the Straits.

Historical documents show that the site was vacant except for the remains of two cisterns and that Byzantine ruins in the vicinity were used to supply stone for the construction. The fortress lost its strategic importance after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 when a second pair of fortresses was built further up the Bosphorus where the strait meets the Black Sea. The Rumeli Fortress became a storage facility and a prison for local and foreign diplomats. It was repaired immediately after the 1509 earthquake and survived a 17th century fire. It was last repaired by the Ottomans during the rule of Selim III (1789-1807). A large fishing village, inhabited largely by Ottoman Turks who were settled there during the construction of the fortress, developed along the waterfront with seaside mansions built beginning in late 18th century. A new neighborhood (Hisariçi) was formed inside the fortress after it was abandoned in the 19th century. The oldest Ottoman cemetery on European soil is found adjoining the fortress to the south.

The Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi in Turkish) is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. It was built of wood after the Conquest of Istanbul around an old Byzantine building which became the part of the Old Bedesten (Old Bazaar) today, and got bigger and larger throughout the centuries with the addition of new sections and inns. The Bazaar initially consisted of two warehouses only, known as Inner Bedesten and Sandal Bedesten. Than open streets were covered with doomed roofs connecting separate buildings to each other. Today the bazaar covers an area of approximately 31thousand square meters (333thousand square foot) with its over 3000 shops (some even say 4000), 17 inns (Han), 61 streets, over 20thousand employees, 4 fountains, 10 wells, 2 mosques, several cafes and restaurants, change offices, a police station, and 22 gates. It resembles a giant labyrinth and can be a little complicated for the first-time visitor, but after a couple of visits there you can familiarize with it because streets are arranged almost on a grid plan, and shops tend to group themselves according to the type of goods they sell.
Bosphorus Istanbul Cruise Map

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