Bosphorus cruises | Discover Istanbul through the Bosphorus Strait

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Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Turkish Show
Free Cancellation
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
3 hr.
Transfers Included
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Bosphorus Luxury Yacht Daytime or Sunset Cruise
2 hr. 30 min.
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Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise with Audio Guide
Free Cancellation
Extended Validity
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
1 hr. 30 min.
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Bosphorus & Black Sea 2-Course Lunch Cruise with Swimming Opportunity
4 hr. 30 min.
Guided Tour
Transfers Included
Hotel Pickup
Meals Included
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The Bosphorus Strait | A journey through time

The Bosphorus is not just a strait that separates two continents; it is a strategic waterway steeped in history and culture from the time of the Ancient Greeks to the Ottoman Empire and today.

Over the centuries, it has witnessed the rise and fall of civilizations, played a pivotal role in wars and conquests, and served as a vital trade route connecting Europe and Asia, all the while remaining the centrepoint of international commerce. Today, the Bosphorus Strait remains a testament to the enduring spirit of Istanbul and its people.

Quick guide to the Bosphorus Strait

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A brief history of the Bosphorus Strait

The Bosphorus has played a crucial role in Istanbul's history for centuries. This narrow strait separates the two continents of Europe and Asia, making it a significant trade route that has witnessed countless historic events.

The Bosphorus Strait in Antiquity: The Bosphorus Strait played a critical role in the development of ancient civilizations. The region was inhabited by various groups, including the Greeks, Persians, and Romans, who recognized the strategic importance of controlling the waterway. The Greeks established colonies in the region, and the Persians constructed a bridge across the strait to connect the two sides. The Romans also recognized the importance of the Bosphorus and built fortresses to protect their trade routes.

The Bosphorus Strait in medieval times: During the medieval era, the Bosphorus Strait remained a vital trade route connecting Europe and Asia. It was an essential link between the Byzantine Empire and the rest of the world. The Byzantines built numerous castles and forts along its shores to protect their trading vessels from attacks by pirates and rival powers. Throughout the centuries, the Bosphorus has been the site of numerous historic events, from ancient battles to civilizations emerging and evolving. Its importance has never diminished, and it remains a critical waterway for international trade to the present day. Its strategic location has made it a valuable asset for the community, and its legacy continues to endure today.

Bosphorus Strait | Facts & myths

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  • The Bosphorus Strait is a busy and challenging waterway, with an estimated 48,000 ships passing through it annually. It is also the world’s narrowest strait used for international navigation.
  • The Bosphorus Strait is a chokepoint for the maritime transit of oil and, is a popular shipping route for oil transportation from the Caspian Sea region and Russia to areas including Asia, Western and Southern Europe.
  • The Bosphorus Strait has been the site of several naval battles throughout history, including the Battle of the Bosphorus in 1915 during World War I.
  • The Bosphorus Strait was also known as the “Strait of Constantinople” to differentiate it from the Cimmerian Bosphorus in Crimea.
  • The Bosphorus Strait has inspired many poets, writers, and artists throughout history, including Lord Byron, who described it as "the great ocean stream of Constantinople."
  • According to a Greek myth, the Bosphorus Strait was created by the Greek goddess Hera, who was jealous of the love between Zeus and Io. She transformed Io into a heifer and sent her on a wild chase across the lands until she reached the Bosphorus, where she leaped across the waters to safety.
  • The Maiden's Tower (Kız Kulesi) was a military fortification, built to protect Istanbul and the Bosphorus Strait from an invading Persian army. However, legend has it that a princess was locked up in the tower to protect her from a prophesied snake bite, giving the tower its name.
  • Some locals believe that the Bosphorus is home to a giant sea serpent, while others claim that its waters have healing properties.

Frequently asked questions about the Bosphorus Strait

What is the Bosphorus Strait?

The Bosphorus Strait is a natural waterway that connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, and separates the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Turkey.

What bodies of water does the Bosphorus Strait connect?

The Bosphorus Strait connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara.

What is the significance of the Bosphorus Strait?

The Bosphorus Strait has been a strategically significant waterway for more than 2,500 years, serving as a vital maritime route for trade, culture, and history between Europe and Asia.

What is the current speed of the Bosphorus Strait?

The Bosphorus Strait has a strong current that flows from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, with an average speed of 1-2 knots.

What are some notable landmarks along the Bosphorus Strait?

Some of the notable landmarks located on the shores of the Bosphorus Strait include the Dolmabahce Palace, Galata Tower, Bosphorus Bridge, Ciragan Palace, Rumeli Fortress, and Maiden's Tower, among many others.

How many ships pass through the Bosphorus Strait every year?

An estimated 48,000 vessels pass through the Bosphorus Strait every year, making it one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

What is the marine life like in the Bosphorus Strait?

The Bosphorus Strait is home to a variety of marine life, including dolphins, seals, and several species of fish.

What are some traditional Turkish delicacies served along the Bosphorus Strait?

Traditional Turkish dishes served along the Bosphorus include grilled meats, kebabs, meze dishes, and seafood.

What is the best time to visit the Bosphorus Strait and go on a Bosphorus cruise?

The ideal time to visit the Bosphorus Strait and go on a Bosphorus cruise is from March to May or September to November when the weather is pleasant and the city is less crowded.

What is the weather like along the Bosphorus Strait?

The weather along the Bosphorus Strait varies depending on the season. Summers are typically hot and humid, while winters can be cold and rainy. The spring and autumn months offer pleasant weather with optimal temperatures and low chances of rain.