One of the most beautiful sights in the world, the Bosphorus, is a strait that runs a winding course between the two continents from one sea to another. It is a natural border between Europe and Asia and it is the only outlet of the Black Sea which is connected to the Aegean through theBosphorus and the Dardanelles.
With old seaside mansions, mosques, palaces, restaurants and beaches along its shores, the Bosphorus resembles a wide river. Woods and residences cover the hills rising behindits shores.It looks magnificent in every season and is especially beautiful in the spring when it is adorned with the pink flowers of Judas trees. The Bosphorus is unforgettable.
Two fortresses, constructed halfway up the Bosphorus on opposite shores, stand facing each other. These, built by the Turks, and the other earlier fortresses on the hills near the Black Sea, are military installations indicating the strategic importance of the Bosphorus in every age. Viewed from the Sea of Marmara end, where the historic city looks most impressive, the Bosphorus appears like a small bay. The first suspension bridge across the Bosphorus was completed in 1973 and the second one in 1988. Only an aerial-view shows that the Bosphorus is actually a strait.
The Bosphorus is unique ‘’sea-river’’. The less saline waters of the Black Sea flow towards the Sea of towards the Sea of Marmara on the surface, while below the surface, there is another current flowing in the opposite direction.Due to these strong surface currents and the lack of roads, there were few settlements along its shores up until the end of the last century.
In the 19th century, besides the small villages,imperial palaces and the summer residences of the wealthy as well as foreign embassies started to appear along its shores. Today, the residential districts along the shores, served by modern roads, suspension bridges and ferry boats, are included within the borders of the metropolis. The strait, which was a river walley in the Ice Age, has a rich marine fauna.It has an average depth of 50 metres and a maximum depth of 112 metres.It is famous fort he different kinds of fish caught along its shores as well as in the seas nearby.Different species of fish migrate through these waters seasoally.
The name ‘’Bosphorus’’ is derived from mythology and it means the ‘’Bull’s Passage’’. Since it is an easily traversed passage, it facilitated the devopment of trade and other relations between civilizations in Asia and Europe.
The Bosphorus,its extension, the Golden Horn and the peninsula on which the historic city of Istanbul developed, have been the most sought after location in the world during the last 2500 years. The campaign of the Argonauts to the Black Sea is the first mythological story about the Bosphorus.
In the 6th century B.C., the Persian armies,in order to cross the Bosphorus easily, tied their boats together side by side, thus forming the first bridge on the Bosphorus. During the ‘’Retreator Ten Thousands’’ of Xenophon in the 5th century B.C., their race for Byzantiumwas mentioned as a very important event.