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Turkey: Istanbul – Adventurous Vacation V

Published: 24.8.2014
We cruise around the Ortakoy Mosque built by Sultan Abdulmecid in 1853. The construction was done by his architect Nokogos Balayn. It is in the baroque style and it is situated in the European part of the Bosporus. Now we flow under the Bosporus bridge built in 1973 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.

mešita OrtakoyThe construction was done by German - -British company. Plans to seize Bosporus had been there for a long time. Even Persian King Dareios built the first pontoon bridge over the strait during his campaign against Scyths in 512 B. C. Later the giants of renaissance dreamt about such a bridge. Among them was Leonardo da Vinci or Michalangelo. Unfortunately it was nothing more than a project. We go on to the second bridge of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. The bridge was built in three years (1985-1988). It was necessary because the first bridge we mentioned was very busy. This one has eight lines 1500 meters long and 40 meter wide The construction is carried by two pylons more than 100 meters high. The road is at 65 meters above the sea level.

To the right in front of the bridge you can see Rumeli Hisari fortress. It was built on the narrowest point of the Bosporus (660 m). The fortress was built by Sultan Mehmet Fatih in 1451-52, i.e. not long before his attack on Constantinopol. He had hoped that the Asian fortress Anadolu Hisari will help him with the other fortress to control the strait. Until then Genoese and Venetian ships freely sailed through. He also would be able to limit grain import from the Black Sea to the Byzantine Empire thus cease supplies.

most pres Bospor

His artillery founder Urban helped him to install the most modern medieval invention – cannons. The fortress was built by three pashas: Halil, Zaganos and Saruca. They had to finish their work in four moths otherwise the Sultan would chop off their heads. They were among the closest advisors to the Sultan during the siege of Constantinopol. Today, festivals and music concerts are held there.

Nice wind blows on a ship. I imagine the Argonauts sailing here to seek the Golden Fleece. There is this story: Jason sought to get control over the Golden Fleece as the symbol of wealth and power. The Fleece rested in a distant land of Kolchida in holy oak forest. To get it he had to sail across the Bosporus. The water there was instantly boiling as it crushed the cliffs. King Fineus of Bithia told them that the would sail it across only if a pigeon had flew across it safe. There the heroes let the pigeon go. It flew across yet the cliffs squeezed its tail feathers. The Argonauts paddled for their life. They almost died yet Athena pushed their ship forward thus their ship was damaged only on its tail. As the pigeon lost its tail feathers… The mission was a success.

most pres Bospor

Now our ships turn, we slowly cruise back. It is beautiful here. They say that the strait is one of the most beauitufl in the world. Slowly we reach Golden Horn and say goodbye to our guide. I say hi to my cotraveler Naomi. I will send her a postcard. I am happy that I have visited Istanbul. I get on “dolmush” (local public transportation) and travel to a bus station to return by night bus to Bodrum.

most pres Bospor

Every year around 300 000 immigrands from different regions and of different ethnics come here. Mutual tolerance and respect reflect on the unique atmosphere of the city. It seems that Istanbul doesn’t just connect seas and continents but people as well.

Text/photo: Sylvie Halouzková



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