On the Water in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul in Turkey is a city so badass that it couldn’t be contained within one puny continent. It was ruled by Greeks as Byzantium and Ottomans as Constantinople and now it’s ruled by Turks as Istanbul and it’s partly in Europe and partly in Asia. If Istanbul was a soap opera, it’d be an hour-long Christmas Day special*.

Like all great cities, water plays a prominent part of life in Istanbul. In fact, it’s fair to say that water plays a bigger part of life in Istanbul than in any other city in the world, mainly because the city is split by water, a patch of water called the Bosphorous Strait for those kinds of people who have lifetime passes to museums.

There are bridges over the water (thank you thousands of years of engineering!) and with them comes an obscene amount of road traffic (thank you thousands of years of engineering!) but the humble ferry is a useful form of transport for anyone in Turkey’s largest city (but not the capital, which is Ankara, presumably only to trick pub quiz teams the world over). And you see a lot from these ferries, and on the water in general. Forget the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar, the water is Istanbul’s must-see sight.

Small Boat on Bosphorous Strait

Maiden's Tower Island on Bosphorous Strait

Boat on Bosphorous Strait in Istanbul at Sunset

Ferry on Bosphorous Strait in Istanbul

Or maybe I just like water and boats. There’s something about the breeze and the spray and the loud hum of engine that I can’t resist. If this whole travel blogging thing doesn’t work out, I’ll probably just become a pirate. Their whole buried treasure form of pension structure leaves a lot to be desired though.

Those who find themselves drawn to multi-continent cities might also check out Yekaterinburg in Russia or Panama City in, err, Panama.

(*Credit to @ohnorobot for that one.)

10 Comments Add yours

  1. I LOVED Istanbul! And I think the water is important there – but it’s also important in places like, say, Venice? 😉

    Also, glad you pointed out that Ankara is the capital. I’d forgotten. And that information is definitely something needed to stow away for pub quizzes! 🙂


    1. ambigram0 says:

      Have yet to go to Venice, but I’ve heard so many great things, particularly about visiting in November for some reason!


      1. Well, July is definitely awful – SO FREAKING HOT! So November probably is a beautiful time to go 🙂


  2. lornamurphy says:

    I’m going to Istanbul on business in two weeks’ time – what do you recommend to someone who only has half a day to explore?!


    1. ambigram0 says:

      Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are definites, even if you just see them from the outside, but the Grand Bazaar is worth a wander around too. Taking the ferry from one side to another is really worth it, especially at sunset, and doesn’t take long and is really cheap.


      1. lornamurphy says:

        Great thanks! I’ll let you know what I manage 😉


  3. Samantha says:

    My next vacation


  4. Silvia says:

    Nicely written. Thanks for the ping back!


  5. Travelbunny says:

    Did you visit the Basilica Cistern – underground water container bigger than a football pitch? http://wp.me/p1tbVN-Lr


    1. ambigram0 says:

      I didn’t visit it, no. *goes to your blog* Wow, that actually looks really interesting. I don’t think the guy I stayed with even mentioned it (or maybe I’ve just forgotten that he did!).


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