Top Places to Visit in Istanbul - Bosphorus and Shores | Istanbul Guidance
31 Mar

CONTENTS of  Top Places to Visit in Istanbul – Bosphorus and Shores     

Bosphorus Cruise
Maiden’s Tower
Dolmabahce Palace
Ortakoy Area and Mosque
Ciragan Palace
Egyptian Consulate
Suada – Water Island
Rumeli Fortress



Cruise Tour on Bosphorus

The Bosphorus is a strait that forms parts the of boundary between Europe and Asia.

The Bosphorus, the sea of Marmara and the Dardenelles strait to the southwest together form the Turkish Straits.

The Bosphorus was formed about 5600 B.C when rising waters of Mediterranean breached trought the Black Sea.

The Bosphorus has been always so important fort the civilazitons (Greeks,Romans-Byzantines,Ottomans and Republic of Turkey).

It is between the two continents, Persian King Darius I the Great, in an attempt to sabdue the Sycthian horsemen who roamed across the North of the Black Sea, crossed trough the Bosphorus then marched towards the Danube Rivers. His army crossed the Bosphorus over an enormous bridge made by connecting Archaemenid boats.

The strategic significance was one of the factors in the decision of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great to found there in AD 330. His new capital ,Constantinople which came to be known as the capital Eastern Roman Empire. On 29 May 1453 it was conquered by the emerging Ottoman Empire.

Bosphorus Strait Tour Guide
Today, while walking or touring around the bosphorus; you can easily witness the history, private houses, schools, mosques, private boats, fortresses, bridges, forests, palaces, apartments and sunset-sunrise.

Explore bosphorus strait with a licensed and professional tour guide who knows each points that you will really enjoy in this lifetime experience.


Maiden’s Tower

istanbul bosphorus shores

Snakes’ Bite
Prophecy that his beloved daughter would be bitten by a snake on her 18th birthday and the girl will die.

The king decides to guard her safety by keeping confined in this tower in the sea.

Despite his efforts, destiny ruled after a basket of fresh grapes was sent to the tower and a a snake hidden at the buttom of the basket delivered the fatal bite.

leanders tower history

Although this ancient story (500BCE) is commonly thought to have occurred in the Dardanelles or Hellespont on the other side of the sea of Marmara.

The tower has been called Leanders Tower in Europe and the west for at least 400 years.

Hero, a priestess sworn to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, was sequestered here to ensure her sanctity.

Leander somehow encountered her perhaps by passing in a boat and fell fatally in love.

Swimming to the tower, he gradually won the love of Hero and their nightly meetings began.

Hero lit a torch at the top of her tower every night to guide Leanders long swim.

One stormy night, the wind blew out the torch, Leander lost his way and exhauster, perished beneath the waves.

His body washed upon the rocks of this island and Hero, seeing this was distraught and heartbroken so much, so that she leapt from the tower to her death, thus ensuring the immortality of their love.

This ancient tower stands on a rocky out-crop at the entrance to the Bosphorus just offshore Uskudar. It is presently used as a lighthouse. The original tower was built in 12th century by the Byzantine emperor, Manuel Comnenos (1143-1180),who aimed to find a firm foundation fort he chain which was used to close off the Bosphorus to sea traffic.

After lots of restorations, the tower was converted into cafe and restaurant.

The tower is one of the most popular place for couples or friend groups especially good place for dinners.


Dolmabahce Palace

dolmabahce palace explaination

Dolmabahce Palace was built in the reign of Sultan I Abdulmecit during the 19th century.

This over-ornate palace lies along the European coast of the Bosphorus. Dolmabahce Palace tour guide will explain how was constructed between 1843 and 1856. Mixing different European artistic influences and built by Abdulmecit’s architect, Karabet Balya.
It was built over three levels, and symmetrically planned, with 285 chambers and 43 halls.
It has a 600m long pier along the river, with two huge monumental gates.


Explore Ottoman’s most beautiful ornamented palace with a licensed tour guide and get dolmabahce entrance ticket.
Don’t waste time in long queue.

The palace is surrounded by well-maintained and immaculate gardens, with an immense 56-columned greeting hall, with 750 lights illuminated from 4.5 tonnes of crystal chandelier.
The entrance was used for meeting and greeting Sultans, and opposite the ceremonial hall was the harem.
The interior decoration, furniture, silk carpets and curtains all remain with little defect.


The palace has a level of luxury not present in most other palaces, with walls and ceilings decorated with gold and European art from the period.
Top quality silk and wool carpets, southeast Asian hand-made artifacts, and crystal candlesticks adorn every room.
The men’s hamam (public bath) is adorned with alabaster marble, and the harem also contains the Sultan’s bedrooms and the women and servants’ divisions.
One of the highlights is the throne room, which stands at an amazing 36-metres high – almost twice the height of the rest of the rooms.

The east wing is home to the Museum of Fine Arts.


Ortakoy Area and Mosque

ortakoy area with mosque
The original mosque was built by Sultan Abdulmecid in 1854-1856. It was designed by architect Garabet Amire Balyan and he used many kind of rococo, baroque, european styles.

This mosque is a Selatin mosque like the other, with two minarets. The significance of it,is the closest mosque to Mecca in europe. It is original name is “Buyuk Mecidiye Mosque” but it is known as “Ortakoy” the name drives from where it is located.It is just next to the Bosphorus bridge which makes it so popular and the one of the well-known figure of Istanbul.


Ciragan Palace

ciragan palace on bosphorus

The palace was built by Sultan Abdulaziz between the years 1863-1867 and designed by Armenian architect Nigokos Balyan,it is the last sample of its period. Previously there was a beautiful Ottoman garden garden, ornated by the many kind of flowers and tulips,on the Bosphous.This was a period in which Ottoman sultans used their own building rather than using those of theirs ancertors.The iner walls and the roof were made of wood,the outer walls made of colorful marble.

During the Second Constitutional Monarchy,Sultan Mehmet Resat allowed the parliament to hold their meetings in this building.In 1910 the great fire destroyed the palace then the palace served many years as a football stadium for Beşiktaş J.K. In 1989 the ruined palace was bought by a Japanese corporation,which restored the palace and made a luxury hotel complex.Today,it is also known as Hotel Kempinsky,moreover it is the most expensive hotel in Turkey.


Egyptian Consulate

Egyptian embassy is located in between Bebek and Arnavutkoy area, It was a kiosk of a Emine Hanım as a mini palace in 1902, it is gift to egypt goverment from the Abbas Hilmi Bey that took its looking by italian architect Raimondo D’Aronco.

It is the white building with a mansard roof and ornate wrought-iron fence.

Best pictures are available from Bosphorus while cruising.

egyptian consulate istanbul


Suada – Water Island

The name was Galatasaray island which is Name of one Soccer team , name was changed as Suada also known as Kurucesme islet by residences that one of the best place to swim (in pool),and get your dinner.

It is reachable by ferries that only 160 meters from coast.

There was otoman sultan Abdulaziz who ordered to built Dolmabahce palace to architect Sarkis Balyan, and upon that job, sultan gave this island to that architect and Balyan made pavilion.

In his visit; Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky stayed in the mansion

So long time used as coal depot and hired by ship transportation company.

In 1957 Galatasaray Sport Club bought this and renovated in that style that you can see on Bopshorus.

water island istanbul
Suada istanbul


Rumeli Fortress

Rumeli Fortress (Rumelian Castle) is located at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus.It was built by 7th Ottoman sultan Mehmet II (conqueror) in 1452.Before the conquest of Istanbul the sultan and the grand viziers had decided to take control sea traffic at the bosphorus .Therefore,Ottomans built this fortress on european side which is located opposite of the other fortress on asian side(Anatolian Fortress-1394).They built Rumeli Fortress in 4 months.The Ottomans conquered Istanbul in 1453.

Rumeli Fortress has lots of small towers,each has different height.Moreover,Ottomans built the first mosque of Istanbul in this fortress before the conquest.Ottomans had been used it as a castle in order to control the sea traffic for years.After the many renovations the castle has been used as a open air concert,opera and theatre since 1951.Today,the fortress is an open air museum also.The fortress has a beautiful view of bosphorus and it is worth to visit.

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