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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Seraglio Point from Pera, with the Bosphorus (left), the entrance of the Golden Horn (center and right), and the Sea of Marmara (distance) with the Princes' Islands on the horizon.
Boats on the Golden Horn.
Seraglio Point (Sarayburnu) on the Golden Horn, as seen from the Galata Tower.

The Golden Horn (Turkish: Haliç or Altın Boynuz; Greek: Χρυσόν Κέρας, Chrysón Kéras) is a historic inlet of the Bosphorus dividing the city of Istanbul and forming the natural harbor that has sheltered Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other ships for thousands of years. It is a scimitar-shaped estuary that joins the Bosphorus just at the point where that strait enters the Sea of Marmara, thus forming a peninsula the tip of which is "Old Istanbul" (ancient Byzantion and Constantinople). Its Greek and English names mean the same, but the significance of the designation "golden" is obscure. It has witnessed many tumultuous historical incidents and its dramatic vistas have been the subject of countless works of art.



The Golden Horn is a flooded prehistoric estuary. It is 7.5 kilometers long and, at its widest, 750 meters across. Its maximum depth, where it flows into the Bosphorus, is about 35 meters. It is today spanned by four bridges. They are, moving downstream, the Haliç Bridge (literally Golden Horn Bridge); the Eski Galata Bridge (literally Old Galata Bridge, as the former Galata Bridge was moved here in pieces, re-assembled and restored after a fire in 1992 damaged it; the current Galata Bridge which replaced it was completed in 1994); the Atatürk (Unkapanı) Bridge; and the Galata Bridge. A fifth bridge is currently under construction to connect the subway lines of the Istanbul Metro to the north and south of the Golden Horn.[1]


Map of Byzantine Constantinople, showing the Golden Horn north of the city's main peninsula.

The Golden Horn forms a deep natural harbor for the peninsula it encloses together with the Sea of Marmara. The Byzantine Empire had its naval headquarters there, and walls were built along the shoreline to protect the city of Constantinople from naval attacks. At the entrance to the Horn, there was a large chain pulled across from Constantinople to the old Tower of Galata (which was known as the Megàlos Pyrgos, Great Tower, in Greek among the Byzantines) on the northern side, preventing unwanted ships from entering. This tower was largely destroyed by the Latin Crusaders during the Fourth Crusade (1204), but the Genoese built a new tower nearby, the famous Galata Tower (1348) which they called Christea Turris (Tower of Christ).

There were three notable times when the chain across the Horn was either broken or circumvented. In the 10th century the Kievan Rus' dragged their longships out of the Bosporus, around Galata, and relaunched them in the Horn; the Byzantines defeated them with Greek fire. In 1204, during the Fourth Crusade, Venetian ships were able to break the chain with a ram. In 1453, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, having failed in his attempt to break the chain with brute force, instead used the same tactic as the Rus', towing his ships across Galata into the estuary over greased logs.

After the Capture of Constantinople in 1453 by Mehmed the Conqueror, Greek citizens, the Greek Orthodox Church, Jews, Italian merchants, and other non-Muslims began to live along the Horn in the Phanar (Fener) and Balat districts. Today the Golden Horn is settled on both sides, and there are parks along each shore. The Istanbul Chamber of Commerce is also located along the shore, as are Muslim, Jewish and Christian cemeteries. The Galata Bridge connects the districts of Galata and Eminönü. Until the 1980s the Horn was polluted with industrial waste, but has since been cleaned up. Today its history and beauty make it a popular tourist attraction in Istanbul.

Panoramic view of the outlet of the Golden Horn in Istanbul, as seen from the Galata Tower. The Galata Bridge can be seen in the center of the picture. The Seraglio Point (Sarayburnu) where the Topkapı Palace is located is seen at the left tip of the historic peninsula; followed by (left to right) the Hagia Sophia, the Sultan Ahmed (Blue) Mosque, the Yeni (New) Mosque near the Galata Bridge, the Beyazıt Tower rising high in the background, and the Süleymaniye (Suleiman the Magnificent) Mosque at far right, among others. The Sea of Marmara and the Princes' Islands are seen in the background, on the horizon. At the extreme left of the picture, the district of Kadıköy (ancient Chalcedon) on the Asian side of the city can be seen. Behind the Galata Bridge, towards the horizon, the Column of Constantine (which was surrounded by iron bars for restoration at the time of this photo) rises.

Leonardo's bridge

Golden Horn Bridge designed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1502.
Wooden model corresponding to the bridge design above.
Daily life near the Hayratiye Bridge on the Golden Horn.
View of the Süleymaniye Mosque from Karaköy across the Golden Horn.

In 1502 Leonardo da Vinci produced a drawing of a single span 720-foot (240 m) bridge over the Horn as part of a civil engineering project for Sultan Bayezid II. The vision was resurrected in 2001 when a small footbridge of Leonardo's design was constructed near Ås in Norway.

On May 17, 2006, it was announced that the prime minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbaş had decided to resurrect the Leonardo da Vinci Bridge project. The urban planning and feasibility studies of the project had started earlier, in 1999. After five centuries, Leonardo da Vinci's bridge will span the Golden Horn, becoming the first architectural project of the Renaissance genius to be realized in its original scale and its planned location.

The Turkish architect in charge of the construction is Bülent Güngör, known for the restoration of the Çırağan Palace, the Yıldız Palace, and the Sümela Monastery. The Bridge will be an exact copy of da Vinci's design, with a single span of 720-foot (240 m), a width of 8 metres, and a height above the Golden Horn of 24 metres, as shown on his sketches.


The Golden Horn features in many works of literature dealing with classical themes. For example, G. K. Chesterton's poem Lepanto contains the memorable couplet "From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun, And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun".


The Golden Horn hosted the 4th round of the Red Bull Air Race World Series for the first time on July 29, 2006.

See also


External links

Coordinates: 41°01′45″N 28°57′40″E / 41.02917°N 28.96111°E / 41.02917; 28.96111


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Istanbul/Golden Horn article)

From Wikitravel

Golden Horn (Turkish: Haliç) is both the name of the estuary of the Bosphorus towards west in Istanbul, and also of the district on banks of it.

This article concentrates on the areas around Golden Horn banks west of city walls. For southeastern banks, see Istanbul/Sultanahmet-Old City. For northeastern banks, see Istanbul/Galata.

  • Buses depart from Eminönü for Eyüp on the southern shore of the Horn, and also for neighborhoods on the northern shore.
  • Eyüp Mosque Complex, In Eyüp. This is the main attraction around this part of the city. Around the mosque itself is cemeteries and tombs all of which date back to Ottoman period, and having a distinct architecture. Here is where all of those “boys-to-be-circumsized photos” are taken, as it’s a tradition to take the boys in their special clothes to this particular mosque before the event. In the adjoining streets, you can find shops offering interesting Ottoman-style stuff like wooden toys or traditional salty cookies shaped like a ring (halka) which you cannot easily find elsewhere. Free.  edit
  • Miniaturk [1], at Sütlüce (on northern shore of the Horn). M-F 9AM-7PM and S-Su 9M-9PM. It was built in 2001 and is the first miniature park in Istanbul (the world's largest miniature park in respect to its model area). The park hosts icons of many cultures and civilizations. Models vary from the Hagia Sophia to Galata Tower, from Safranbolu Houses to the Sumela Monastry in Trabzon, from Qubbat As-Sakhrah to the ruins of Mount Nemrut. In addition, some works that have not survived into the present, such as the Temple of Artemis, the Halicarnassus Mausoleum and Ajyad Castle, were recreated. All Anatolia in one place.
  • Rahmi M. Koç Industrial Museum (Sanayi Müzesi), Hasköy Caddesi 27, Hasköy (on the northern shore of the Horn), +90 212 256 71 53-54, [2]. This is a typical industry museum which showcases evolution of machines. Also houses a typical Istanbul streetscape with its shops and all as how it would look like in the past.  edit
  • Santral İstanbul, Kazım Karabekir Cad. 1, Eyüp, +90 212 311 78 09, [3]. Tu-Su 10AM-8PM. A contemprory art museum located in a building converted from an old power plant (first such plant in Istanbul).  edit
  • Walk the town of Balat. Balat housed the first Jews who settled in Istanbul after the Spanish expulsion. Today, it’s a middle class neighborhood and as you walk you can see the oldest Jewish houses with the Star of David.
  • Akmanoğlu Fırını, (near Eyüp Mosque), +90 212 581 06 39, [4]. This is the bakery where halkas mentioned in see section, as well as a number of other traditional cookies, both sweet and salty alike, are produced and sold.  edit
  • Lale Lokantasi, Feshane Caddesi, Eyüp (inside Feshane Kültür Merkezi - cultural centre), +90 212 501 73 72. Traditional Turkish/Ottoman cuisine.  edit
  • Pierre Loti is an open air café on a hill overlooking Golden Horn in Eyüp. It’s rumored that a famous French writer used to love to visit this café during his residence in Istanbul. There is a cable (enclosed chairlift) line, which offers some nice views, between the shore of Golden Horn and the hill on which café is situated. It’s also possible to walk uphill or to take a taxi.
  • Turquhouse Boutique Hotel, Merkez Mah. İdris Köşkü Caddesi, Eyüp (1 km to downtown Eyüp), +90 212 497 13 13 (fax: +90 212 497 16 16), [5]. Boutique hotel housed in 7 separate buildings in the same yard. Rooms with en-suite bathrooms, air-con, satellite TV, and wireless internet access. € 90/110/140 for single/double/triple rooms. About 20% cheaper Nov-Mar.  edit
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