Probably one of the most famous waterways in the world, the Bosphorus Strait forms the boundary between Europe and Asia. It also splits Istanbul neatly in two, making it the only city in the world to straddle two continents. Read more about the Bosphorus Strait here. Also known as the Istanbul Strait, the Bosphorus features prominently in the history books, having been strategically important (along with the Dardanelles) to the ancient Greeks, the Persians, the Romans, the Byzantines and the Ottoman Empire, who conquered Constantinople (later to be called Istanbul) in 1453.
Modern history has also brought its fair share of conflict to the area, especially with the Allied attack on the Dardanelles (Turkey’s other strait) during World War 1. The ANZAC forces suffered heavy losses there, and Gallipoli is a name that all Australians and New Zealanders associate with as a place of remembrance for the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their countries. Istanbul is a city that has changed hands over the centuries, named Byzantium, Constantinople and finally Istanbul. It also hosts landmarks like the Hagia Sofia, The Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace.
A Bosphorus Cruise is a great way to see different areas without any walking required – perfect if you’ve already done a lot of sightseeing on foot. Most cruisers go for a half day, but you can book full day tours that also include Rumeli Fortress. Alternatively, take a ferry ride from the European side to the Asian side. See Beylerbeyi Palace too – a small but elegant summer palace along the Asian Shore of the Bosphorus. In its heyday it acted as a summer residence to the Ottoman Sultans and their visiting dignitaries. Though Istanbul has seen conquests and war, changing its name and its image over the centuries as a point of religious and cultural convergence, the Bosphorus Strait remains essentially the same. See the Bosphorus Strait and sail this famous waterway yourself as part of your tour of Turkey.