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Bridge over the Bosphorus in Istanbul

The territory of Turkey is located on two continents, the Asian and European. They are separated by the Bosphorus Strait, which in ancient times was an insurmountable obstacle for the army of Persia and prevented the great plans of the generals of those times. The dream to connect the banks originated with Darius I, but to realize the grandiose plan and build a bridge over the Bosphorus in Istanbul was possible only in the 20th century.

Bridge over the Bosphorus in Istanbul (Bosphorus Bridge, Bridge of Martyrs)

Bridge over the Bosphorus (Martyrs' Bridge) in Istanbul

The strait connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, it is considered a unique geological formation, because its width is 2 km, and in especially narrow sections only 700 m. Nevertheless, it has divided the continents for centuries, forcing engineers to think of a solution. The first, a pontoon bridge, was built before Christ. The construction of the permanent structure began to be considered in the first decade of the 20th century under the ruler Abdul Hamid II. The proposal was made by the Bosphorus Railway Company.

British engineers were invited to implement the plan. У. Brown and G. Roberts presented a project in which the Bosphorus Bridge had a rather large capacity for the time. But the idea had to wait another two decades until funds were allocated to build it. The Istanbul Bridge over the Bosporus did not open until 1973, coinciding with the anniversary of the founding of the republic.

Location of the Bosphorus Bridge on the map

Location of the Bosphorus Bridge on the map of Istanbul

Design Features

It ranks 17th among similar buildings in the world. The length of the bridge over the Bosphorus in Istanbul is 1560 m, width – 33. In order not to interfere with navigation, it had to be raised significantly above water, so that the height of the bridge over the Bosphorus in Istanbul reached 64 m. The piers are 165 meters above the shore.

The Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul

It took $200 million to build, but it was well worth the cost, because now you can safely move to the other side of the river. They named the Bosphorus Bridge after Ataturk, the founder of the republic.

It consists of three lanes for cars and two additional lanes are allocated for special vehicles. Entrance to the bridge over the Bosphorus in Turkey is paid, but no one complains because it is the main road through the strait. The fare is about 2 euros, you must pay when traveling in the direction of Europe, the return trip is free.

Pedestrian paths were included in the design phase. They also built them, but a few years later the entrance was closed. The reason was a wave of suicides, mentally unstable people were magnetically attracted to the canvas, and the Bosphorus Bridge added to the terrible statistics of objects for settling scores with life.

You can only drive through the strait by private or public transport, enjoying the surrounding beauty, you can’t walk through.

The modern meaning of the bridge

The Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul - length and height

It is still an important structure in the city’s transportation system. The flow of cars has increased several times, but so far its capacity is sufficient for the passage of all comers, and it is more than 200 thousand cars daily. In 2007, for safety and aesthetic reasons, lighting was constructed. It turns on at sunset and turns the bridge into an amazing sight. If you spend an evening and wait a bit, you can enjoy the spectacle when a thin, inconspicuous string turns into a voluminous structure, shining against the background of dark water.

You should know! Every October, the bridge is closed to cars for a symbolic marathon in which participants start in Asia and finish in Europe.

How to get to the Bosphorus Bridge?

It connects Uskudar and Eminenu districts. In order to get to the foot, you need to use public transport. Bus number 40 T will take you to the Ortaköy quarter, and then the pedestrian road leads to the pier of the same name. There is no entrance to the walkways, the view is not interesting either. The best angle for observation and colorful photos is from the deck of the pleasure boat. According to local beliefs, when sailing under the bridge, you need to make a wish and it will surely come true.

A new bridge over the Bosphorus in Istanbul

The New Bridge over the Bosphorus (Bridge of Sultan Mehmed Fatih) in Istanbul

Tourists often wonder how many bridges over the Bosphorus in Istanbul, given the busy traffic. There are two in total in the capital and both were built in the 20th century. The second is designed to reduce the flow of traffic and create an alternative route to the other side of the river. The difference in opening dates is only 15 years, the construction also took 3 years, but during its construction new technologies were used to increase the safety of structures and create a significant margin of safety.

The main span is much longer than the Bosphorus, the technical characteristics are better. Now photos and descriptions of the second bridge, named after Mehmed Fatih, appear in tourist booklets as often as the first.

Location of the bridge of Sultan Mehmed Fatih on the map

Location of the Sultan Mehmed Fatih Bridge on the map of Istanbul

Characteristics of the Mehmed Fatih Bridge

Characteristics of the Mehmed Fatih Bridge across the Bosphorus in Istanbul

Structures are very similar, the design is about the same and is a suspension web on heavy supports of a special alloy. The width is different, it is 6 meters more than the first, the height of the bridges in the Bosphorus is also similar, 64 meters. The safety margin is such that when fully loaded, the deck lowers by only 90 cm.

Istanbul’s famous bridges over the Bosphorus

Both bridges have become a trademark of the city, their image is on calendars, posters and tourist booklets. Despite the similarity of the designs, it is easy to tell them apart by looking at the cables of the suspended web. The Bosporus has them in a zigzag pattern, while Mahmed Fatih has them vertically. One more bridge is included in the plan, but the design and date of construction are not considered. It is known that it will have a railroad bed, but it is still only a project.

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