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GALATA BRIDGE over the Golden Horn

Bridges hold a special allure for humans, and as a result, they frequently become the subjects of myths and legends. That is especially true in Istanbul, where the city’s many bridges have become cultural icons.

The Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn is significant for more reasons than its history, so focusing solely on that would be a mistake. Like a fellow citizen, this bridge has served as more than just a practical means of transportation between two points across a body of water; it has also carried deep spiritual significance for its users. The bridge played an important role in Turkish literature, particularly in the late 19th century. Nearly every novelist, like Hüseyin Rahmi Gürpinar and Ahmet Rasim, has written about this bridge, especially in the last medium.

During the Turkish siege of Istanbul in 1453, the city’s oldest known bridge was constructed across the Golden Horn. The idea of building a permanent bridge here was discussed in 1502 and 1503, and Leonardo da Vinci used this item to sketch out a design for a single-span bridge with double pillars at either end, measuring 350 meters in length and 24 meters in width (1148 x 79 feet).

Unfortunately, logistical challenges prevented this from happening, so another Italian artist, Michelangelo, was commissioned to create a bridge for Istanbul instead. After Michelangelo turned down the proposal, the idea of constructing a bridge here was shelved until the 19th century. The bridge connecting Azapkapi and Unkapani was commissioned by Sultan Mahmut II (1808–1839) and constructed in the early 19th century. Hayratiye Bridge was dedicated on September 3, 1836.

Using the navy’s manpower and equipment, Deputy Lord High Admiral Fevzi Ahmet Pasha completed the task. The total length of this pontoon bridge ranged from about 500 to 540 meters (1640 to 1771 feet).

In 1845, the mother of Sultan Abdulmecid built the first Galata Bridge at the channel’s mouth, and it was in use for the next 18 years. To differentiate it from the older bridge further up the Golden Horn, which became known as the Cisr-i Atik, or Old Bridge, the newer bridge was given the name Cisr-i Cedid or New Bridge.

Abdulmecid Han was the man responsible for constructing the new bridge. The Sultan of Ottomany was the first to cross the bridge, followed by the French captain Magnan of the Cygne. After the first three days, a toll called “mürüriye” was paid to the Naval Ministry to cross the bridge.

After Napoleon III’s planned visit to the city in 1863, Sultan Abdulaziz had Ethem Pertev Pasha construct a new wooden bridge.

After signing a contract with the French company Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranée in 1870 to build a third bridge, the project was postponed due to the outbreak of war between France and Germany and was eventually awarded to the British company G. Wells in 1872. This pontooned bridge, built in 1875, measured 480 meters in length and 14 meters in width (1574 x 46 feet). The total cost of construction was 105,000 liras of gold. After being in use until 1912, when the truly ancient Cisr-i Atik Bridge was built upstream, this one was removed.

In 1912, the German Man Company spent 350,000 gold liras constructing the fourth Galata Bridge. The length of this bridge was 466 meters, and its width was 25 meters (82 feet). The bridge many people today recognize was badly damaged in a fire in 1992 and was towed up the Golden Horn to make way for the newer bridge. The fifth bridge, measuring 490 meters (1608 feet) in length and 42 meters (138 feet) in width, opened in 1994 and is still in use today.

The Galata Bridge connected the historic city of Istanbul, home to the imperial palace and major religious and secular institutions of the Ottoman Empire, with the modern neighborhoods of Galata, Beyoglu, Sisli, and Harbiye, where a disproportionate number of non-Muslims and foreign merchants and diplomats made their homes. In this way, the bridge brought together two very different cultures.

According to author Peyami Safa’s novel Fatih-Harbiye, anyone who crosses the bridge from Fatih to Harbiye enters an entirely new culture and civilization. The Galata Bridge has appeared in many works of fiction and has also been the subject of numerous paintings and engravings due to its picturesque appearance.

Galata Bridge Attractions

The Galata Bridge is home to many excellent seafood restaurants.

Under the bridge, on both sides, are numerous eateries specializing in seafood. Every variety of fish imaginable can be found on restaurant menus. Visitors to the area, who typically dine on fish, find the proliferation of boats and ships to be the most appealing aspect. Grilled fish served with Turkish bread is a popular appetizer on boats and ships. Crew members engage in the rewarding activity of preparing fish for the consumption of the ship’s passengers.

Nighttime View of the Galata Bridge

At night, the Galata Bridge is one of the best spots in Istanbul for tourists and partygoers to take in the peaceful sea and the bridge’s charming lights while listening to the sounds of the city. They also enjoy the pretty view of the city at night when the colorful lights reflect in the Bosphorus.

Galata Bridge tourist attractions

Near the Galata Bridge in Istanbul are many famous landmarks. The Sultan Ahmed neighborhood is to the south, and the Karakoy neighborhood is to the north. From Eminonu, ferry rides to the Princess Islands can be taken by marine enthusiasts. The Galata Bridge is close to many other popular tourist destinations, including the Galata Tower, the Spice Market (Egyptian Market), the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, the Fatih Mosque, the Suleymaniye Mosque, the Ayasofya Mosque, Sultan Ahmed Square, and many more.


Frequently Asked Questions About the Galata Bridge

Q: What is the Galata Bridge?

A: The Galata Bridge is a suspension bridge over the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey.


Q: Where is the Galata Bridge located?

A: The Galata Bridge is located in Istanbul, Turkey, spanning the Golden Horn.


Q: What is the history of the Galata Bridge?

A: The Galata Bridge was built in 1992, replacing an older bridge that was built in the late 19th century.


Q: What is the significance of the Galata Bridge?

A: The Galata Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in Istanbul, and it provides a connection between the old city and the modern city.


Q: What are the opening hours of the Galata Bridge?

A: The Galata Bridge is open 24 hours a day.


Q: How much does it cost to cross the Galata Bridge?

A: Crossing the Galata Bridge is free of charge.


Q: What is the transportation like to the Galata Bridge?

A: The Galata Bridge is easily accessible by taxi or public transportation.


Q: Are there any restaurants or shops on the Galata Bridge?

A: Yes, there are several restaurants and shops on the Galata Bridge, including seafood restaurants and souvenir shops.


Q: What is the best time to visit the Galata Bridge?

A: The best time to visit the Galata Bridge is at sunset when the view of the city and the Bosphorus is particularly stunning.


Q: Are there any restrictions on taking photos at the Galata Bridge?

A: There are no restrictions on taking photos at the Galata Bridge, but visitors should be respectful of the locals and the busy street traffic.


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Map of Galata Bridge

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