This horn-shaped estuary divides European Istanbul. One of the best natural harbors globally was once the center for the Byzantine and Ottoman navies and commercial shipping interests. Today, attractive parks and promenades line the shores, a picturesque scene, especially as the sun goes down over the water.
At Fener and Balat, neighborhoods midway up the Golden Horn, entire streets are filled with old wooden houses, churches, and synagogues dating from Byzantine and Ottoman times. The Orthodox Patriarchy resides at Fener and a little further up the Golden Horn at Eyup are some wonderful examples of Ottoman architecture. Muslim pilgrims worldwide visit Eyup Camii and the Tomb of Eyup, the Prophet Mohammed’s standard-bearer, and it is one of the holiest places in Islam. The area is still a popular burial place, and the hills above the mosque are dotted with modern gravestones interspersed with ornate Ottoman stones. The Pierre Loti Cafe, atop the hill overlooking the shrine and the Golden Horn, is a wonderful place to enjoy the view’s tranquility.
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