A City and Country Divided

One of the cool things about Istanbul (or about Turkey for that matter) is that it straddles both the European and Asian continents.  Thus far, with the exception of our flight landing in Asia, we’ve spent our time on the European side.  However, during our time here in Istanbul we did a cruise along the Bosphorus Straight, the natural border between the two continents and had a chance to check out a little bit of the Asian side from the water.  

Our cruise started off along the Golden Horn before turning into the Bosphorus Straight.  The Golden Horn further divides the city into new and old and was the area that Byzantium (before it was known as Constantinople) was founded more than 25 centuries ago (around 600 BC).  

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Galata Tower in the distance – once the tallest structure in Istanbul

One of the many mosques that line the Golden Horn and Bosphorus Strait

One of the many mosques that line the Golden Horn and Bosphorus Strait

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Another mosque

Another mosque

Palace that is now a museum

Palace that is now a museum

Taking a picture of me taking a picture of him!

Taking a picture of me taking a picture of him!

It was quite cool riding up the Straight and seeing Asia on one side and Europe on the other. As the only sea route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, it’s this natural divide of the Bosphorus Straight that played a big role in Istanbul’s strategic position along the Silk Road. 

Another palace that is now the most expensive hotel in Istanbul - the royal suite goes for 30.000 euro per night!

Another palace that is now the most expensive hotel in Istanbul – the royal suite goes for 30.000 euro per night!

Bridge from Europe to Asia

Bridge from Europe to Asia

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Going under the bridge - that's Asia on the other side!

Going under the bridge – that’s Asia on the other side!

Past the bridge - Europe on right, Asia on left

Past the bridge – Europe on right, Asia on left

One of the fancier neighborhoods we were told

One of the fancier neighborhoods we were told

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Castle / fort along the Bosphorus

Castle / fort along the Bosphorus

From a population standpoint, more of Istanbul lives on the European side than on the Asian side (also called Anatolian).  However, the rest of Turkey is another story as only about 5% is in Europe, the rest in Asia.

Here we are in Europe

Here we are in Europe

And now we are heading back on the Asian / Anatolian side

And now we are heading back on the Asian / Anatolian side

Some castle walls behind these buildings

Some castle walls behind these buildings

Yet another palace - sense a theme here?

Yet another palace – sense a theme here?

A view of some of the Asian side homes

A view of some of the Asian side homes

A few more beautiful homes along the Bosphorus

A few more beautiful homes along the Bosphorus

Military school

Military school

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The cruise was relaxing (a few hours off our feet was nice!) and informative and the weather very pleasant.  It was fun getting a chance to spend a few hours in between two continents!  We’re looking forward to more time in Asia when we arrive in Cappadocia on Wednesday!

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This "island" is known as the Maiden's Tower - it reminds me of the story of Rapunzel - the father was told his daughter was going to die of a snake bite and so he sent her to this island to live.  Sadly, a snake made it into a basket of food and she died.  It is of course, not the true reason for the tower, only a legend, but an interesting one nonetheless.

This “island” is known as the Maiden’s Tower – it reminds me of the story of Rapunzel – the father was told his daughter was going to die of a snake bite and so he sent her to this island to live. Sadly, a snake made it into a basket of food and she died. It is of course, not the true reason for the tower, only a legend, but an interesting one nonetheless.

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Knuffels en kussen,

Julie

2 thoughts on “A City and Country Divided

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