Hg2 : The Hedonist

The Bosphorus Tour

The first words go to the 18th-century satirist and Istanbul diarist Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: ‘The pleasure of going on a barge to Chelsea is not comparable to that of rowing upon the canal of the sea here, where, for twenty miles together down the Bosphorus, the most beautiful variety of prospects present themselves’. Indeed. Back then, the green and tree-lined shores of the Bosphorus – which stretches 14 miles from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea – were studded with villages and yalis, the beautiful, wooden, sometimes fabulously ornate summer houses wealthy Ottomans built for themselves. On a sunny day, the Bosphorus is still as magical and there are plenty of wonderful sights along the way – the beautiful 19th-century Büyük Mecidiye Mosque by the first, massive suspension bridge in Oratköy, and the twin fortresses of Rumeli and Anadalou (edging the shores at the Bosphorus’ second bridge and constructed by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 to knock out any ship daring to break his siege of Istanbul). Boats also steam alongside the decaying beauty of the Köprülü Yali in Amcazade, the kitschy baroque Muhayyes Yali in Yeniköy and Sultan Abdülaziz’s summer palace in Beylerbeyi, as well as scooting past the major waterfront museums from Istanbul Modern to the Dolmabahçe Palace. Twice-daily tours leave from the Eminönü ferry terminal with a passenger pick-up in Beikta. Private boat tours also depart from the same areas

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