Bridges of Istanbul

When a city is separated by a strait like Istanbul, there’s no doubt that there will be a few bridges that connect the two sides and admire whose those who see. In Istanbul, the Asian and European sides, are connected to one another through bridges that have become iconic visual representations of the city.

Precisely, Istanbul’s bridges are the most important symbols of the city.

Besides ease in transportation and access from one of two continents to the other, these bridges represent attractions of Istanbul by giving the city some of its unique charm and fame.

In this guide, we shared the bridges of Istanbul, their histories and interesting facts with you.

Atatürk Bridge

Atatürk Bridge that is also known as the Unkapanı Bridge, is on the Golden Horn in Istanbul. It is categorized as a highway bridge. The father of its name is the founder and the first President of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Its first name was Hayratiye Bridge when it was completed in 1836 and it connected the Unkapanı and Azapkapı. The bridge was built by the order of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II and supervised by Ahmed Fevzi Pasha. It was constructed at the Imperial Naval Arsenal (Tersâne-i Âmire) on the Golden Horn.

It was opened in 1836 by attended Sultan Mahmud II in 1836. While at first, it was about 400 meters (1,300 feet) long and 10 meters (33 feet) wide, with the replaced second bridge it was 480 meters (1,570 feet) long and 18 meters (59 feet) wide and served until 1912.

After 1912, it becomes the third bridge on this side nearby Third Galata Bridge. However, it was used until 1936 since it was damaged by the storm.

The fourth bridge on this site that is still exists was 1940 with the name Atatürk Bridge. It is now 477 meters (1,565 feet) long and 25 meters (82 feet) wide.

Bosphorus Bridge

The first Bridge had the fourth-longest suspension bridge span in the world, that is known as The Bosphorus Bridge (Turkish: Boğaziçi Köprüsü) connects Europe and Asia. (especially Ortaköy and Beylerbeyi) It is renamed as the 15 July Martyrs Bridge. (Turkish: 15 Temmuz Şehitler Köprüsü).

Its construction was completed in 1973. Although when it was built, it had 4th-longest suspension bridge span, currently the Bosphorus Bridge has the 33rd-longest suspension bridge span in the world.

In October, the annual Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon crosses the bridge on its way from Asia to Europe. Since it is provided to close to traffic, it is safe. You can also run in the marathon if you want or you can cross the bridge on foot.

If you watch the tennis match that played between Venus Williams and İpek Şenoğlu in 2005, you may be familiar with the Bosphorus Bridge. The event promoted the upcoming 2005 WTA Istanbul Cup and lasted five minutes.

Or you can be familiar with The Bosphorus Bridge if you see British Formula One driver David Coulthard while he drove his Red Bull racing car across the bridge from the European side to the Asian side. In fact, he parked his car in the garden of Dolmabahçe Palace where his ride had started.

In 2013, World No. 1 golfer Tiger Woods, was brought to the bridge by helicopter and made a couple of show shots on the bridge, hitting balls from the Asian side to the European side on one side of the bridge, which was closed to traffic for about one hour.

Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge

The second Bosphorus Bridge, that is known as the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (“Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror Bridge”), (in Turkish: Fatih Sultan Mehmet Köprüsü, F.S.M. Köprüsü or 2. Köprü) was completed in 1988. While it was the 5th-longest suspension bridge span in the world; today it is the 24th.

The father of the name of the bridge is Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, who conquered the Byzantine capital, Constantinople (Istanbul), in 1453.

The bridge is connected to Hisarüstü (European side) to Kavacık (Asian side) and it is 1,510 m long with a deck width of 39 m.

It has 8 lines but two of them are emergency lanes in each direction. Since İstanbul is the city that is crowded, on weekday mornings, commuter traffic flows mostly westbound to the European part, thus five lanes run westbound and only three eastbound.

In contrast to mornings, on weekday evenings, five lanes are dedicated to eastbound traffic and three lanes, to westbound traffic. Pedestrians are not permitted to use the bridge. According to the researches, 150,000 vehicles use the bridge to pass away.

The bridge is closed to automobile traffic, but motorcycles and pedestrians are allowed.

Galata Bridge

The Galata Bridge that was built at the end of the 19th century is a bridge that spans the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey. If you are familiar with Turkish poetry and novels, you may have heard Galata Bridge.

The first bridge that was built by Justinian the Great, exhibits the Theodosian Land Walls at the north-eastern end of the city in this rendering of old Constantinople.

It was constructed in the 6th century, close to the area near the Theodosian Land Walls at the western end of the city.

In 1453, during the Fall of Constantinople, to move from one side of the Golden Horn to another, the Turks integrate a mobile bridge by placing the side of their ships by side across the water.

Here’s the interesting fact: Golden Horn Bridge designed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1502.

During the years 1502–1503 when plans to construct the first bridge at the current location, Sultan Bayezid II demand Leonardo da Vinci too. He used three well-known geometrical principles, the pressed-bow, parabolic curve, and keystone arch and created an unprecedented single span 240 m (790 ft) long and 24 m (79 ft) wide bridge for the Golden Horn. It was meant would have become the longest bridge in the world of that time, had it been constructed.

However, the ambitious design was not like the desire of the Sultan. Thus, another Italian artist, Michelangelo, was also invited to design a bridge for Istanbul. Michelangelo rejected the proposal, and the idea of building a bridge across the Golden Horn was shelved until the 19th century.

Hayratiye Bridge

Further up the waterway, Mahmud II (1808–1839) had a bridge built that is called Hayratiye (Benefaction in English) and was opened in 1836, between Azapkapı and Unkapanı.

Deputy Lord High Admiral Fevzi Ahmet Paşa worked with him the workers and facilities of the naval arsenal. The books claim that the bridge was 500–540 m (1,640–1,770 ft) long.

Cisr-i Cedid Bridge

Cisr-i Cedid or New Bridge that was known as the first Galata Bridge was built in 1845 by order of Valide Sultan, the mother of Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid. This bridge where at the beginning of the waterway was constructed of wood is used for 18 years.

On the other side of the bridge (in the Karaköy), it is claimed that New Bridge was built by Sultan Abdülmecid I, and the first to pass below it was the French captain Magnan in his ship the Cygne.

The “Ertuğrul” cavalry regiment on the third Galata Bridge – painting by Fausto Zonaro for Sultan Abdulhamid II.

The toll was collected until May 31, 1930, by officials in white uniforms standing on both ends of the bridge.

Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge

The Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge that is used for rail and motor vehicle transit over the Bosphorus strait is also known as the Third Bosphorus Bridge. (Turkish: Yavuz Sultan Selim Köprüsü) The bridge is located near the Black Sea entrance of the Bosphorus Strait, and it connects Garipçe in Sarıyer on the European side and Poyrazköy in Beykoz on the Asian side.

The stone laying ceremony was held on 29 May 2013. The bridge was opened to traffic on 26 August 2016.

The bridge can be described as one of the tallest bridges in the world due to 322 m (1,056 ft). The bridge is also one of the world’s widest suspension bridges, at 58.4 meters (192 ft) wide.

Actually, in Northern Marmara Motorway Project (260 km/160 mi) that connects Kınalı, Silivri, Paşaköy, and Hendek, the bridge was the part of the project. The 58.4-metre-wide (192 ft) bridge is 2,164 m (7,100 ft) in length with a main span of 1,408 m (4,619 ft). The main span is the ninth longest suspension bridge in the world.

The project leader and designer, the Swiss engineer, Jean-François Klein and the French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux from a Geneva-based company, combined the bridge as a road-rail bridge.

Moreover, the Turkish company İçtaş and the Italian company Astaldi construct the structure in 2012 and it has four motorway lanes and one railway line in each direction.

According to research, the bridge’s construction cost only 4.5 billion TRY (approximately 2.5 billion USD as of March 2013). However, the project is planned to finish in 3 years but it was built in only 2 years.

Haliç Bridge

Haliç Bridge that (Turkish: Haliç Köprüsü, “Golden Horn Bridge”) is known as the Istanbul Inner Beltway is categorized as a highway bridge on the Golden Horn. Moreover, it connects the neighborhoods of Ayvansaray in the southwest and Halıcıoğlu in the northwest.

It was built on 10 September 1974. The firms that were constructed the bridge were IHI Corporation of Japan and Julius Berger-Bauboag AG of Germany.

The bridge has a length of 995 m (3,264 ft), a width of 32 m (105 ft), and a height of 22 m (72 ft) above sea level.

Golden Horn Metro Bridge

The Golden Horn Metro Bridge that connects the Beyoğlu and Fatih districts on the European side of Istanbul is located between the Galata and Atatürk Bridge. (Turkish: Haliç Metro Köprüsü) It is a cable-stayed bridge along the M2 line of the Istanbul Metro, spanning the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey. It is approximately 200 m (660 ft) east of the latter. We can say that it is the fourth bridge across the Golden Horn and started to use on 15, 2014.

It is approximately 200 m (660 ft) east of the latter. We can say that it is the fourth bridge across the Golden Horn and started to use on 15, 2014.

The bridge provides a direct connection between the Hacıosman metro station in the Sarıyer district (at the northern end of the M2 line), with the Yenikapı transport hub in the Fatih district (at the southern end of the M2 line.)

The project of its have been planned first time in 1952. After the confirmation of the metro line by the city’s Monument Protection Board and the construction of the tunnels relating to the metro line, Metropolitan Municipality decided to build a metro bridge spanning the Golden Horn.

In 2005, while 21 proposals were submitted to the Monument Protection Board, none were found to be sufficiently in harmony with the city’s skyline.

Then, architect Hakan Kıran suggested a perfect design while there was controversial from the very beginning. In November 2009, the tower height was reduced from the first project that is 82 m (269 ft) to 65 m (213 ft) because the original height threatened the Istanbul’s presence in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.

Since there are a historical appearance and character in the surroundings, the project is needed for revisions relating to the alignment of the metro line.

Since, while digging, when the wall of Byzantine-era basilica and a graveyard on the same bank have been discovered, the Unkapanı bank during digging works for pier foundations forced a redesign of the project.

The bridge connects the Beyoğlu and Fatih districts on the northern and southern shores of the Golden Horn. Süleymaniye Mosque and Beyazıt Tower are seen in the background.

The 12.6-metre-wide (41 ft) bridge carries two metro railway tracks in the middle and a 4.4-metre-wide (14 ft) sidewalk in each direction at a height of 13 m (43 ft) above sea level. The deck is a 4.45-meter-high (14.6 ft).

Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I love Istanbul. I have been to 10 different countries. Istanbul is in the top 3 cities. I like to play soccer too :)

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