The Bosphorus (or Bosporus) is a strategic waterway located in northwestern Turkey that connects the Black Sea to the north and with the Sea of Marmara to the south, and via the Dardanelles, the Mediterranean Sea. The Bosphorus separates the European and Asian portions of Istanbul. The world’s narrowest strait used for international navigation, it measures 32 kilometers (20 miles) in length. The width varies from 730 – 3300 meters (800 – 3600 yards).

The Bosphorus Strait viewed from the International Space Station

In 2007, I visited Istanbul and took a short cruise on the Bosphorus.  The cruise departed from the area known as the Golden Horn, a small Bosphorus estuary near the Sea of Marmara.  The area around the Golden Horn is packed with shops, restaurants and other attractions.

Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn is a great place to sample local food from the many wonderful and inexpensive restaurants.



Just south of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus empties into the Sea Of Marmara.


Below is a view looking north toward the the Bosphorus Bridge, which was renamed the 15 July Martyrs Bridge to honor soldiers who defended it during the attempted coup in 2016.


Not surprisingly, over the centuries the shores of the Bosphorus have been lined with many beautiful palaces. villas, and castles.  Scroll over photos to see the caption.



Bosphorus is a very busy and dangerous waterway due to many required sharp course changes.  Around 48,000 ships pass through this strait annually.  That is three times the numbers passing through the Suez Canal per year and four times greater than the annual numbers passing through the Panama Canal.



Final Thought

Istanbul and the Bosphorus Strait have played and continue to play strategic roles in world history and the interactions between great religions and cultures. It is worth a visit or two. Have you been or plan to visit?