The tunnels and bridges that join Asia with Europe | Popgen Tech


Istanbul (CNN) — With sloping banks dotted with elegant personal mansions, palace parks and age-old groves, the Bosphorus is the epitome of Istanbul.

This 19-mile (30-kilometer) strait runs from the Black Sea within the north to the Sea of ​​Marmara within the south.

The city sprawl spans Europe within the west and Asia within the east, geographical information that give rise to the romantically evocative however considerably fanciful description of Istanbul as a metropolis spanning two continents.

Technically it’s, however the Bosphorus just isn’t town’s solely waterway. Simply earlier than it meets the Sea of ​​Marmara, the Golden Horn – regionally often called Haliç – branches northwest. It lastly protrudes inland, not like the Sea of ​​Marmara, which ends up in the Aegean Sea through the slim Dardanelles Strait.

Day and evening, tankers and container ships are seen alongside the horizon close to the Princess Islands, patiently ready their flip to cross alongside the transport lane.

Richard Quest rediscovers the essence and vitality of an iconic Turkish metropolis that engages all of the senses whereas providing locations of quiet magnificence.

Equally, residents of Istanbul additionally wait in automobiles, on buses, trains and ferries. In line with 2021 figures, simply shy of 16 million individuals dwell in Istanbul. Many dwell on one aspect of town and work on the opposite, which means that a big proportion of the inhabitants is on the transfer at any given time.

Navigating town’s tangled street map will be chaotic at any time of day and typically it feels prefer it’s a surprise anybody will get wherever, however they do — utilizing street, rail, ship, bridge and tunnel from one continent to a different.

This is the way it’s accomplished:

15 July Martyrs’ Bridge (15 Temmuz Şehitler Köprüsü)

15 July Martyrs' Bridge was the first to span the Bosphorus.

15 July Martyrs’ Bridge was the primary to span the Bosphorus.

Photosensia/iStockphoto/Getty Photos

Initially often called Boğaziçi Köprüsü — or Bosphorous Bridge — this elegant construction was renamed the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge after a failed coup in 2016, however locals nonetheless prefer to seek advice from it as Boğaziçi Köprüsü, or the First Bridge.

Earlier than it opened on October 29, 1973, the fiftieth anniversary of the Turkish Republic, the one method to cross from Europe to Asia was by ferry.

The elegant new 1,560-meter (5,118-foot) metal suspension bridge allowed drivers to cross excessive above the fast-moving waters of the Bosphorus and revel in gorgeous views throughout to Topkapi Palace and out to the Sea of ​​Marmara within the distance.

In its early days, the bridge attracted walkers who wished a vantage level to admire the stately white splendor of the Nineteenth-century Büyük Mecediye Mosque down on the waterfront in Ortaköy.

These days, the bridge is barely open to pedestrians sooner or later a yr when 1000’s signal as much as run the Istanbul Marathon. The remainder of the time, drivers pay lower than 50 cents to cross.

Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge

The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge offers spectacular views of the Bosphorus.

The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge gives spectacular views of the Bosphorus.

mehmet/Adobe Inventory

The second bridge connecting each continents opened on July 3, 1988 and was named after Fatih Sultan Mehmet, or Mehmet the Conqueror. He’s the man who rode into town in 1453 and established Ottoman rule in Constantinople, then capital of the Byzantine Empire.

Typically known as FSM Köprüsü, that is one other gravity-anchored metal suspension bridge comparable in size to the First Bridge and prices an analogous toll to make use of.

It spans the narrowest level of the Bosphorus Strait, the place the Persian King Darius I constructed a floating bridge in 512 BC

The site visitors deck of the fashionable incarnation hangs about 200 ft above the water and connects Hısarüstü within the west with Kavacık within the east.

It gives spectacular views of the Bosphorus, however no pedestrian entry is allowed, so solely drivers can respect it, a welcome distraction when caught in weekend midnight site visitors jams.

Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge

The Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge was opened in 2016.

The Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge was opened in 2016.

irina lepnyova/Adobe Inventory

In 2016, a 3rd suspension bridge over the Bosphorus, close to the Black Sea, opened. This one is called after Yavuz Sultan Selim, grandson of Mehmet the Conqueror and a becoming alternative given his curiosity in transportation. The Sixteenth-century sultan rebuilt the Ottoman navy and Haliç Tershanesi, the Golden Horn shipyards.

Upon completion, the bridge broke quite a few data. With a 58.8 meter huge single deck, it’s the world’s widest suspension bridge, carrying eight lanes of site visitors and a double observe railway. It is usually the world’s fifth highest bridge, rising greater than 322 meters.

The bridge, designed to be used by vehicles and long-distance site visitors heading to central Anatolia and past, gives drivers a view for miles towards the Black Sea on clear days and fees a primary automobile toll of about $1.

Çannakale 1915 Bridge

The 1915 Canakkale Bridge has the world's longest suspension bridge span.

The 1915 Canakkale Bridge has the world’s longest suspension bridge span.

Burak Akay/Anadolu Company/Getty Photos

The most recent path to span the 2 continents is the spectacular Çannakale 1915 Köprüsü, which stretches between Gelibolu on the European aspect of the Dardanelles to Lapseki over in Asia.

Measuring just below 2.3 miles, it now holds the world document for the longest suspension bridge span.

The construction floats throughout the Straits, changing a one-hour ferry (which might truly take as much as 5 hours with ready time) with a six-minute drive on the 50 mile per hour restrict.

Designed for velocity reasonably than views, it’s much less fashionable with locals on account of a toll of practically US$11 per automobile.

The bridge opened on March 18, 2022, commemorating the day in 1915 that Turkey triumphed over the Allies in a battle to take management of this important waterway.

Eurasia tunnel

The Eurasia Tunnel is one of the fastest ways across the Bosphorus.

The Eurasia Tunnel is without doubt one of the quickest methods throughout the Bosphorus.

OZAN ​​KOSE/AFP through Getty Photos

The 5.3 kilometer (3.3 mi) underwater part of the Eurasia Tunnel (Avrasya Tüneli in Turkish) is a serious draw for engineering followers, however the tunnel’s principal attraction is the quickest method to get from one finish of Istanbul to the opposite to return.

It’s purposeful reasonably than lovely, with a velocity restrict of 70 kilometers per hour. A part of an extended nine-mile street hyperlink connecting Kazlıçeşme in Europe with Göztepe in Asia, after completion in December 2016, it lower journey time from 100 minutes to only 15.

The tunnel, which has a payment of about $2.85 per automobile, additionally turned essentially the most sensible hyperlink between town’s two airports, Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen till business flights from Atatürk Airport to the enormous Istanbul Airport, extra if 27 miles northwest of central, was moved. Istanbul’s Taksim Sq..

With a payment of about $2.85 per automobile, the Eurasia Tunnel is the costliest method to cross the Bosphorus.

As with the bridge crossings, tolls are collected through the Hızlı Geşil Sistemi. This method, known as HGS for brief, makes use of particular windshield stickers which can be mechanically scanned when autos cross by toll gates.

It is very important have sufficient credit score in your account to cowl prices, particularly in case you plan to drive throughout a border. Unpaid fines imply do not cross! Don’t fret although. There’s a helpful app you’ll be able to obtain to trace credit score and utilization.


Construction started on the Marmaray tunnel in 2013.

Building began on the Marmaray tunnel in 2013.

OZAN ​​KOSE/AFP through Getty Photos

This underground, intercontinental prepare service has been a very long time coming. In 1860, Sultan Abdülmecid I got here up with the concept for a submarine crossing within the strait, however died earlier than he may do something about it.

One other sultan, Abdul Hamid II, was when French engineers introduced it to him in 1892, however there was no progress.

Greater than 100 years later, curiosity resurfaced and building on the 13.6 kilometer tunnel started in 2004.

Regardless of one of the best intentions, the rail service didn’t open till October 29, 2013. Deadlines have been pushed again when practically each meter dug revealed archaeological finds, some relationship again 8,000 years.

It was one other six years earlier than all of the stations alongside the road have been prepared to be used.

The tunnel connects Kazlıçeşme on the European aspect with Ayrılık Çeşmesi on the Asian aspect, and descends to 200 ft under sea stage at its lowest level, making it the world’s deepest submerged tunnel.

All vacationers have to take the Marmaray is an Istanbul card (Istanbul Kart). Accessible in any respect main public transport hubs and small kiosks all through town, it permits the wearer to hop on and off all modes of public transport at will.


Ferries are perhaps the most atmospheric way to cross the Bosphorus.

Ferries are maybe essentially the most atmospheric method to cross the Bosphorus.

Ryzhkov Aleksandr/Adobe Inventory

It isn’t the quickest method to journey between continents, however there are few journey experiences higher than being on a ferry throughout the Bosphorus.

Ft on the railing and the wind in your hair, watch the minaretted skyline of Istanbul slide by as you are taking a sip of spicy Turkish tea and a chew of simit, a sesame seed-coated ring of sourdough.

Pure heaven.

The Şehir Hatlar Vapuları (Metropolis Traces’ Ferries) was established in 1844 throughout the Ottoman Empire. In addition to crossing and traversing the Bosphorus, their ferries sail the Sea of ​​Marmara, the Golden Horn and throughout to the Princes Islands.

Additionally they transport automobiles and passengers on the brief journey between Sirkeci and Harem, and on longer journeys to Bursa, Yalova and Mudanya.

Ferries are the epitome of environment and elegance relating to public transportation in Istanbul, not like the buses.

Certain, buses go completely in all places, together with one route that covers 63 miles over 78 stops, however they’re typically uncomfortably crowded and often caught in site visitors.

But they’ve one factor in frequent with the ferries — none of them proceed by the evening. In case you’re on the lookout for a fast, economical method to get from one aspect of the Bosphorus to the opposite within the early hours, late-night minibuses are the way in which to go.

Late evening shared minibuses

Shared minibuses in Istanbul are a detailed cousin of the dolmuş, small privately operated buses that run fastened routes like common buses, however choose up and drop off passengers as requested.

Each function on a money foundation. Dolmuş takes their title from the phrase stuffed in Turkish. What number of passengers they carry is determined by the variety of our bodies they will squeeze in (so much, in case you are questioning) whereas yellow minibuses solely take as many individuals as there are seats.

After an evening out on the European aspect of city, partygoers head to the minibus cease on Taksim Sq.. Many of the drivers appear to have System One aspirations, so as soon as they’re full, it is normally pedal to the metallic that makes for a fast journey house.


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