Explore Istanbul and around
Heading north from Sultanahmet brings you to the waterfront district of Eminönü. Once the maritime gateway to the city, it remains one of the largest and most convenient transport hubs, where buses, ferries, trams and trains converge, the latter at the grand Sirkeci station, once the last stop on the famed Orient Express. Sights within this district include the Cağaloğlu hamam and the landmark Yeni Cami complex which includes the ornate Ottoman-era Spice Bazaar.Read More
The Golden Horn
The Golden Horn
The Golden Horn (Halic or estuary in Turkish) is one of the finest natural harbours in the world and its fortunes have been closely linked with those of the city. On two separate occasions, capture of the Horn proved to be the turning point of crucial military campaigns. The first occasion, in 1203–04, was when the Crusaders took the Horn and proceeded to besiege the city for ten months, until they breached the walls separating the inlet from the city. The second was a spectacular tour de force by Mehmet the Conqueror, who was prevented from entering the Horn by a chain fastened across it and so carried his ships overland at night and launched them into the inlet from its northern shore. Mehmet then constructed a pontoon across the top of the Horn over which he transported his army and cannons in preparation for the siege of the land walls, which were finally breached in 1453. For the Ottoman Empire, the Horn was a vital harbour, supplying the Genoese, Venetian and Jewish trading colonies on its northern shore.