Immediately across the Galata bridge from Eminönü and the old city, the gritty port area of Karaköy is now swamped with cruise liners. Further inland is Galata proper, once a Genoese city-state within İstanbul and now an up-and-coming district full of bars and restaurants.
The first bridge to span the Golden Horn was completed in 1845. It was rebuilt three times before its most recent incarnation, the Galata Köprüsü (Galata bridge), was erected in the late 1980s. While this latest version may lack grace, its stunning location and supreme importance in linking the old and new İstanbuls more than make up for its lack of architectural merit. A walkway follows either side of the bridge close to water level, backed by a myriad of lively cafés, bars and restaurants. The tram rumbles across the upper level, and the bridge’s guardrails are invisible behind a solid wall of expectant anglers. To discover more about this landmark bridge and the people whose lives revolve around it, read Geert Mak’s The Bridge.