across the Golden Horn
the sun sets in Istanbul,
its yellow light blazes on the waters
of the Golden Horn, giving
this freshwater estuary its romantic
name...we think. (The name in English
is a direct translation of the Byzantine name Chrysokeras.)
Horn" is its Western name. Its
Turkish name, Haliç,
(hah-LEECH, from Arabic) has nothing
to do with gold or horns. Haliç,
short for Haliç-i Dersaadet, means "The Bay of Istanbul."
It's the body of water that
separates the north and south, "old" and "new" parts
of European Istanbul (map).
You can take a ferry cruise on
Bridge crosses the
Golden Horn at its mouth, connecting Eminönü and Sirkeci in Old
Istanbul (centered on Sultanahmet)
to the south with Karaköy (Galata)
and Beyoğlu (Pera)
to the north. (You can get a
great fish sandwich here.) More...
Closest hotel neighborhoods to the Golden Horn are Sirkeci, Eminönü and Galata. More...
The Atatürk Bridge spans
the Golden Horn farther to the west,
as does the elevated expressway bridge (Haliç
Köprüsü) yet farther west.
most enjoyable way to explore the Golden
Horn is on a short ferryboat
cruise to Eyüp. More...
short river/estuary may have gotten
its romantic "golden" name
because it was the commercial
heart of the city, serving
as the principal harbor of Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul for
2000 years, until the mid-20th century.
Markets still abound here, and the Istanbul
Chamber of Commerce has
its offices here.
In Byzantine times, Italian
city-states had colonies on
its shores, and the southern end
of the Galata
Bridge at Eminönü was
a Karaite Jewish quarter.
In later times, Rüstem Pasha,
grand vezir to Sultan Süleyman
the Magnificent, built his exquisite
small mosque here.
In Ottoman times,
Sephardic Jews fleeing the persecutions
of the Spanish Inquisition were
welcomed into the empire and settled
at Balat and Hasköy on
the Golden Horn. (For more, see Jewish
Sites in Turkey.)
In late Ottoman times, the Orient
Express from Paris would
round Seraglio Point and
come to a stop at Sirkeci
the walls of Topkapı
Palace at the
mouth of the Golden Horn. More...
European trains to Istanbul still
arrive at Sirkeci Station,
cruise ships and ferries
still arrive at the Yolcu
Salonu in Karaköy (Galata) to the north across
the mouth of the Golden Horn.