I always find it interesting how functional things can become iconic, take on a life of their own, and embed themselves into the fabric of a location and culture. In Istanbul, this particular ‘functional thing’ is the Galata Bridge which spans the Golden Horn, connecting the city’s two European sides. The area around the Galata Bridge, and the bridge itself, seethes with the hustle and bustle of daily Istanbullu life: there is the Egyptian/Spice Market, the New Mosque, a train station, docks for ferries, and a bus station. The sheer mass of humanity coming and going can be overwhelming but the people-watching is quite phenomenal.
Did You Know?
The idea of bridges over the Golden Horn has been around for a long time. The first recorded bridge was built by Justinian the Great in the 6th century. In 1502, Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned to design a bridge and he came up with one that would be the first single span bridge over the Golden Horn. It would have been the longest bridge in the world if it had been built…but it wasn’t. The Sultan of the time didn’t like the design. Michelangelo was also invited to design a bridge but he said nope. A bridge wasn’t built over the Golden Horn until the 19th century. In 1845, the first Galata Bridge was built out of wood. It was replaced in 1863, 1875, and in 1912. That last bridge lasted until 1992 but it was badly damaged in a fire and was replaced in 1994 with the bridge that we see today. The restaurant area below opened to the general public in 2003.