Galata Bridge

Almost every city has its own bridge: a big impressive bridge that crosses over a river, gorge, or deep moat, or a simple utilitarian bridge over a small pond. They can be small and elegant, as in Venice, or majestic and adjustable, as in St. Petersburg, but in any case they serve a special purpose, connecting the land back to itself.

In the Golden Horn Bay there is an amazing structure: the Galata Bridge, which passes over the backwater, combining two halves of the same soul of Istanbul: the ancient city and the modern one. Colorful cheerful houses with intricate windows, bright and impressive form the modern city, dramatically different from the gray, dull buildings of the past. 

Have you ever seen a two-story bridge?

Here is the unique history and modern reality of Galata bridge.

In the middle of the 15th century, Turkish soldiers attacked Constantinople. To gain unhindered entry into the city, they built a floating structure with their own ships, placing them close to each other, side by side. In that way, they easily entered the city.

The two-story building, half a kilometer long and 42 meters wide, leading to the ancient European part of the city, preserves the memory of the center of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. It resembles a huge, long, buzzing beehive, never empty or boring. The center is adjustable so that shipc and pass through. 

The place is filled with incessant noise woven from the various sounds of the city. It’s a bustling reminder of the city’s life, not stopping even at night. The upper floor is designed for cars and light rail, traveling across quickly. There are also fishermen filling the sidewalks, becoming an integral part of the bridge, its symbol, giving the area a special charm and color. It is inconceivable to imagine life here without them. Looking at an elderly man in a hood, it seems that he’s standing at the railing of eternity with a fishing rod and a bucket. Arriving here as a boy, he matured here, became an adult, then grew old.

The lower tier of the bridge is a paradise for lovers of delicious food. Here, literally at every step, there are cozy cafes and restaurants, their main courses featuring, of course, fish. They prepare it masterfully here, so do not miss the chance to try these amazing dishes.

While vehicles use the top floor of the bridge, the lower floor is a completely pedestrian zone. Sidewalks are equipped for pedestrians, but local fishermen are constantly trying to catch small fish from the water. Fishing enthusiasts who do not have their own fishing rods can rent them. On the top floor, street vendors with mobile carts also offer to sell all kinds of goodies and fresh water.

At night, the bridge lights up, flickering from cigarettes and small candles from the many fishermen and numerous vendors who do not stop trading. If you are an avid fisherman, you can join the company at any time by renting a fishing rod. Don’t worry about seeming out of place. It’s such a familar thing to do that no one will pay you any attention.

The most popular fish caught from the bridge is the makckerel, which is fried with and sold right there, in the form of a Turkish hot dog with a green leafy salad and sliced sweet onion rings.

The smell of flowers, cigars, dust, and the grills on which street chefs cook kebabs and cakes are all mixed up in one inexplicable and strong perception of the East. From the wide open windows and doors of local houses and coffee houses, voices and music are everywhere, and above all this is the invocation of the muezzin to prayer.