Galata Bridge

The Galata Bridge has multiple personalities. It spans the Golden Horn from Eminonu to Karakoy and provides both a real and symbolic link connecting two key parts of Istanbul.

The Galata Bridge has multiple personalities. It spans the Golden Horn from Eminonu to Karakoy and provides both a real and symbolic link between two key parts of the city.

On the top level, a constant stream of road and tram traffic makes the bridge bounce as the cars, buses, trucks, and trams rumble by. Hundreds of fisherman stake out a spot along the bridge at dusk, hanging their multi-hooked lines over the edge, competing for the fish below.

Down below, on a second level, are rows of restaurants and bars. Most are tourist traps. In one, you’ll find tourists treated to all of the cliches of a Turkish fish restaurant. Next to it might be a modern nightclub. In another, you might find full of locals watching a Turkish soccer game on the large-screen TV. All have a great view out over the Golden Horn.

There’s been a bridge spanning the Golden Horn in this general area since the 6th century. But there have been multiple versions, particularly since the 1830s, and the Galata Bridge’s vital role in connecting historic parts of Istanbul has added an air of mystery and romanticism. But the current version isn’t old at all. The first phase–the upper level for transportation–was completed in 1994, while the second–the lower level for restaurants and bars–was completed in 2003.

It has been multi-level for a long time, other aspects have changed. Trams used to run down the middle of the bridge, and boats used to dock along the bridge itself as if it was actually a long pier. You can see a good example from the 1950s amongst these beautiful photos of Istanbul by Ara Guler.

Photos of Galata Bridge

Near the ferry terminals on the Eminonu side. [license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

You can see the silhouette of theS uleymaniye Mosque in the background. [license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

Floating fish restaurants on the Eminonu waterfront. [license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

The road is on the top level. Underneath is another level of bars and restaurants. [license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

Looking toward Eminonu, with the Suleymaniye Mosque in the background. [license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

Lit up in the background to the left is the Galata Tower. [license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

The floating fish restaurants in the foreground, with Suleymaniye Mosque in the background. [license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

[license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

[license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

The bustling plaza at the Eminonu foot of the bridge, with the floating fish restaurants. [license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

Galata Tower in the background. [license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

[license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

[license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

[license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

A fisherman’s gear. [license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

[license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

[license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

[license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

As with so many other famous bridges, some tourists try to export the idea behind the locks on the Pont des Artes in Paris. [license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

[license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

[license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

[license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

Fish sandwiches. [license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

[license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

[license topic=”Galata Bridge Istanbul”]

What to Know Before You Go to Galata Bridge

  • Galata Bridge is easily accessible from either Eminonu or Karakoy waterfronts. From either of those spots you can’t miss it.
  • It’s very pedestrian-friendly, with a wide walkway on top and another below. Up top, particularly, can get crowded, especially in the evening. The lower level involves some stairs in the middle in the bridge, where there’s a break for boats to pass through.
  • It’s 1600 feet (490 meters) long. If you don’t feel like walking both ways, there’s a tram stop at each end (T1 line, Eminonu and Karakoy).

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Travel Advice for Turkey

You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Turkey (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.

The British and Australian governments offer their own country-specific travel information. You can find the British Government's travel advice for Turkey here and the Australian Government's here.

Health & Vaccinations

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Guidebooks for Turkey

If you're looking for a guidebook to make the most of your visit, these are some of the most popular ones currently for Turkey. Some are available in both paper and e-book formats.

Fodor's Essential Turkey (Full-color Travel Guide)
  • Fodor's Travel Guides (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Rick Steves Istanbul: With Ephesus & Cappadocia
  • Aran, Lale Surmen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
DK Eyewitness Turkey: 2016 (Travel Guide)
  • DK Eyewitness (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
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