Golden Horn Waterfront & Galata Bridge
The current Galata bridge which was constructed in December 1994, links Karaköy and Eminönü. Prior to this, there was a floating bridge, which unfortunately was badly damaged in a fire in 1992 and subsequently towed up the Golden Horn.
Galata bridge holds three vehicular lanes, a pedestrian walkway in each direction and more recently a tram track was added. The Istanbul Tram is quite flash and runs from the suburbs near Ataturk International Airport to a few blocks before Dolmabahçe Palace.
The Galata Bridge was a symbolic link which bonded two distinctive cultures – the traditional city of Istanbul proper, site of the imperial palace and principal religious and secular institutions of the empire, and the districts of Galata, Beyoglu, Sisli and Harbiye whose inhabitants were mainly non-Muslims including foreign merchants and diplomats who lived and worked here. In his novel, Fatih-Harbiye, Peyami Safa wrote that a person who went from Fatih to Harbiye via the bridge sets foot in a different civilization and different culture. Today, that culture is definitely fishing, as you can see from the number of people having a go at fishing.
On the lower level of the bridge, there are lots of trendy cafes as well as restaurants selling seafood. The place has certainly gone through a transformation from when we last saw it. There were many people, locals as well as tourists, taking shelter from the fierce afternoon sun and enjoying a cold beer. The business idea that I thought was really cool was the Barbaros, a sailing ship that’s been converted into a restaurant, doing takeaway barbeque seafood. A bit of entrepreneurialship here.
When we were through checking out life in the vicinity of the Bridge, we crossed the road and caught the Istanbul Tram and headed back to our hotel at Taksim Square.