The Bosphorus, also known as the Istanbul Strait, is the body of water that defines a portion of the border between the European and Asian continents, both of which are located in the country of Turkey. The Bosphorus joins the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea in Istanbul, Turkey to complete the separation of the two continents lying within one country.
Evidence supports the theory that in ancient times the northern end of the Bosphorus was blocked by dirt and rocks. There was no outlet to the Black Sea at this time. The water level of the Black Sea was below that of the Aegean Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus.
An earthquake removed the blockage to the Bosphorus and water flooded from the Bosphorus into the Black Sea inundating the coastal settlements. This could be the source of the legend of Noah’s flood and the myth of Noah’s Ark considering that Mount Ararat is also in Turkey.
Navigating the Bosphorus has always been a challenge. As stated earlier the Bosphorus flows like a river between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. The current becomes very strong in places, which is difficult enough to navigate. Add to this the fact that below this surface current is another current flowing in a direction opposite to the top current, and it is clear that the strait has always been and always will be a constant threat to ships attempting to cross it.
People of the Bosphorus
The Bosphorus has been a waterway of significant importance since the most ancient of times. Ulysses passed through the waterway and Byzas, the founder of Byzantium, sailed the Bosphorus up and down in search of an ideal place to establish a village. It should be noted that Byzantium became Constantinople named after the Roman Emperor Constantine who ruled Byzantium from 272 to 337 A.D. Constantinople is now known as the present day city of Istanbul.
Why the Bosphorus Remains Today as One of the Seven Wonders of Turkey
There is no place else in the world where one is able to cruise down a waterway between two continents while remaining in one country. This is awesome in itself. Add to this wonder that the Bosphorus is the world’s narrowest strait still used for international navigation to this day. The shores of the Bosphorus are heavily populated as the major city of Istanbul actually straddles the strait.
For the residents and tourists alike there are two bridges that cross the strait so one can move easily between the Asian part (Anatolia) and the European part (Rumelia). The first bridge, known as the Bosphorus Bridge was completed in 1973. The second, Bosphorus II, was completed in 1988 and is about three miles north of the first bridge.
Of interest, there is a third bridge in the planning stages that remains top secret as the Turkish government does not want to encourage a huge boom in land prices in the area, which is sure to be the result once the word gets out. The Turks love their Bosphorus.
Cruising down the Bosphorus at night offers the most magnificent view of any city anywhere in the world.