DescriptionThe Golden Horn is the estuary of the Alibey River, Alibey and Kağıthane Rivers. It is 7.5 kilometers (4.66 mi) long, and 750 meters (2,460 ft) across at its widest. Its maximum depth, where it flows into the Bosphorus, is about 35 meters (115 ft). At present, the Golden Horn is spanned by five bridges. Moving from upstream to downstream (i.e. northwest to southeast), these are as follows: # Haliç Bridge, completed in 1974, which connects the neighborhoods of Sütlüce, Istanbul, Sütlüce and Defterdar # Galata Bridge#The fourth bridge, Eski Galata Bridge (literally, ''Old Galata Bridge''), now-defunct, which used to connect the downstream neighborhoods of Karaköy and Eminönü, but was disassembled and relocated upstream between Ayvansaray and Keçeci Piri following extensive damage in 1992 caused by a fire originating in the kitchen of one of the restaurants located on the bridge's lower level. Originally dating back to 1912, the now-retired structure is no longer used for vehicular or pedestrian traffic, but functions as a seasonal outdoor exhibit and event space attached to Haliç Park. # Atatürk Bridge, aka Unkapanı Bridge, completed in 1940, which connects Kasımpaşa (quarter), Kasımpaşa and Unkapanı # Golden Horn Metro Bridge, a pedestrianized railway crossing, completed in 2014, that extends subway line M2 of the Istanbul Metro across the Golden Horn # Galata Bridge (its fifth incarnation, completed in 1994), between Karaköy and Eminönü
HistoryArchaeological records show a significant urban presence on and around the Golden Horn dating back to at least the 7th century BC, with smaller settlements going as far back as 6700 BC as confirmed by recent discoveries of ancient ports, storage facilities, and fleets of trade ships unearthed during the construction works of the Istanbul Metro, Yenikapı subway station and the Marmaray tunnel project. Indeed, the deep natural harbor provided by the Golden Horn has always been a major economic attraction and strategic military advantage for inhabitants of the area. The Eastern Roman Empire established ''New Rome, Nova Roma'' on top of the existing city of Byzantium to capitalize on the same benefits, as did the founders of the subsequent city of Constantinople and its current successor, Istanbul. The Byzantine Empire had its naval headquarters there, and walls were built along the shoreline to protect the city of Constantinople from naval attacks. At the entrance to the Horn on the northern side, a boom (navigational barrier), large chain was pulled across from Constantinople to the Galata Tower (old), old Tower of Galata to prevent unwanted ships from entering. Known among the Byzantines as the ''Megàlos Pyrgos'' (meaning "Great Tower" in Greek language, Greek), this tower was largely destroyed by the Latin Crusaders during the Fourth Crusade in 1204. In 1348, the Republic of Genoa, Genoese built a new tower nearby which they called ''Christea Turris'' (Tower of Christ), now called Galata Tower. There were three notable times when the chain across the Horn was either broken or circumvented. In the 10th century the Kievan Rus' dragged their longships out of the Bosphorus, around Galata, and relaunched them in the Horn; the Byzantines defeated them with Greek fire. In 1204, during the Fourth Crusade, Venice, Venetian ships were able to break the chain with a ramming, ram. In 1453, Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, having failed in his attempt to break the chain with brute force, instead used the same tactic as the Rus' (people), Rus'; towing his ships across Galata over lubrication, greased logs and into the estuary. After the Fall of Constantinople, Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Mehmed II resettled ethnic Greeks along the Horn in the Fener, Phanar (today's Fener). Balat continued to be inhabited by Jews, as during the Byzantine age, though many Jews decided to leave following the takeover of the city. This area was repopulated when Bayezid II invited the Jews who were Alhambra Decree, expelled from Spain to resettle in Balat (Istanbul), Balat. In 1502, Leonardo da Vinci produced a drawing of a single-span bridge over the Golden Horn as part of a civil engineering project for Sultan Bayezid II. Leonardo's drawings and notes regarding this bridge are currently displayed at the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia "Leonardo da Vinci", Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia in Milan, Italy. While the original design was never executed, the vision of Leonardo's Golden Horn Bridge was resurrected in 2001, when a Vebjørn Sand Da Vinci Project, small footbridge based on Leonardo's design was constructed near Ås, Akershus, Ås in Norway by Vebjørn Sand. Until the 1980s, the Horn was polluted with industrial waste from the factories, warehouses, and shipyards along its shores. It has since been cleaned, and the local fish, wildlife, and flora have been largely restored. Nowadays, the Golden Horn is settled on both sides, and there are parks along each shore. The Istanbul Chamber of Commerce is also located along the shore, as are several Muslim, Jewish and Christians, Christian cemeteries. Other institutions along the Horn's banks include museums, congress and cultural halls, supporting facilities of the Turkish Navy, and campuses of various universities. Today, the Horn's history and natural environment make it a popular tourist attraction in Istanbul, visited by 10 million international vacationers annually.
In popular cultureThe Golden Horn is featured in many works of literature dealing with classical themes. For example, G. K. Chesterton's poem ''Lepanto (poem), Lepanto'' contains the memorable couplet "From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun, / And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun."
See also* Atatürk Bridge * Galata Bridge * Galata Tower * Golden Horn Metro Bridge, Metro Bridge * Haliç Bridge