Halic Bay (Golden Horn) of Istanbul


Halic Bay, or the Bay of Istanbul, is a popular travel destination located in Istanbul, Turkey. While its Turkish name is Halic, however, the English speaking portion of the world traditionally refers to the bay as Golden Horn, likely so named because of the beautiful way the yellow sunlight reflects off of the waters at sunset. Halic Bay, or the Golden Horn, is a body of water that actually serves to separate the old and new, or northern and southern, parts of Istanbul.

Golden Horn Metro Crossing
Golden Horn Metro Crossing

The History of Golden Horn

The Golden Horn was once the home of the Byzantine Empire‘s naval headquarters. To help protect Constantinople, walls were built along the Horn and a large chain was pulled from the old Tower of Galata to Constantinople in order to keep unwanted ships out of the area. The chain was circumvented or broken three notable times in its history, with the last circumvention being by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1453. These days, both sides of the Golden Horn are populated and there are parks along both shores. Industrial waste, which used to pollute the waters of the horn, has since been cleaned up, and today the beauty of the area helps add to its popularity as a tourist attraction.

Istanbul Bosphorus
Istanbul Bosphorus

Crossing the Golden Horn

There are four bridges that span the Golden Horn, although a fifth bridge is in the works in order to connect the Istanbul subway line to both the northern and southern sides of the horn. The first main bridge is the Estuary Bridge, or Halic Bridge, and the second is the restored (and moved) Eski Galata Bridge. The Ataturk Bridge is third, while the current Galata Bridge makes the fourth and final bridge crossing the waters at the current time.

Stock Footage - Istanbul
Stock Footage – Istanbul

Touring the Golden Horn by Ferry

One of the best ways to see all that Golden Horn has to offer is to take a short ferry cruise along the waterway. It is a fantastic way to see the many sites along the way, including the Ottoman shipyard, the Feshane, Eyup, the Fener neighborhood, the Church of St. Stephen of the Bulgars, and more. Most cruises of the Golden Horn take only about half an hour and offer some of Istanbul’s best photographic opportunities. If you are in the area and have time, a ferry cruise of the bay is certainly recommended.

Golden Horn Ferry - Istanbul, Turkey
Golden Horn Ferry – Istanbul, Turkey

The Golden Horn Is One of Istanbul’s Natural Beauties and a Must-See Destination

If you are looking for a popular tourist destination that really has something special to offer, then the Golden Horn should not be missed. Every visitor to Istanbul should check out the beautiful waters and see the sights from the bridges and the ferry boats. If you are wondering, “Do I need visa for Turkey?”, the answer depends on where you currently live, but it is well worth looking into. Turkey is an incredible destination, and Istanbul’s Golden Horn is one of the Republic’s many natural beauties.