Expensive villas on the BosphorusIt's the strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara; 32km (20 miles) long, 650-3300m (720-3600 yards) wide, 30-120m (100-395ft) deep.

Bosphorus comes from a Thracian word of unknown origin, interpreted in Greek as meaning "Ford of the Cow", from the legend of Io, who swam across the sea here as a cow. Known in Turkish as Bogazici (the Strait), it links the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and, with the Dardanelles (in Canakkale), separates Europe from Asia. It is a former river valley which was drowned by the sea at the end of the Tertiary period.

Bosphorus StraitThere are two suspension toll bridges on this Strait: The first one over the Bosphorus to Ortaköy, opened in 1973, is called as Bogazici Bridge, 1074m (1175yards) long, 6 lanes, 165m (540ft) height of piers. The second one between Anadolu Hisari and Rumeli Hisari, opened in 1988, is called as Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, 1090m (1192yd) long, 8 lanes, 65m from the water.

With the shores rising to heights up to 200m (650ft), lined with palaces, ruins, villages, and gardens, this is one of the most beautiful stretches of scenery in Turkey. The best way of seeing the Bosphorus in all its beauty is to take a trip on one of the coastal boats.

Some of the interesting palaces, buildings or neighborhoods on the Bosphorus are: Galata tower, Dolmabahce Palace, Besiktas, Yildiz Palace, Ortaköy, Bebek, Rumeli Fortress, Tarabya, Sariyer, Uskudar (Scutari), Anatolia Fortress, Beylerbeyi Palace and Kuleli Military High school.

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