Today the Bosphorus Strait flows as one of the busiest shipping channels in the world, however there is a deep and mysterious past to this fluvial channel just waiting to be uncovered by curious minds. For example, did you know that geological evidence suggests that in ancient times the northernmost end of the Bosphorus was blocked by earth. As a result the Black Sea had no outlet, and its water level was below that of the Aegean Sea, the Sea of Marmara, and the Bosphorus. So when an earthquake struck the area, destroying the blockage, a deluge of water was released from the Bosphorus into the Black Sea, raising the water level and flooding its coastal communities. This combined with the fact that Mount Ararat (the mountain upon which Noah’s Ark supposedly landed) is also in Turkey has some suggesting that the Bosphorus may well be the source of the legend of Noah’s flood!
With the realization of this endless sea of geological, mythical and historical importance of the Bosphorus, I knew I couldn’t leave Istanbul without taking a cruise down the Bosphorus myself. Searching through trusty Viator.com I came across this Bosphorus Strait and Black Sea Day Cruise from Istanbul with IBO Cruise, which not only took us for a cruise down the Bosphorus Strait but included a number of major stops along the way to see the mosque of Ortaköy, tour the breathtaking Küçüksu Palace, wander within the walls of the historical Rumeli Hisarı Fortress AND best of all given the Turkish summer heat, an opportunity to swim off the boat and into the Black Sea. Let’s just say that one memory card was not enough to hold all my treasured memories from this day.
Tips & Tricks
- Be sure to avoid taking the tour on a Wednesday, as the Rumeli Fortress is closed and you will not want to miss this highlight.
- Don’t have a big breakfast as between the Turkish feast served on board the boat for lunch and the many stops at quaint sea side towns you will want the room.
- If you’re short on time, there is also the option to take a half-day morning Bosphorus cruise (although you will miss the swim in the Black Sea) or a half-day afternoon Bosphorus cruise (although you will miss the opportunity to explore the Küçüksu Palace, Rumeli Hisarı Fortress and Ortaköy).
- Don’t forget those bathers!