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5 Most Important Bridges in Istanbul [Bosphorus & Golden Horn]

bosphorus bridge

On this page, we have listed the 5 most important bridges of Istanbul and describe their history in sum up. Learn all you need to know about the 3 Bosphorus Bridges and 2 Golden Horn Bridges in Istanbul.

The bridges that span over the mighty Bosphorus strait and the Golden Horn shape the distinctive skyline of Istanbul. Not only do they connect different parts of the city, but they have also become iconic landmarks that you need to discover.

Three of them are Bosphorus bridges, the other two are bridges over the Golden Horn. But first, let us answer to the most popular questions about bridges in Istanbul.

Let’s take a look!

Istanbul Bridges FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

When was the Bosphorus Bridge built?

The Bosphorus Bridge (15 July Martyrs Bridge) was built between 1970 and 1973. The inauguration of the bridge took place on October 29, 1973, the 50th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.

can i walk on the BOSPHORUS BRIDGE?

The Bosphorus Bridge was originally designed as a pedestrian bridge, but was closed to pedestrians due to the high number of suicides. Today, the Bosphorus Bridge is open to pedestrians only on the day of the annual Intercontinental Istanbul Marathon and only for the runners.

how long is the Bosphorus Bridge?

The Bosphorus Bridge (15 July Martyrs Bridge) has a total length of 1,560 m (5,118 ft).

how many bridges are there in istanbul?

There are many bridges in Istanbul but only three of them connect the two continents of Europe and Asia: 

  1. Bosphorus Bridge (15 July Martyrs Bridge)
  2. Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (Second Bosphorus Bridge)
  3. Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge (Third Bosphorus Bridge)

what is the main bridge in istanbul?

The main bridge in Istanbul is the Bosphorus Bridge, officially called 15 July Martyrs Bridge. It is the oldest of the three suspension bridges spanning the Bosphorus strait and connecting the two continents of Europe and Asia. The bridge runs from the European neighborhood of Ortaköy to the Asian district of Üsküdar.

what are the names of the bridges in istanbul?

See below the names of the 5 most important bridges in Istanbul:

  1. Bosphorus Bridge (15 July Martyrs Bridge)
  2. Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (Second Bosphorus Bridge)
  3. Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge (Third Bosphorus Bridge)
  4. Galata Bridge
  5. Golden Horn Metro Bridge

What bridge connects two continents in istanbul?

There are three bridges in Istanbul that connect two continents, Europe and Asia.

  • Bosphorus Bridge (15 July Martyrs Bridge)
  • Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (Second Bosphorus Bridge)
  • Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge (Third Bosphorus Bridge)

1. Bosphorus Bridge (15 July Martyrs Bridge)

bosphorus bridge

The most iconic bridge of Istanbul is the Bosphorus Bridge. It is the oldest of the three suspension bridges spanning the Bosphorus strait and connecting the two continents of Europe and Asia. Inaugurated in 1973, the gravity-anchored steel suspension bridge extends from the European neighborhood of Ortaköy to the Asian district of Üsküdar. 

Originally designed as a pedestrian bridge offering sweeping views of Istanbul, it was closed to pedestrians due to a high number of suicides. Today, approximately 180,000 vehicles pass through the bridge every day. The Bosphorus Bridge was renamed the “15 July Martyrs Bridge” after the failed coup attempt in July 2016, but for locals it is still simply the Boğaz Köprüsü, the Bosphorus Bridge.

Tip: Pass below the mighty Bosphorus Bridge during an epic cruise along the legendary Bosphorus! Check out this special Bosphorus Cruise offer for a 90-minute tour with Audioguide and the best service quality. Or see here our comparative guide about the different Bosphorus Cruises in Istanbul.

2. Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (Second Bosphorus Bridge)

fatih sultan mehmet bridge

The Second Bosphorus Bridge is officially known as the “Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge”. Named after the Ottoman Conqueror of Constantinople, Sultan Mehmed, it was built as the second bridge over the Bosphorus at the narrowest point of the strait (660 meters). The steel suspension bridge connects the two shores of Europe and Asia since 1988. It stretches from Hisarüstü on the European side to Kavacık on the Asian side.

The almost 40-meter-wide roadway consists of eight lanes and two emergency lanes, and was built to facilitate traffic. With a length of 1,510 meters and a 64-meter clearance from sea level, it has the same dimensions as the First Bosphorus Bridge. Pedestrians are prohibited from using the bridge. For more details about its history, see our article about Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.

Tip: From Otagtepe Fatih Grove, one of Istanbul's lesser known but most beautiful parks, you can take wonderful photos of this bridge and enjoy the panoramic view of the Bosphorus. Read more about it in our article about the 10 most beautiful parks, forests and gardens in Istanbul.


3. Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge (Third Bosphorus Bridge)

yavuz sultan selim bridge

The third cross-continental bridge over the Bosphorus, connecting Europe and Asia, is the “Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge”, or “Third Bosphorus Bridge”. The bridge named after the Ottoman Sultan Selim I is located at the northern end of the Bosphorus, near the entrance of the Black Sea. It runs from Garipçe on the European part to Poyrazköy on the Asian part of the city. 

Completed in 2016, the hybrid cable-stayed suspension bridge was built to carry long-distance traffic between the two continents in a wide arc around the city. With a height of 322 meters and a width of 59 meters, it is one of the widest and longest suspension bridges in the world for rail and road traffic. Unlike the other two Bosphorus bridges, the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge is designed for vehicles and rail vehicles as well as pedestrians.

For more information, read our article about the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge.


4. Galata Bridge

galata bridge

Spanning the Golden Horn, the Galata Bridge is without a doubt one of the most famous bridges of Istanbul. It connects the neighborhoods of Galata and Eminönü. Originally constructed in the 19th century, the current Galata Bridge is in fact the fifth Galata Bridge built at this location. It enjoys a particular special place among the locals, so it is not surprising that it appears in many poems and stories.

With its many fishermen on the railing and the balık ekmek (fish sandwich) vendors, the two-storey construction has become one of the famous landmarks of Istanbul. Both decks make the Galata Bridge a world of its own. While traffic is booming in the upper deck, there is a vibrant atmosphere with traditional Turkish street food down below. 

Read details about the bridge's turbulent history in our article about the Galata Bridge.  

Tip: Admire the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus during a scenic 120-minute Golden Horn & Bosphorus Cruise. The boat departs from Eminönü Pier. 

5. Golden Horn Metro Bridge 

golden horn metro bridge

Another important bridge that spans over the Golden Horn, Haliç in Turkish, is the Golden Horn Metro Bridge, also known as the “Haliç Metro Bridge”. Completed in 2014, it is one of the latest constructions and the fourth bridge spanning the Golden Horn. It is a cable-stayed bridge and runs from the Beyoğlu district to the Fatih district.

What makes the Golden Horn Metro Bridge interesting is that it is a metro bridge that connects the Yenikapı transport hub in the Fatih district with the Hacıosman metro station in the Sarıyer district. There is even a metro stop in the middle of the bridge.

Since the Golden Horn Metro Bridge interferes with the silhouette of the Historical Peninsula, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its construction was highly controversial and criticized by UNESCO and others. In addition to the M2 metro line, the Golden Horn Metro Bridge is also used as a pedestrian bridge.


Now you know all about the 5 most important bridges in Istanbul that definitely deserve a place on your bucket list.

For more inspiration and things to do in Istanbul, don’t miss our guide to the 50 Top-Rated Places for Sightseeing in Istanbul.

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