The Galata Bridge | Linking Old Istanbul with New Istanbul

Galata Bosphorus

Galata Bridge by night

The Galata Bridge is one the focal points on the Bosphorus having been rebuilt 5 times the bridge has underground many changes not only in style but also in position.

What has now become a symbol of the Galata Bridge are the pictures of the local people of Istanbul fishing off the top of the Bridge.  It is said that number of people fishing on the bridge indicates the percentage of people unemployed in the city.

Below the traffic and fishermen is a selection of restaurants and bars where you can sit and enjoy a meal and watch the ferry traffic on the Bosphorus and watch the fishermen’s lines pulling up their catch.  Here you can also enjoy my favourite Fish and Salad Sandwich a cheap and quick meal which if you are inclined is great washed down with a glass of Efes beer.

The Bridge allows for both motor vehicles, trams and pedestrians to cross between Eminönü the historical peninsula where the palaces and religious institutions reside to Karaköy where traditionally the people of the areas of Galata and Beyoğlu where foreign merchants and diplomats lived and worked.

The first Galata Bridge to be built was commissioned by the Sultan Abdülmecid mother Valide Sultan in 1845 built at the entrance of the Golden Horn and was named the New Bridge to distinguish it from the now named Old Bridge which also crossed the Golden Horn.

The bridge stood for 18 years being replaced by the Sultan Abdülaziz in 1863 during infrastructure improvements to the city.

After the First World War the bridge was again replaced in 1872 by a British Company G. Wells and was completed in 1875.

In 1912 the Old Golden Horn Bridge required replacement and it was decided to remove the Old Bridge and rebuild and move the Galata Bridge this new bridge was built by a German company Man AG.

What made this bridge different from the rest was the Bridge was a Pontoon Bridge or Floating Bridge.  Normally Pontoon Bridges are temporary structures but by bolting the barge like pontoons the Pontoon bridge can be used as a permanent structure.  The bridge stood from 1912 until 1992 when fire damaged the bridge.  The bridge was then literally towed away and the current bridge we now see was built and completed in 1995 by a Turkish company STFA.

Notably this new bridge is a type of bridge known as a Swing Bridge meaning the centre part of the bridge can swing round to allow ships to pass through the bridge if needed.  It is also only a one of a handful of swing bridges which have tram tracks going across the bridge.

During your stay in Istanbul you will be more than likely to pass over or by the Galata Bridge but my suggestion is make a little time to stop and really see the Bridge.

[box type=”info” size=”medium” title=”The Bridge” right_title=”The Bridge A Journey Between Orient and Occident, ” right_description=”by Geert Mert” url=”″ style=”color blue” ]Get taken on a journey into the real Galata Bridge, The Bridge A Journey Between Orient and Occident by Geert Mert, will take you into the heart of Istanbul through the Galata Bridge. This book is a must read for anyone who claims to love Istanbul.[/box]

© 2011 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.

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