Golden Horn (Haliç)

Golden Horn (Haliç)

Golden Horn (Haliç)

Golden Horn (Turkish: Haliç) is both the name of the estuary of the Bosphorus towards west in Istanbul, and also of the district on banks of it.

Golden Horn (Haliç)

The Golden Horn, or Altın Boynuz; is a major inlet of the Bosphorus, in Istanbul, Turkey. It is a horn-shaped estuary that joins Bosphorus Strait at the immediate point where said strait meets the Sea

English name of the bay comes from its Greek counterpart, Hrison Keras (Χρυσόν Κέρας), which literally translates "Golden Horn". The "horn" part perhaps comes from the deep curve the bay has towards its end in the northwest. "Golden" part is more obscure, but possibly it's a poetic referral to reflections on the Horn's water during beautiful sunsets.

Golden Horn, an estuary formed by flooding of valleys of two rivers confluenting just northwest of Eyüp by Bosphorus in prehistorical times, had always been Istanbul's primary harbour. In fact, it can be argued that Istanbul would never have existed in such a grand way if it weren't for this superb harbour (and also the superb trading route through and across Bosphorus, by the way).

In 1700s, mansions and large gardens full of tulips along the Horn, then called Sadabad, were favourite retreats of Ottoman state elite, who conducted costly parties thereabouts, which were later accused of economic destruction and the eventual dissolution of Ottoman Empire. Those years were called either Lale Devri ("Tulip Era") or Sefahat Devri ("Debauch Era") by different classes of society. Very little is left from that period physically. Then, about a century later, in 1800s, the banks of Golden Horn was where the industrial revolution first started in Ottoman Empire and up to 1980s, Golden Horn continued to be one of the industrial powerhouses of the Turkish economy, however this situation had its heavy toll on what was once "golden" Horn: the industrial effluents in addition to the untreated wastewater from rapidly expanding city's sewers caused the Horn stinking to high heaven, as much as that people were actually trying to avoid the avenues along its banks even if those routes meant a shortcut to where they are heading. Then in late 1980s, the first attempts to bring the Horn to its former glory began. Today its water is much cleaner (although not clean enough for a swim and there is still some way to go), and pleasant parks on the lots of demolished factories surround its banks. Neighbourhoods on its banks, Eyüp in special, put a special emphasis on celebrating the Ottoman roots of the area.



  • Eyüp Mosque Complex (Eyüp Camii), Eyüp. This is the main attraction around this part of the city. The holiest Islamic shrine in the city, the complex includes, right next to the mosque, the tomb of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (Eyüp Ensari Türbesi), the standard bearer of Prophet Mohammad, died and buried here during the first Muslim siege of Constantinople (674–678 AD). It was him the neighbourhood was named after. Muslims flock—in so huge numbers that sometimes you have to queue for a few minutes before entering the tomb—here also to see a rather uninteresting plaque made of plastic, which is purported to be Mohammad's footprint. The interior of the tomb, covered with fine tiles/faience, is nonetheless well worth a look, however. It is also interesting to see the devout Muslims leaving the place by walking backwards through its exit hallway, as not to turn their backs to al-Ansari's catafalque, although no one expects everyone to leave the place in the same manner. 
  • Around the mosque complex is cemeteries and tombs all of which date back to Ottoman period, with their distinctively decorated marble headstones. Besides, there are a number of other mosques, streets and stores surrounding the Eyüp Complex, all pleasantly preserved, and give the visitors an idea of how Ottoman Istanbul should be looking like. Here is where all of those "boys-to-be-circumsized photos" are taken, as it’s a tradition to take the boys in their special Ottoman prince clothes to this particular mosque before the event. In the adjoining streets, you can find shops offering interesting Ottoman-style stuff like wooden toys or traditional salty biscuits shaped like a ring (halka) which you cannot easily find elsewhere.
  • Feshane, Eski Feshane Caddesi, Eyüp (on the waterfront, just east of central Eyüp; get off the bus at 'Defterdar' stop),  +90 212 501-73-26 , [1].Originally a factory producing fezzes (fes), Ottoman red hats made of felt, adopted in Ottoman Empire in early 1800s as a part of westernizing efforts in lieu of much more traditional turbans. However, as an irony of fate, fez itself was scrapped away in favour of outright western garments during Atatürk's reforms of 1920s and '30s as it was thought to symbolize the old, decidedly oriental regime. Today, Feshane serves as a cultural and exhibition centre, which hosts celebrations on local days, and some temporary art exhibitions. During Ramadan, it becomes some sort of playground showcasing how Ramadan was celebrated during Ottoman era, with traditional sweets and all. 
  • Miniaturk [2], at Sütlüce (on northern shore of the Horn). M-F 09:00-19:00 and S-Su 09:00-21:00. It was built in 2001 and is the first miniature park in Istanbul (the world's largest miniature park in respect to its model area). The park hosts icons of many cultures and civilizations. Models vary from the Hagia Sophia to Galata Tower, from Safranbolu Houses to the Sumela Monastry in Trabzon, from Qubbat As-Sakhrah to the ruins of Mount Nemrut. In addition, some works that have not survived into the present, such as the Temple of Artemis, the Halicarnassus Mausoleum and Ajyad Castle, were recreated. All former Ottoman Empire in one place.
  • Rahmi M. Koç Industrial Museum (Sanayi Müzesi), Hasköy Caddesi 27, Hasköy (on the northern shore of the Horn),  +90 212 256 71 53-54, [3]. This is a typical industry museum which showcases evolution of machines. Many transport related items including a submarine, classic cars, railway carriages, an out-of-service Bosphorus ferry and a Douglas DC-3 aircraft (possible to go inside) is, among others, in the display. Also houses a typical Istanbul streetscape with its shops and all as how it would look like in the past.
  • Santral İstanbul, Silahtar Mah., Kazım Karabekir Cad. 1, Eyüp (at the upper end of the Horn, confluence of two creeks; free shuttles every half an hour 08:30-21:0. daily from Atatürk Cultural Centre in Taksim Square is available in addition to a wide array of public buses which call at the nearby 'Silahtar' stop), +90 212 311 78 09, [4]. Tu-Su 10:00-20:00. A contemporary art museum located in a building converted from an old power plant (first such plant in Istanbul and the Ottoman Empire). Part of the plant was kept in almost exact original condition and now serves as the "Energy Museum". 7 TL (students 3 TL, under 12 and over 65 years of age free). 

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