Istanbul is unique. It is the only city in the world where two continents meet. Enjoy old and new in the cultural capital of Turkey with Istanbul expert Marc Guillet

Listen to the Bosporus

Posted on 7 January 2015

Ortaköy mosque and bridge over the Bosporus. Photo: Slawomira Kozieniec

What makes Istanbul Istanbul is not the Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque, but the Bosporus. This fascinating city wouldn’t be the famous city it is without the Bosporus. The strait connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmaris. And it divides the city between Europe and Asia.

The waterway is 32 km long, from 650 meters to three km wide and 50 to 120 meters deep. The Bosporus has determined the history not only of Istanbul, but even of the empires governed from this city.

BBC Radio 4 has a series of documentaries on the history of the Bosporus. Edward Stourton looks at that rich history and how the Bosporus works today.

Here is some information from their site: ‘Flowing through the heart of Istanbul, in Turkey, the Bosporus has been a flash point between cultures, religions and imperial powers for thousands of years; from the Roman and Byzantine Empires, to the clash between Islam and Christianity and the Cold War between the super powers of the East and West. The Bosporus has a rich and bloody history that’s inspired poets, writers and artists from around the world.

50,000 vessels make their way through the narrow straits every year – everything from small fishing boats to giant oil and gas tankers battles through the treacherous currents making it one of the busiest and most dangerous international waterways in the world.”

Check out the website of BBC Radio 4

Or you can listen live using the BBC iPlayer

Bosporus #2 and #3 will be online as well.

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