I decided it was time to add some variety to my bridges post. Last year I spent two weeks in Istanbul. While I was not as absorbed in my bridges quest at that time, I found that thinking about the bridges in Pittsburgh and London caused me to reflect on the bridges in Istanbul. Considering how much water there is in Istanbul, there are very few bridges. I can only recall seeing three: the Galata Bridge, Ataturk Bridge, and the Bosphorus Bridge. (Apparently my memory is a little rusty as I just looked up a map of Istanbul which shows there were four bridges that I would have seen, this obviously reflects the fact that I was not in my bridges phase at that time.) Of these four bridges, I only crossed the Galata Bridge, but I walked under the Bosphorus Bridge and took some pictures of it.
The Galata and Bosphorus bridges are very different in age and use. There has been a Galata Bridge since the middle of the 19th century and a bridge over the Golden Horn (the body of water the Galata Bridge spans) since at least the 6th century. The Galata Bridge has many uses. There are wide sidewalks that accommodate pedestrians, three lanes in each direction for cars, and tracks down the middle of the bridge for the trams. While I worked very hard not to get any of them in the picture above, the bridge is usually lined with fisherman and street vendors sell freshly caught and cooked fish. Below the street deck are numerous restaurants. One day, we had fish sandwiches for lunch at one of these, which were surprisingly good (I’m not much of a fish fan). The line of one of the fisherman on the street deck above can be seen in my picture from the restaurant. The Galata Bridge not only provides access between two points, but also provides people access to their livelihoods and to decent meals. This shows that bridges do not have to be just about funneling traffic from one place to another; they can be a lively and interactive space in the city.
On the other hand, the Bosphorus Bridge, built in the 1970s as the first bridge to span the Bosphorus strait, is purely a funnel (as far as I observed). It looks like it could be in New York or almost any other US city. The purpose of the Bosphorus Bridge is like that of most of Pittsburgh’s river bridges–to provide vehicular access across a body of water.