When you find yourself in Istanbul, a city where East and West coalesce in a stunning blend of cultures, you’re in for an adventure like no other. But let’s face it, after a while, even the grandeur of the Hagia Sophia and the spice-laden aromas of the Grand Bazaar can leave you craving a different kind of excitement. That’s where our escapade through the Bosphorus Strait and the captivating Yoros Castle comes into play – a journey that left my family and me with memories to cherish.

Architectural Diversity: The Bosphorus Strait is lined with an eclectic mix of architectural styles in the form of villas and mansions. These properties range from Ottoman-era wooden yalıs to opulent neoclassical and Art Nouveau mansions, showcasing Istanbul’s architectural evolution.

Discovering Istanbul’s Heritage Through the Bosphorus Strait

The Bosporus or Bosphorus Strait, a shimmering waterway that divides Istanbul into its European and Asian sides, is a world of wonders waiting to be explored. As we embarked on this maritime adventure, we felt the gentle embrace of the sea breeze, and the anticipation of what lay ahead was palpable. 

The Bosphorus Bridge (also knows as 15 July Martyrs Bridge) is one of the three suspension bridges spanning the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul, connecting Istanbul beside Europe and Asia.

The Bosphorus Strait has seen empires rise and fall; it’s not just a waterway but a time machine that transports you through history.

Bosphorus is one of the world’s most strategic waterways, connecting the Black sea to the Mediterranean, and dividing Istanbul in two continents. This iconic waterway has a length of 31 kilometres (19 miles) and a width that varies between 730-3300 meters.

The Bosphorus Bridge. In antiquity, the Bosphorus played a pivotal role in trade and commerce between Europe and Asia. It was a major part of the ancient Silk Road, facilitating the exchange of goods, cultures, and ideas between East and West.
View of the Bosphorus Bridge from the ferry. The Bosphorus Strait is situated in a seismically active region, and it has experienced geological shifts over the centuries. These shifts have not only affected the strait’s geography but have also contributed to its unique geological features.
The strait is also home to many towns and fishing communities scattered on both sides.
Historical Residences: Many of these waterfront properties have rich histories, once serving as homes to royalty, diplomats, and prominent figures. Some have been converted into museums or cultural centers, offering glimpses into the city’s past.
Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, also known as the Second Bosphorus Bridge completed in 1988. Named after the 15th-century Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, who conquered the Byzantine capital, Constantinople, the bridge is on the Trans-European Motorway.

Bosphorus Strait is the Gateway to the Black Sea Region

Before setting sail, check with your hotel for the nearest ferry terminal and keep a close eye on the ferry schedule, as it can be your lifeline for getting around the strait. Ferry ride prices differ depending on the destination. A ride between continents costs 1.50 TL, while Bosphorus tourist boats start at 7.50 TL. Check online for current fares.

The coastline on the both side of Bosphorus strait is home to many fishing communities.
A fishing village on the opposite site of Anadolu Kavağı on Bosphorus Strait. The fishing communities along the Bosphorus Strait have a long and storied history of fishing. For centuries, they have relied on the strait’s abundant waters for their livelihoods, contributing to Istanbul’s culinary culture.
Beneath the surface of the Bosphorus Strait lies a submerged forest dating back thousands of years. These ancient trees, preserved due to the lack of oxygen in the water, offer a glimpse into the region’s prehistoric past.

The ferry ride itself is a spectacle. Istanbul’s skyline, a symphony of minarets and modern skyscrapers, paints a vivid backdrop against the cerulean waters. As we glided on the boat, I couldn’t help but marvel at the breathtaking panorama. The Bosphorus Strait has seen empires rise and fall; it’s not just a waterway but a time machine that transports you through history.

Anadolu Kavağı – a small fishing village was our last stop on the Bosphorus. Perched on a hill overlooking the Bosphorus and the Black Sea, Yoros Castle offers breathtaking panoramic views. It’s a favorite spot for photographers and visitors seeking to capture the mesmerizing beauty of the strait.

Yoros Castle: Echoes of the Past in the Present

As we approached this historical gem, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe. Perched atop a verdant hill, overlooking the vast and tranquil expanse of the Black Sea, lies the hauntingly beautiful ruins of Yoros Castle (Yoros Kalesi), also known as the Genoese Castle. This castle has witnessed the ebb and flow of empires—Byzantines, Genoese, and Ottomans—all vying for control of this strategic bastion. By the time I arrived with my family there was not much left to conquer so we wandered around the ruins took loads of snaps and missed our last ferry to Istanbul.

The strait is also a busy route for international commercial shipping traffic. Throughout history, controlling the Bosphorus Strait was of immense strategic importance. It has been the site of numerous naval battles and conflicts as empires vied for control of this critical waterway.

Last stop on the Asian side of the Bosphorus Strait, Anadolu Kavağı.

Yoros Castle’s location at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus Strait made it a vital strategic stronghold throughout history. It allowed its controllers to monitor and control maritime traffic between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.

Yoros Castle, with its ancient stones whispering tales of battles and conquests, is a history lover’s paradise.

Originally built by the Byzantine Empire in the 5th century, the castle served as a key defense against invading forces. Over the centuries, it passed into the hands of various empires, each leaving their mark on its architecture and history.
Yoros Castle is steeped in legends and myths, including tales of ghosts and supernatural occurrences. Local folklore tells stories of restless spirits that wander the castle’s ruins, adding an aura of mystery to this historic site.

Yoros Castle: Haunted Legends, Strategic Positioning and Spectacular Views

Anadolu Kavağı village from Yoros Castle. The Bosphorus Strait is a treasure trove of underwater archaeological sites. Over the years, numerous shipwrecks, ancient artifacts, and even submerged settlements have been discovered beneath its depths.

When we disembarked from the ferry, our hearts were set on exploring this time-worn fortress. However, time had other plans for us. Lost in the maze of ruins, we found ourselves marooned as the last ferry to Istanbul vanished into the horizon. Much like countless other lost tourists, we were rescued by the warmth and hospitality of the locals. They guided us to a bus parked in an alley, the last lifeline out of our predicament. Our savior, this minuscule van, became our beacon of hope, though it took an agonizing hour to fill up. Finally, with a lurch and a roar, we set off on a road through lush landscapes, eventually returning to Istanbul.

The Bosphorus serves as a critical migration funnel for various marine species, including fish and dolphins. It’s a natural corridor and a hotspot for biodiversity where marine life travels between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

Sometimes, getting lost can lead to the most unforgettable adventures, as we discovered that day.

The northern end of the Bosphorus Strait marks the point where it meets the Black Sea. This point is known for its turbulent waters and strong currents. This confluence is known as the “Bosphorus Exit” and has been a historically significant location for trade and navigation.

Yoros Castle has become a popular destination for history enthusiasts

The history of Yoros Castle is as fascinating as its views. It is nestled just north of the charming fishing village of Anadolu Kavağı, making it an ideal day trip from Istanbul. Intricate tales of conquest and the exquisite beauty of the Black Sea unfurled before us, weaving an indelible memory. Our cruise through the Bosphorus Strait and our escapade at Yoros Castle had transformed us. Istanbul’s grandeur now had a companion – the allure of its waters and the whispers of ancient stones. When you find yourself in Istanbul, don’t just limit yourself to the typical tourist spots. Embrace the unexpected, navigate the Bosphorus Strait, and lose yourself in the mystique of Yoros Castle. It’s in these unplanned moments that you’ll find the true essence of travel – a journey that leaves you both educated and exhilarated.

Stay updated

Receive email updates whenever a new story is published.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Fine Art and Travel Photography by Asif Naqvi

Photography is not just about capturing images; it’s a fascinating journey of exploration and observation that connects us with surrounding realities. It is the art of seeing, exploring, and imagining the world around us through a lens. I strongly believe in the ability of images to stimulate thoughts and evoke emotions. Each frame captures a moment in time and tells a story, allowing the viewer to become immersed in the visual narrative commonly known as storytelling.

It is all about seeing, observing, and making visual notes.

Having ventured into the realm of imagination, I stepped into the real world and discovered a newfound appreciation for nature. Grand landscapes, delicate flora, and fascinating fauna inspire me to see the world anew, with open eyes and heart.

As I make my way back to human civilization, I wander through diverse cultures and untrodden paths. I find inspiration in the essence of each place and its people. Travel photography, for me, is a way to connect with the soul of a destination.

My photography is not just an expression of my vision, but an invitation to see the world from a different angle.

I am always seeking fresh perspectives, hence pushing the boundaries of my art to capture those elusive moments that resonate deeply with my audience. My photography is not just an expression of my vision, but an invitation to see the world from a different angle, to find beauty in the seemingly mundane, and to appreciate the manners of our existence.

Join me on this artistic journey at, where we’ll embark on an adventure through images. They stir the spirit, ignite the imagination, and inspire a deeper appreciation for the marvels that surround us.

With boundless enthusiasm and a camera in hand,

⸻ Aksgar Asif Naqvi

Aks Gar ( عکس گر ): a Persian/Urdu compound word to describe an image maker or a photographer.

Explore the captivating world through the lens of Asif Naqvi with his fine art and travel photography.


Please feel free to reach out whether you have questions, feedback, or just want to say hello. You can use the contact form below to send a message directly.