Halic (Golden Horn) Istanbul, Fener, Balat, Eyup Sutluce

Golden Horn from Pierre Loti, Istanbul View from Pierre Loti cafe at the end of Golden Horn.

Golden horn (Halic in Turkish) is a cove, a natural harbor serving trade colonies and empires for thousands of years. The Marmara Sea entrance is marked with Galata Bridge between Karakoy and Eminonu. Karakoy is the port area just under the hill of Galata area hence the name Galata Bridge.

Eyup, Fener, Balat neighborhoods are among the historic parts of the Istanbul Old Town along the Golden horn. Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Bulgarian iron cast church, Ottoman style house, Greek Fener High School are major sights of the area. There are good fish restaurants along the Golden horn especially in or near Balat.

Golden horn was extremely polluted due to the existence many factories decades ago but during a 20 year period it has been greatly cleaned so much so that serious amateur fishing takes places on the Galata bridge at the intersection of Golden horn and the Marmara Sea. Some people even catch enough Istavrit (small Marmara sea fish, most tasty when crisp fried) to sell.

Golden horn has a special historical signficance during conquest of Istanbul. Byzance had closed off the Golden horn from the sea by huge chains from one side to the other but Fatih Sultan Mehmet (the Conqeror) had ships moved from the sea over rolling timbers and entered the Golden Horn much to the surprise of the Byzantine emperor.