History of Golden Horn

The ancient Greek colonists chose Halic or Golden Horn to be the site for Byzantium. The natural harbor made it convenient for sea traffic-both commercial and martial. The city was famously rechristened as Constantinople and a large chain was built across the Horn to the tower of Galata on the other side.

History has it that that this legendary sea fetters had been memorably breached, thrice. In the 10th century, the obstreperous Vikings dragged their longships out of the Bosporus and floated them in the Horn. They were beaten back with fire. In 1204, during the Fourth Crusade, Venetian ships were able to break the chain with a ram. In 1453, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II imitated the Norsemen and towed his ships across Galata over greased logs.

Commissioned by Sultan Beyazid II, the great Leonardo da Vinci envisaged a single span 720-foot bridge to span the Horn, in 1502. [The drawing was successfully used in Norway in 2001]