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BEYOĞLU GUIDE

Galata Bridge

It is known that the first bridge connecting the two sides of Constantinopolis separated by the Golden Horn (Hrisokeras-Haliç) has been built in Ayvansaray in the 5th century near Blahernai Walls. Justinianos had a new stone bridge built instead of that one in 518. However, it is not known how long that bridge stood. It can be inferred that in 1453, that bridge, too, had long disappeared since Mehmet the Conqueror had a temporary bridge made up of boats tied to each other with chains almost at the same place built during the siege.
Although in 1503, Leonardo da Vinci has submitted his Golden Horn bridge proposal, which would be 240 m long with a single arch, to Sultan Bayezid II, he was unable to get any result from this initiative. Perhaps for more than one thousand years, thousands of two oared boats link the two shores to each other. Perhaps for more than one thousand years, thousands of two oared boats linked the two shores to each other. They traveled back and forth between what we could call different "pereme stations" and nobody thought of having a bridge built.
Nine years after the first bridge which was built between Unkapanı and Azapkapı, this time, the wooden "Cisr-i Cedid" (New Bridge) was built at the Royal Shipyards spearheaded by Bezmialem Valide Sultan (1845). When it was observed that bridge which started to become run down for Karaköy, which grew and became vibrant due to activities of Galata bankers, a larger and wider bridge – again wooden – was built in the shipyards in 1863.
However, the construction technology developed in the west made it possible for bridges to be built from iron metal those days. Bids started to come from large English and French companies. A contract was signed in 1896. As construction continued with speed, it was argued that the connection points were inadequate and this bridge was moved to Unkapanı instead of Karaköy in 1872. In 1878, an iron bridge, which was contemporary for its time, was built between Eminönü and Karaköy, carried by twenty-four buoys, the middle section of which could be opened for boats to pass, which had ferryboats and beaches on its sides. Starting from 1894, the westerners start bringing a series of new bids. The Germans also participated in the race for construction.
This race was won by the Germans. The 1907 agreement signed with a consortium lead by MAN was renewed in 1909 after the 2nd Constitutional Monarchy was proclaimed and the construction of the bridge was started. The bridge opened on April 27, 1912, caused 237,000 gold coins. It was carried by twenty-eight large buoys and was 466 m long. The middle section could fold open for ships.  In the first years, it was a toll bridge. It was also the hub of intra-city transport with electrical tramways and boats traveling to the ferry stations in Marmara and the Golden Horn. In time, stores, coffee houses and restaurants got settled in the sections below.
In time, tramways disappeared. Then there was a fire and the bridge was towed to somewhere in the Golden Horn and subsequently to Hasköy.

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