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Wish You Were Here: A Ferry Boat on the Bosphorus

February 21, 2013 at 8:44 PM | by | ()

New York has its Staten Island Ferry, Venice the Vaporetto and Bangkok the Chao Phraya River Bus, but no city ferry line seems quite as regal as that of Istanbul.

Last night, we hopped a Vapur (the name for these old ferries) for the first time, traveling from the docks at Eminönü near the Spice Market to about 25 minutes up the Bosphorus to Ortaköy, a neighborhood just before the towering Bosphorus Bridge. Though a private water taxi charges 120 Lira ($67 USD) for a one-way ride between these points, sharing the ferry means a far budget friendlier cost of only 3 Lira ($1.67) each way.

The ferries themselves are ridiculously impressive, with their white bows looking just as ready for a transatlantic crossing as a trip between two docks. The funnels spew black smoke under raw power, and the maneuvering skills of the captains are on full display during evening rush hour near the Galata Bridge.

Vapur sizes vary, with maximum occupancy ranging from 600 to as high as 2100. Ferries like this have sailed the Bosphorus since 1837; they may have changed from steam power to fuel, but they remain an integral part of the population's daily commute. And frankly we wouldn't want it any other way.

A ferry docked for the night nearby the Bosphorus Bridge between Europe and Asia

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]

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