The Bosphorus strait intersects Turkish Instanbul into two parts. However, unlike the rivers which divide cities they flow through, it is most often said that the Bosphorus connects. The Black Sea with The Sea of Marmara, European with Asian continent. It connects people living there with tourists.
The Bosphorus strait may be crossed in many ways. There is a special connection between Instanbul inhabitants and waterway. They do not respect it, do not treat it as an attraction, they are not proud of it as one may be of monuments or places of worship. They are attached to it in a special way.
The Bosphorus crossing is undoubtedly one of the major tourist attractions. However, that is not the case. The thing that moves tourists is a mundane reality for the inhabitants. They travel to the other side to work, school, shops, to visit friends. Several times a day they traverse the distance between two parts of the city, between two continents, leaving behind houses and having work, shops and meetings ahead or the other way round.
Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to treat a ferry as one of the many means of transport. Bosphorus ferries, a number of which function as water trams, give the moment of crossing a special dimension. Even when they are congested (and sometimes very heavily), when passengers are in a hurry and children are crying, the moment of boarding changes everything.
Lasting half an hour journey gives Instanbul inhabitants a break – specific Bosphorus type of relaxation. Even in the most difficult rush hours there is no irritation or tiredness on the ferry. In contrast to jammed streets, everything is clear there. These are these special moments of the day when you cannot push things ahead, you cannot change anything. A breathing space where you forget about your duties and tasks. In order to prepare oneself for a different, yet still one’s own, part of life. For the other side. For the other continent, the other part of the same city.
Instanbul inhabitants live at the meeting point of two cultures, striving every day not to let the diversity divide. Regardless of the direction passengers travel to, which part they are waiting for: Asian or European, it is always a part of the same whole. And the Bosphorus, which accompanies them, unites both sides into a whole. One whole on both coasts simultaneously.