The Bosphorus Strait is a narrow, natural strait and an internationally significant waterway located in northwestern Turkey. The Bosphorus connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia. Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents. The Europe and Asian parts of the city are connected by three suspension bridges that cross the Bosphorus Strait.
The word ‘bosphorus’ is a derivation of Thracian word which means “passage of the cow.” According to the legend, Hera suspected that her husband Zeus and Io were having an affair. In response, Zues turned Io into a cow and sent her away. As cow, Io swam across the strait to escape Hera’s wrath. When Hera uncovered the plan, she sent large flies after the cow to bite and disturb her. Eventually, Io met her end in the Aegean Sea (once called the Ionian Sea).
Today, more than 45,000 ships pass through the Bosphorus Strait each year. Lined by Ottoman palaces, old wooden villas, hotels, parks and restaurants, the Bosphorus is also an important from of sustenance for local fisherman. The strait is also home to Maiden’s Tower.
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