Bosphorus Nights

Manol Donchev @manoldonchevJuly 2019 · 4 min read

Greetings, friends!

I've been quite away and even more away but some aways are more here than others. If you get my meaning. Summer is a busy season for me, as well as for other kinds of ants. I am gathering food for the winter. Photos, I mean. And I use it to go out and travel as much as possible. This summer seems to start well on that front. And I expect more travels soon, but let me start with the first report of my most recent trip.



If you ask enough, you can get to Tsarigrad (the old Bulgarian name for Istanbul, (not Constantinople ) the megapolis that has been the capital of empires. And which is just a stone throw away from our border.) We've been ruled by both empires, We've helped one of them keep it, we've sieged it, we've populated it in the past... Well, it's been there, just next doors for the past 1300 and more years of our own state's founding days. And before that. It's one of the largest cities in the world, still. It's on two continents. Like New York that was once New Amsterdam it has been New Roma, too. Ancient Greek territory or Troyan, Eastern Roman or Byzantine, Otoman, then Turkish.

It's huge. And I visited for the first time, not counting one previous time when I just passed through the central bus station on my way to Ankara.

Two days, what can you do for two days...A lot and not much. Depending on what you compare it to.

In this report, I will just concentrate on the most interesting feature, geographically speaking.

The Bosphorus - the strait that separates Europe and Asia, the European and the Asian part of Istanbul (once Constantinople).

A place where you expect to find some magic. Because everybody tells you so. And while you expect it, it's the most difficult to actually do. So... I don't know, go get disappointed first, forget your expectations, relax... And just have fun. It's a huge space, actually, but as a walker you are bound to some area and whichever way you look, things become familiar. Magic will come when they change in some way. And one of those is with light conditions. At night, it becomes alive in another way. Can you capture it?

I had my shots at it. Once near Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn inlet, which is also a pedestrian one. And that's great because you can have a lot of points of view, bot higher and lower near the water surface. because there will be fishermen and boats, people, and lights, buildings in every direction. Just pick one. Or more.


Watchers at a watch terrace on the Golden Horn.


Fishermen on Galata bridge.


Galata Tower.


Another view at the tower from the other side of the bridge with the same name, with a boat passing in front during long exposure.


A view in the other direction with... wait for it...


...Suleymaniye Mosque.

Fortunately, I had one more night there so this time I went on a boat trip, starting from Cabatash Station and north below the major Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges.

An entirely new view


A view back at the receding shore.


A view from the water towards the side of Dolma Bahche Saray (or Palace).

Which will be told about in another story.

But this time...this time I had the luck to be on a boat at the Blue Hour! Well...the boat rocks so photos are not that stable, but the timing...Maybe you know, maybe you don't, but the Blue Hour is actually about 10 to 15 minutes long ;) That's the interval for the best lit nightscapes.


And a bit later, the European end of the bridge appears into view.


Those are the last moments for taking photos on the move. After that, the boat is too fast for the dark landscape...


As you can see. Rumeli Fortress near the second bridge. Well, not a quality image, but still a memory...

...of a night to remember.

I hope you were able to feel the trip and feel inspired to explore such places yourselves! Safe travels!




This is also an entry for the Photo Friday competition by @qurator. Check it out over here.

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Istanbul looks lovely, I actually when to Kos last year which is very close to Turkey and a town in it called Bodrum.


I have come across with your post, very nice. Istanbul is my city, two days to visit it is not enough. You say you went to Ankara afterwards. Can't compare it with Istanbul, just a grey city to me..


wow lovely shots. That fisherman at Galata shot is really something


Thanks, it would be even better, had my trigger not jammed. Yup, it does that now.


Oh great


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ehy dear @manoldonchev, beautiful photos !! I absolutely want to see istambul !! it is true, the cities of night change their appearance and appear so fascinating in the eyes of the beholder, like beautiful women who have prepared themselves to go out with their loved one !! I'm sorry, though, that you didn't even put daytime photos !! maybe next time :-))


Thank you! Yes, there will be daytime photos. When ready.


Very colourful photo. I have been last year to Istanbul one of the best cities I have ever visited. A fantastic combination of architecture, history, food, culture, sea, strategic position, and I found this authentic combination very cheap. By the way I did not know of its Bulgarian name.


Thanks :) It's all of those, true. One of the best locations ever to build a city, as time has proved. The Bulgarian name means City of the Tsar (title equal to Emperor).


I see it should be similar to the Russian Language


A city of lights! Beautiful pictures.


Thank you, Foggyglassesspirit :)


I have always wanted to go to Istanbul but my husband doesn't like the city that much. He's been there many times on a business trip and doesn't want to go there privately. And I don't dare to go alone.. so maybe one day..

Until now I have to just enjoy the photos like yours. I like that they are not perfect but a little blurry. It gives some artistic touch :)

Great report! Thank you for sharing Manol. Hope you're doing well :)


I'm doing great, Thanks! Wishing you the same!


Beautiful and inspiring post, indeed.
I liked your introduction very much. Very succinct, informative and thought-provoking.
The history of empires is a fascinating one. One every people in the world should know about in case they decide one day that some empires are better than others.
Amazing photos. As you suggested, the lights can make the difference.
I liked the pennultimate picture and the one of the Suleymaniye Mosque


And there are two even larger and more famous mosques like the Hagia Sophia, a world miracle candifate to some, and the Blue Mosque. Not really that blue. Both not seen from the boat, though.

Yup, empires can be seen from millions of view points. As everything else ;)


Those blue colours are lovely on the river! Nice marketing ploy on having an "hour" of it! Great photos as well, look forward to the second part 🙂