Usually the image of sitting under a bridge enjoying a quiet drink is associated with someone who has fallen on hard times however in the Turkish city of Istanbul this has a different significance. Under the Galata Bridge are various bars and restaurants, perfect for a late afternoon drink whilst watching the comings and goings on the busy river below.
Spanning the Golden Horn the Galata Bridge joins the two sides of European Istanbul. The first recorded bridge joining the two sides was built during the reign of Justinian the Great in the 6th century, in the following centuries there have been a total of five bridges including the current bridge which was completed in 1994 and the market area and first floor were inaugurated in 2003.
Today the Galata Bridge is a bustling hub of people and traffic as they go about their daily lives. Fishermen stand on the bridge day and night line cast over the side occasionally reel in a fish only to have it stolen by the ever vigilant seagulls. Istanbul locals flock to Galata Bridge to eat, smoke nargile water pipes and spend the day with their family. Ferries are continually coming and going disgorging passengers who stop at the myriad of food stalls offering everything from sandwiches to corn on the cob. There are also lots of restaurants under the bridge serving some excellent seafood but be careful of the prices they can quickly become quite outrageous. For a more economical meal grab a fish sandwich from one of the local street vendors for about 5 lira.
If you are looking for an authentic Istanbul experience spend a few hours on Galata Bridge and it will seem the whole world comes to you. It will definitely be a highlight of your trip to Istanbul.