Istanbul ferry boats carrying millions of people between the Asian side and European side every year are no doubt one of the symbols of Istanbul.
The ferries connecting two continents first started by the foundation of the ferry company, Şirket-i Hayriye in 1851. These ferries changed the city a lot because the towns or villages outside of Istanbul was attached to the city with the ferry journeys and as a result Istanbul extended to the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus in the North. The company started with 6 wooden, steamer boats bought from England. As there weren’t any iskele (ferry stations) around the city, passengers were carried to the ferries with small boats in the beginning. The company started an araba vapuru line with a ferry called Suhulet in 1870 between Üsküdar and Kabatas. At the end of the 19th century the company started ferry lines outside of Istanbul to Tekirdag and Izmit. In 1944 the company handed over to the Ministry of Transportation and the ferries modernized. Some of the new ferries that were made then are still running in Istanbul.
What can you do beside using the ferries as transportation? You can go on a Bosphorus tour from Eminönü, have a raki-balik meal in Anadolukavagi, have a nice cup of salep with cinnamon on the ferry, feed the sea gulls with simit…
Did you know The first ferries running on the Bosphorus were one British and two Russian ferries before the ferry company founded? The first Ottoman ferry was called Hümerpervaz?