Surprisingly for a city split between two continents, Istanbul existed without connecting bridges for most of its existence. After the construction of the Bosphorus Bridge in the 1970s, the second unifying bridge, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, came in 1988. It is part of Istanbul’s O-2 highway and connects the European and Asian sides of the city. The Basics
Connecting the neighborhoods of Hisarustu and Kavacik, near the Rumeli Hisari and Anadolu Hisari fortresses, the gravity-anchored suspension Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge spans one of the narrowest sections of the Bosphorus Strait. It is not open to pedestrians.
Small-group and private tours often cross the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, and Bosphorus cruises pass underneath it. Many tours that include the bridge often also visit Dolmabahce Palace, Rumeli Fortress, the Blue Mosque, and other major Istanbul attractions.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge is a toll bridge for vehicles traveling from Europe to Asia.
- There is often rush-hour traffic on the bridge, so plan your trips accordingly.
- The bridge is named after Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, who took control of Constantinople from the Byzantine Empire in 1453.
How to Get There
The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge is easily accessed by car from any major highway in Istanbul. You can also pass under the bridge on a Bosphorus cruise.
When to Get There
Traffic can get slow on the bridge during the morning and afternoon rush hours; in the early morning and late at night, traffic on the bridge is minimal. At night, the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge is illuminated with colorful lights, which makes it an excellent time to admire it on a Bosphorus cruise.Other Istanbul Bridges
The first bridge to span the Bosphorus Strait was constructed in 1973. Originally named the Bosphorus Bridge, its name was officially changed in 2016 to the 15 July Martyrs’ Bridge. Also in 2016, Istanbul’s third bridge, the Yavuz Sultan Selim, located in the far northern section of the Bosphorus Strait, was opened to the public.