Turkey’s Bosphorus Bridge (Turkish: Boğaziçi Köprüsü), also called the First Bridge (Turkish: Birinci Köprü) or the 15 July Martyrs Bridge (Turkish: 15 Temmuz Şehitler Köprüsü), is one of three suspension bridges that span the Bosphorus strait (Turkish: Boğaziçi) in Istanbul, linking Europe and Asia (alongside the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge), linking Europe and From Ortaköy (Europe) to Beylerbeyi, the bridge connects the two (in Asia).
Steel towers and slanted hangers create a suspension bridge that relies on gravity. Steel cables support the aerodynamic roof. It has a length of 1,560 meters (5,118 feet) and a width of 33.40 meters (108 feet) (110 ft). The main span is 1,074 meters (3,524 feet) in length, and the tallest tower is 165 meters (541 feet) above ground (541 ft). The bridge has a 64-meter vertical clearance above mean sea level (210 ft).
The Bosphorus Bridge, which was completed in 1973, boasted the longest suspension bridge span outside the United States at the time (only the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Mackinac Bridge had a longer span in 1973). Before the Humber Bridge was built in 1981, the Bosphorus Bridge held the record for the longest suspension bridge in Europe, and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (Second Bosphorus Bridge) held the record for Asia until both were built in 1988. (which was surpassed by the Minami Bisan-Seto Bridge in 1989). The suspension span of the Bosphorus Bridge is currently the 40th longest in the world.
The annual Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon, held in October, uses the bridge to travel from Asia to Europe. The marathon necessitates the temporary suspension of bridge traffic.
On the second Sunday of October, visitors take part in the “fun run” and walk across the bridge. Numerous people bring picnics in order to take in the scenery.
From 1978 to 1986, the bridge appeared on the back of Turkish 1000-lira banknotes.
On May 15, 2005, at 7:00 a.m. local time, tennis legends Venus Williams of the United States and Ipek Şenoğlu of Turkey squared off on the bridge in what is believed to be the first-ever tennis match played on both continents. The five-minute event served as a preview of the 2005 WTA Istanbul Cup. They ended the exhibition by each dropping a tennis ball into the Bosphorus.
At 10:30 a.m. local time on July 17, 2005, British Formula One driver David Coulthard drove a Red Bull racing car across the bridge from Europe to Asia and back again, performing a powerslide turn at the toll booth. At the end of his journey, he returned to the garden of Dolmabahçe Palace and parked his car there. Coulthard was fined 20 euros by the automated surveillance system because he had driven his Formula 1 car across the bridge without paying the toll. The team he was on agreed to foot the bill for him.
The bridge was closed to traffic for about an hour on November 5 so that Tiger Woods, who was in town for the 2013 Turkish Airlines Open golf tournament held between November 7 and 10, could make a couple of show shots from the Asian side to the European side.