If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul. ~Alphonse de Lamartine
A Vapur in Istanbul
A vapur. In the background are Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. “Vapur” is a special word for “ferry” in Turkey it is widely used in especially in Istanbul and Izmir. It comes from the French equivalent of “steamboat”, “bateau à vapeur”. Vapour means “steam” and bateau means “boat”. The first private steam ferry or “bateau à vapeur” crossed the Bosphorus in 1837. The first ferries were wooden paddle boats and were later replaced by iron and steel screw ships. The city authorities took over the fleet and formed a Şirket-i Hayriye (boat company) in 1945. The “vapur” is not just a transportation method – it also a huge influence on the Turkish culture. There are many songs and poems about vapur.