(Sabah Newspaper, 29 October 2013)
//ed. note: today is Cumhuriyet Bayrami in Turkey, recalling the
establishment of the republic in 1923. Also today, the Marmaray
undersea rail project will be inaugurated. Marmaray connects
the Asian and European sides of Istanbul.//
da Vinci's Golden Horn bridge planning.
A job request came from Genoa to Sultan Beyazit II in 1502.
The job involved engineering and architecture. The applicant
was registered as Likardo Usta (Master), otherwise known as
Leonardo da Vinci. Here is the translation of the request as
recorded in the archives of the Topkapi Museum:
"I your slave have thought about the matter of mills and by the
grace of God I have found a way to make mills work solely by
wind, without any need for water power. Also, thanks be to God,
I have found a way to expel water from ships by means of a self-
powered hydraulic machine, without using ropes."
"I your slave have heard that you desire to build a bridge from
Galata to Istanbul but that you have not found anyone who can do
this. I your slave know how this can be done. I will make the bridge
as high as a building and because it is so high no one will dare to
cross over it. I'll make such a bridge that ships at full sail can pass
"I'll build a suspension bridge to allow those who want to to cross
to Anatolia. May God make you believe what I say. Please know
that this slave of yours is ready to serve you always."
Da Vinci listed four projects in his letter: a windmill, a water pump,
a stone-arch bridge over the Golden Horn and a suspension bridge
over the Bosphoros. Historian Ilber Ortayli had this to say about
the letter: "it would have been impossible for Leonardo not to be
attracted to such a military empire, where there was certainly a genius
for military technology. In other words, even if the Sultan didn't
summon him, Leonardo would have gladly served the Sultan."
(The Sultan declined Leonardo's offers, by the way.)
Today there are three bridges over the Golden Horn and two across
the Bosphorus. With the start of Marmaray, there will be a passage
under the Bosphorus, as well. The third suspension bridge for the
Bosphorus is on the way. Joining continents is not something we
see every day. Since the time of da Vinci's proposals up to today the
dream for the ages that thousands have had is now to be realized
under the sea.
Marmaray trans-Bosphorus rail link.