Kabataş, a quarter in Istanbul's Beyoğlu district on the European side, will be closed to maritime traffic starting from July 28. This hub of ferry docks where thousands go every day to take a ferry to the city's Asian side, nearby islands and the city of Bursa to the south will undergo a major renovation starting from that date. Ferries will be diverted to other docks for an indefinite period while the project is underway, a statement from the Istanbul municipality said.
Although it might be bad news for travelers accustomed to taking a quick trip to the other side or taking sightseeing tours across the Bosporus, the shutdown will mark the beginning of an ambitious project that includes a tunnel under the waterway for pedestrians. Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, who has served as the city's mayor since 2004, announced the project he referred to as his "magnum opus" last April and said people would be able to walk from Kabataş to Üsküdar on the Asian side "completely underwater." Although the details of the project remain shrouded in mystery, media outlets have reported that the long distance between the two shores of the city will be covered by moving walkways in the tunnel.
The underwater tunnel is not the only change coming to Kabataş. The municipality said in the statement that a 83,000 square meter square will be built, docks will undergo renovation and heavy traffic in the area will be relieved with an underground tunnel between the Fındıklı district and Dolmabahçe. In addition, a large parking garage, museum and exhibition halls will be built under the square.
Until the completion of the project, municipality-run passenger ferries operating between Kabataş and Kadıköy and the Princes' Islands will be diverted to the Beşiktaş dock and the Katip Çelebi dock in Eminönü. Ferries run by private company İDO will be directed to the Beşiktaş and Yenikapı docks while those operated by BUDO will be diverted to a dock in nearby Karaköy. A dock used by sightseeing boats will also be closed and those boats will also be diverted to Karaköy.
Along with maritime travel, the municipality plans to integrate metro lines traversing the city to a new line in Kabataş.