Galataport, Istanbul's US$1.7 billion cruise ship port, is about to open its doors to the first cruise ships.
Spread over almost a mile of Bosphorus coastline in the city's Karakoy district, the gigantic project is tipped by its management to become a “social, cultural and lifestyle destination", welcoming some 25 million visitors each year.
Facilities at the 29,000 square metre destination include the world's first underground cruise ship terminal, and a clever hatch system which turns part of the coastline into a temporary customs area while ships are in port, but leaves it open as a promenade for visitors to enjoy the rest of the time.
Galataport can accommodate three ships and 15,000 passengers a day. This month, the port expects ships from Eurodam, Costa Crociere, Norwegian Cruise Line, Viking Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, among others.
As well as being a well-used hub for cruise passengers, Galataport aims to become a lifestyle destination, with top-notch visitor attractions and facilities. As well as the usual shopping and restaurant facilities you'd expect, the port has invested heavily in art. Visitors can attend a new Istanbul Modern museum branch, a painting and sculpture museum and the Tophane Square with its restored 150-year-old clock tower.
Other heritage buildings are also being restored by the port, which is aiming to uphold Turkey's history while creating a modern cruise experience for travellers and visitors.
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