In Rumelia

Da Vinci, Murad II, and The Bridging of the Golden Horn

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The story of the Galata Bridge (connecting the two peninsulas of Istanbul’s European side) relates back to the 16th century, way before the bridge had actually been constructed–believe it or not, the Ottoman state had even employed Da Vinci to design the bridge:

Golden Horn Bridge designed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1502. Paris Manuscript L, Folio 65v and 66r. Source

According to Istanbulpedia, “in 1502 Leonardo da Vinci did a simple drawing of a graceful bridge with a single span of 720-foot span (approximately 240-meters.) Da Vinci designed the bridge as part of a civil engineering project for Sultan Bajazet II of Constantinople (Istanbul.) The bridge was to span the Golden Horn, an inlet at the mouth of the Bosphorus River in what is now Turkey.”

However, the bridge was never built. Leonardo’s “Golden Horn” Bridge is a perfect “pressed-bow.” Leonardo guessed correctly that the arch of the bridge could be stretched to a narrow length and then widened by using a pier and the land in-between the Golden Horn to anchor each end of the span–but the Ottomans didn’t believe his design would work, anyway. For years, the two peninsulas continued to operate without a connecting line through the water. Michelangelo was eventually asked  to design a bridge for Istanbul–he rejected the idea, however, and the idea of building a bridge across the Golden Horn was shelved until the 19th century.

(On a more contemporary note, a smaller scale version of Leonardo da Vinci’s Golden Horn Bridgewas finally constructed in 2001 near Oslo, Norway by Vebjørn Sand, the first civil engineering project based on a Leonardo da Vinci sketch to be constructed. The Leonardo Bridge Project hopes to build the design as a practical footbridge around the world, including the Golden Horn in Istanbul, using local materials and collaborating with local artisans as a global public art project. The Wall Street Journal referred to the Project as a “…logo for the nations.”

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This entry was published on January 10, 2012 at 22:51 and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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