Constantinople: “The Story of the Old Capital of the Empire”
"Where ocean bathes earth's footstool these sea-bowers
Bedeck its solid wavelets: wise was he
Who blended shore with deep, with seaweed flowers,
And Naiads' rivulets with Nereids' sea."
Strictly speaking the peninsula on which the city stands is of the form of a trapezium. It juts out into the sea, beating back as it were the fierce waves of the Bosphorus, and forcing them to turn aside from their straight course and widen into the Sea of Marmora, which the ancients called the Propontis, narrowing again as it forces its way between the near banks of the Hellespont, which rise abrupt and arid from the European side, and slope gently away in Asia to the foot of Mount Ida. Northwards there is the little bay of the Golden Horn, an arm as it were of the Bosphorus, into which run the streams which the Turks call the Sweet Waters of Europe. The mouth of the harbour is no more than five hundred yards across. The Greeks of the Empire spanned it by a chain, supported here and there on wooden piles, fragments of which still remain in the Armoury that was once the church of S. Irene. Within is safe anchorage in one of the finest harbours of the world.