The Golden Horn - or Haliç, meaning "waterway" - is an estuary flowing into the Bosphorus strait that bisects Constantinople into its northern and southern halves. Because of its breadth and depth, the Golden Horn has served as a natural harbor since the days of ancient Byzantium.
In 1502, after the cessation of violence between Ottomans and Venetians, Sultan Bayezid II invited the famous Florentine Leonardo da Vinci to submit a design for a bridge that would span a 250-meter wide section of the Golden Horn. Upon seeing Leonardo's design, however, the Sultan felt the project was too ambitious and scrapped the idea. Four years later, Bayezid extended the same invitation to a young artist named Michelangelo. But Michelangelo - being an avowed rival of da Vinci's - refused the Sultan's invitation outright, evidently incensed that Leonardo had been asked first.