Haliç which is one of the world’s oldest places of inhabitancy of the world was known as Golden Horn (khrysokeras) in the ancient periods. Name of region has then changed to Keras in the Byzantine period and Haliç-i Konstantiniyye in the Ottoman period and it has taken its today’s form, Haliç, in the subsequent periods.
The legend of the Bosphorus including also Haliç comes from the forbidden love lived between Zeus at the level of Gods and Io, the daughter of Inakhos who was the King of Argos. According to the legend, Bosphorus takes its name from the lecherous actions of Zeus and story of beautiful Io who has become the victim of Hera’s (Zeus’s wife) jealousy. Zeus falls in love with Io, the princess of Argos, one day. And, he wants to keep Io out from Hera’s rage by transforming it to a white cow as he was afraid of her anger. But Hera is aware of what’s going on. Hera puts a sentinel with hundred eyes first, but Hera has to set a horsefly on her neck to bother Io after she manages to get rid of the sentinel with the help of Zeus and Hermes. Poor Io has to keep traveling around the whole ancient world to get rid of the horsefly. She passes through the Bosphorus during her travel which will be called with this name meaning -the Passage of Cow/Ox- afterwards. But, Hera gets sorry for Io who is pregnant at that time as she is also a mother and takes the horsefly from her neck. Io gives birth to a female baby at the Asian shores of Bosphorus and they give her the name Keroessa. This girl has then a son from Poseidon called Byzas who will establish a city at the placed he has born in the future.