The shores of the Golden Horn-once most important seaport of the region-represented throughout history a romantic and recreational venue. This tributary to the Bosphorus, however, became seriously polluted with the extensive industrialization and rapid population growth in Istanbul over the past century. Two main tributaries, the Alibeykoy and the Kagithane, dumped both liquid and solid waste from residential areas and industry (small and large-scale) into the Golden Horn. As a result of this pollution, the landward three to four kilometers of the estuary became swamped with sediment. The dominance of anaerobic activity resulted in a highly unpleasant smell, and the shallow depth as one progressed up the bay restricted navigation. In early 1997 The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality began a dredging operation and gradually diverted all domestic and industrial wastewater discharge from the Golden Horn. Since then there have been remarkable improvements in water quality.