Friday 7 February 2014

Tram and metro network of Istanbul

While in Lisbon, Portugal almost exactly a year ago, I snapped a few nice photos of their famous Tram 28.

At that time I did not even suspect I will find myself in Istanbul after a year to admire a similar sight. Like in Lisbon there is an extensive tram network also in Istanbul.

Since there are quite a few hills within the huge city (just like in Lisbon and Rome), Istanbul also has a couple of funicular type trams to help transfer passengers uphill.

Apart from those there is also a stretch of the metro line simply called Tünel. Just recently a celebration took place to mark the establishment of the Tünel (139th anniversary), which is the second oldest subterranean urban rail line in the world. Only the London Underground (est. 1863) is older.
Today it is just a part of the municipal transport network and serves some 12,000 people daily.

Among the many public transportation rides we took while in Istanbul, we also had to try the Tünel. It was built to provide an easy ride between the neighborhoods of Galata in Karaköy and Pera (60 meters higher) in Beyoğlu, both of which at the time were in the relatively newer part of Istanbul on the northern shore of the Golden Horn.
The only direct street connecting the two, Yüksek Kaldırım, is steep and narrow. At the time of the construction of Tünel, it was crowded with 40,000 pedestrians a day.

We also tried walking uphill that street and I would definitely have to agree it is quite a workout. You can easily try both options and you will get the idea pretty quickly yourself. If it is not obvious enough, I suggest you take a ride through the Tünel uphill and walk the streets downhill.
You can also check out the spectacular view from the Galata tower while in the area.

If you plan on using the pretty convenient public transportation network a lot during your stay in Istanbul, you should consider getting an Istanbul Card (Istanbulkart), which you can fill up with cash as you go. You can get it at the airport as soon as you arrive.


Wednesday 5 February 2014

Sweet memories of Istanbul


Monday 3 February 2014

Church of St. Anthony of Padua, Istanbul

Istanbul is not all about mosques and Islam. There are also a few pretty nice Christian churches hidden within the city. This is a pretty good indicator of city's cultural diversity.

One of them is definitely the Church of St. Anthony of Padua (aka Sant'Antonio di Padova). It is situated just off the İstiklal Avenue in the Beyoğlu district.

It is quite nice and worth a quick look if you are in the Beyoğlu neighbourhood, but not so special to deserve a dedicated visit from the opposite side of the city.

It was built in 1725 by members of Italian community, but later demolished and rebuilt again between 1906 and 1912. It is actually considered a minor basilica and is run by Italian priests.

According to Wikipedia Pope John XXIII preached in this church for a period of 10 years (when he was the Vatican's ambassador to Turkey) just before being elected as pope. He is known in Turkey with the nickname "The Turkish Pope" because of his fluent Turkish and his often expressed love for Turkey and the city of Istanbul.

Clicking on any one of above photos will reveal it in a much more flattering resolution.

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