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.


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