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Home > Stations > Istanbul Sirkeci

Istanbul - Sirkeci

The first railway station on the European shore Istanbul was located in Yedikule and started to operate in January 1871 when the line opened to Küçük Cekmece. Soon, the line was extended towards the Golden Horn and a new terminal station was built for the opening of the extension to Edirne in 1873. This station known as "temporary" was replaced by the current Sirkeci station on 3 may 1890. This change was decided so that the passengers of the Orient Express could arrive and depart in a setting worthy of the luxury of the train itself. Tenders for the design of a large station were thus called and the works were awarded to Jasmund, a German architect. He created for the occasion an "orientalist style" that was greatly admired, and influenced the designs of other architects. But the building was also modern, having gas lighting and heating in winter.

The last gap to Europe was plugged on 1st June 1889 with opening of the line between Sofia and Nis. Through Orient-Express began running immediately afterward and the first passengers did arrive in the temporary station before being able to enjoy Sirkeci station.

The current building has been preserved in its original state. Inside, one can easily imagine the ambiance at the departure of the Simplon Orient Express in 1920. But the station surroundings changed very much since 1890. In those days there were hardly any buildings around. The passengers were in pleasant setting of garden and trees, with the ground descending in terraces to the sea. Today the station stands in a chaos of cars and concrete. A gas station is right in front of the station and the seashore is now one of Istanbul main road corridor. The gardens have been turned into a parking lot.

Istanbul Sirkeci and Haydarpaşa stations are linked by a train-ferry boat.

Sirkeci station from the street, early 1900

Sirkeci station from the street, early 1900. A very nice color postcard reproduced with the kind permission of A. Karamitsos Auction House, courtesy of Alexandros Gregoriou

Sirkeci from the street

Sirkeci from the street. November 2000. Photo JP Charrey

Sirkeci from the street

Sirkeci from the street. Note the pink color of the building. November 2000. Photo JP Charrey

Detail view of Sirkeci

Detail view of Sirkeci trying to illustrate the "orientalist" style of Jasmund: the entrance of the restaurant "Orient Express"; November 2000. Photo JP Charrey

Detail view of Sirkeci

Detail view of Sirkeci: main entrance, now not used. November 2000. Photo JP Charrey

Detail view of Sirkeci

Detail view of Sirkeci: entrance of the waiting lounge. November 2000. Photo JP Charrey

A view of Sirkeci track side in 1920

A view of Sirkeci track side in 1920. Col JP Charrey

A view of Sirkeci track side in 1920

Sirkeci station throat with 8020 setting off for Halkali. 1997. Photo Malcolm Peakman

Station master's office ante room

Station master's office ante room. February 2002. Picture C. Collier-Wright

 


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Page last modified on 04/09/2013 09:06