Istanbul's Tunel is one of the charms of Istanbul according to me. What makes this tunel special is that it is the second-oldest subway line in the world, after the London Underground. It is more a nostalgic flashback to the past than a common way of transportation.
The southern end of Istiklal Caddesi at Tunel Meydani (Tunnel Square) is one of the two stops of the underground train. This is what you see on the picture.
The other stop is Galata (Karakoy). This stop doesnt look as attractive as the Tunnel Square stop.
It is a very short ride. I think not more than 5 min.
As far as I remember the price is modest, only YTL 1 which is less than USD 1.
Some facts and history:
The Tunel has just one train of two steel cars with pneumatic tires, and its cruising speed is roughly 25 km/h. It is an underground funicular with only two stations, and a uphill track of approximately 573 meters. The denivalation of the two stops is about 60 meters.
The Tunel was originally conceived by the French engineer Henri Gavand in 1867. Two years later, on 6 November 1869, he received permission from the Ottoman sultan Abd-ul-Aziz to start the project.
After finding foreign funding, construction began on 30 July 1871 and ended in December 1874.
The Tunel was opened on 17 January 1875 to provide an easy ride between the two neighborhoods of Pera and Galata, both in the new district of Istanbul on the hill north of the Golden Horn. Galata and Pera are now called Karakoy, and Beyoglu, respectively.
When it opened, the Tunel was powered by horses. The line began being powered by electricity in 1910. The Tunel was nationalized in 1939 to became part of the new IETT (Ýstanbul Elektrik Tramvay ve Tunel) transportation organization.
In 1971, it was renovated and modernized, and the original wooden cars were replaced by metal ones.
The daily train from Burcharest in Romania to Istanbul is quite an experience. First, you have to dodge all the shady people in the Bucharest train station. Then you pass through Romanian border patrol, cross the Danube River and wait as the Bulgarian border patrol tries to figure out if you are a smuggler. As you wait for the train to start moving, children beg alongside men in adidas track suits who will ask if you want to change money. The rest of your day will be awfully boring as the Bulgarian landscape is not that interesting. I have passed through it six times, so I know what I'm talking about. In the middle of the night, you will be awoken by whistles as you arrive at the border between Bulgaria and Turkey. Everyone has to get out of the train on the Turkish side and buy a visa (unless you are from a select few countries which don't need one). The train will be stopped for at least an hour, maybe longer.
As you travel through western Turkey, the train will rattle back and forth. It is actually a scary experience as it seems as though the train will fall off the tracks. As nerve wrecking as this may be, try to enjoy the sunrise and the beautiful landscape. In a couple of hours, you will be at Sirkeci station for your Istanbul adventure.
Istanbul is a very large city.Larger than New York,larger than Rome,Paris and London
So its very difficult for foreigners to understand the system of transportation
I just want to give you some hints to make your life easier during your stay
We have :
Funicular ( we call it tunel)
the new Funicular (Kabatas-Taksim)
systems within city transportation
and we have city boats for city transportation too
this services are organized by the municipality
Beside this transport facilities we have private :
taxis (yellow cab)
dolmus (still yellow but they help to the people which want to go to same direction and you share the cost of the transport)
I am giving you the official websites ,the second is for the boats
good luck and enjoy your stay .I hope that it was helpful )))
Istanbul has 2 big part.One is the Asian side and the other is european side.We live on two continents.I travel every day from asian side to european side.my home in Asian side my work in European side.
So about 15milion people are living in Istanbul that means lots of traffic and wasting lots of time.
I suggest you to use sea and trains and metro-ligth metro or tram.Keep away from the Bus and Taxis.Taxi is cheaper than the other big cities of the world but to much time you will loose in the traffic.In the old city (sultanahmet area)use your feet.
Best thing is walk.For to reach other parts of the istanbul use the other transportation vehicles.
I give you all transport links of the istanbul.
Sea lines(Fast ferry and public boats) www.ido.com.tr
Train (Suburbian trains) www.tcdd.gov.tr
Public bus www.iett.gov.tr
All those weblinks have english pages.
On this page at the contact line you can see the istanbul metropolitan municipality web page.
also you can get more transport info from that page.
I've found the transport system in Istanbul efficient and reliable. The whole system - the metro/LRT, tram, train, buses, ferries and even the cable car at Eyup - are all integrated into single, seamless network that is so friendly to use even for first timers. To access all these, all you need is an Akbil, some sort of an electronic chip (akin to batteries; pictured here).
Except for the language problem that I encountered when I bought my first (and only) Akbil at the Zeytinburnu metro station, everything else went fine. Got a YTL 20 load plus another reload of YTL 20 and it was more than enough to take me around the city for a week going to Eyup, Prince's Islands, Taksim, etc.
Akbils can be easily purchased and reloaded from tram and metro stations.
Crossing over from Europe to Asia is fast and simple. Head over to the Eminonu ferry terminals. Each building has the name of the destination on it. Buy a token from the sales desk and then put the token in the appropriate slot before going through the turnstile. If there is not a boat already there, you will be waiting for about five to 10 minutes. While on the boat, you can purchase drinks or candy from the onboard snack shop. There are also men in sailor costumes who walk around selling tea. Prices are reasonable.
A busride in Istanbul costs 1 000 000 TL. You buy the ticket from a ticket-booth just next to the buses or you can pay on the bus.
Bus T4 is going between Sultanahmet and Taksim. From Taksim and Eminönü buses are going to places all over Istanbul. If you don't know the busnumber you can always ask in the ticket-booth. If you don't speek Turkish it can be good with a paper and pen so you can have the numbers written down for you.
I have checked IETT english page ,They just translated it from Turkish to English.So when you read it, you thought you can buy seasonal or weekly or monthly akbil.In practice it s not possible cause IETT do not give monthly or weekly or seasonal akbil if you do not have a poloroid size photo and some documents but I do not know exactly.Weekly or seasonal or mothnly akbil just for blue akbil .Blue akbil is for the Istanbullers and look like an ID card and there is big battery (akbil)stikec on it.This is not for tourists.
You buy straigth akbil like me I do not use extra discounted public transport card.When you leave the Istanbul go back that any AKBIL SATIS GISESI and give it back and get your money back.in those office they do not speak english
say (AKBIL TOMOUMOU GHEREE VHERMACK ESTEHYOORUUM)
give the akbil tom back and get your five bucks back.
Find a Public Bus Terminal or Fast Ferry Terminal or Public Boat Terminal or Subway Terminal or Ligth Rail Terminal or Tramway Terminal shortly any puclib transport vehicle station you can find an office write on "AKBIL SATIS GISESI"
you can ask for "akbil tom" (that plastic thing a battery sticked top of the lead)I do not how much does it cost now but I guess it s cost about 7,00YTL (5,00US$) this is for akbil tom and you need to fill it and pay 10,00YTL (8,00US$) for to travel by puplic transport.
When you get on a public bus use your akbil it cost you 1,25 ytl and if you get off and get on another bus in 1 hour you pay 0,60 ytl for second journey third journey 0,60 fourth 0,60
fifth 0,60 ytl in 1 hour.
But if you travel between 2 continent for example from an europen side town Taksim to Asian side town Bostanci you pay 1,60US$ cause you cross the bridge and it s charge passing fee from the every vehicle who pass from the bridge.
Do not forget Fast Ferry take lots of money from your akbil than the other public transportation vehicles.
To get from Ataturk Airport to your hotel by public transportation, try this: Leave the airport and go directly across the street to the parking garage (“otopark”). Look for the elevator with the sign "Hafif Metro" (light rail). It will take you down to the train station. Buy a token (jeton) at the booth (1.2 YTL, if I remember correctly). Go through the turnstile and board the metro for Aksaray - but get out at Zeytinburnu, the 6th stop. From there take a taxi to your hotel (the meter starts at 1.3 YTL).
At this point, we actually transferred to the "tramway" (pronounced “tram-vi” with a long “I” sound), after going down a flight of steps and buying another jeton, but finding our hotel at night on a little side street turned out to be too confusing. We wandered around for quite a while until we found it, and by that time we were exhausted. So a taxi is your best bet, at least until you figure out where your hotel is in relation to things. Make sure the taxi driver turns on the meter. From Zeytinburnu, the ride is much less expensive than from the airport.
Akbil is short for "akilli bilet" or 'clever ticket'. It is a small plastic thing with a metal round bit that slots into machines on public transport, acting a bit like a swipe card. the plastic bit conveniently attaches to a keyring, so you can keep it handy.
Akbil can be bought at certain I.E.T.T booths around the city (where you can but bus tickets too). There are different types of Akbil...one which you buy and top up when necessary; one which gives you free travel for a week; one which gives unlimited travel for one day, two days, etc... If you plan on staying a while in istanbul, it makes sense to buy a standard Akbil, as it gives you discounts on all public transport. For example, a ticket on my bus cost me 1.4 YTL, but using Akbil only 1YTL. Once you have used up all the money on your Akbil, you can top it up at any I.E.T.T office with an amount of your choice.
You can use Akbil on buses, trams, the metro and on ferries. As well as saving you money, it saves you time too....you don't have to queue for tickets, just click your Akbil in the machine and away you go!
I flew roundtrip from Istanbul to Adana in southern Turkey for $90! The service was pretty good. It was about the same as Turkish Air. Onur Air travels from Istanbul to places such as Izmir, Antalya and Trabzon. All are about the same price.
The tram is the most convenient and fastest way to get around Istanbul. The trams are clean and comfortable with trams running continuously - about every 5 minutes - from 5 a.m. to midnight. They can be very crowded during rush hour. Almost all of the major tourist sites can be reached via tram.
Stops are as follows:
Kabatas - Dolmabahce Place, Dolmabahce Mosque, Funicular to Taksim Square
Karakoy - Tunel (funicular) to Beyoglu
Eminou - Galata Bridge, Spice Market, Yeni Cami (New Mosque), Bosphorus trips
Sirkeci - train station
Gulhane - Gulhane Park, Archaeological Museum
Sultanahment - Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern
Cemberlitas - Cemberlitas Hammam
Beyazit - Grand Bazaar
Universite - Istanbul Univeristy
Laleli - hotels, shops
Yusufpasa - Metro connection to the airport
See http://www.istanbululasim.com/harita/RayliSistemler.jpg for Istanbul transportation map (excludes buses).
The fare is 1.4 TL for one ride - whether for one stop or the entire line. Before boarding the tram you must buy a token for the turnstile from one of the booths at or near the tram stop. The trams travel on the right so be sure to stand at the correct platform.
The absolute cheapest way to get around this great city as it allows you to use any metro,lightrail,ferry,tram,funicular or bus,is the Akbil which means smart ticket.
1 day,weekly,15 day or 31 day versions are available but the best bargain is with the ( Mavi Akbil ) or blue akbil,which costs around a mere 4 dollars and then when topped up to as much as you require for your stay,gives you 10-25% discounts on all routes.
Get this, when you change within 90 minutes of your first transit,the next 2 are free and you get a different noise when you use your Akbil to tell you this.
Boforus tour will currently cost you 10 Ytl instead of 14,5 one way and the Princes Islands are only 2.Other trips are only 1.25.
If you don't want a Blue Akbil then the other costs are as follows.
1 day costs 7.5 Ytl
7 day 40
15 day 60
31 day 100
They come in a range of colours so don't expect a blue akbil to be blue.
I have flown many airlines and I must say that I was not impressed with the service provided by Turkish Airlines when I flew roundtrip between London and Istanbul. There was no leg room and the stewardesses kept bumping into my arm. Hard to sleep on a flight when people are constantly banging into you. A good flight is when time seems to be passing very quickly. A bad flight makes the time drag on. Needless to say, the three-and-a-half hours I was on that airplane seemed to take an eternity.
Istanbul's Atatürk airport can conveniently be reached by the Light Rail line M1 (Hafif Metro). The line exists since September 1989 and nowadays connects the airport (Havalimani) with Aksaray in Istanbul's Fatih district on the European side of the city.
The Light Rail M1 has two interchange stations with the tramway line T1, which serves a route to the touristic districts on both sides of the Golden Horn (e.g. Sultanahmet and Sirkeci).
To get access to the Light Rail M1 a token (Jeton) has to be bought. In December 2012 it cost 3 TYR at automatic machines at the stations.
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