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The History of the Most Popular Tram in Turkey

Today we want to pay attention to the most popular and famous red tram, which is the hallmark of Istanbul, its images are found on numerous postcards and guidebooks. We managed to find out that its name among the locals is quite different, they call it “Nostalgic Tram“. Initially, it was planned to launch the tram only to increase the flow of tourists, but it became so popular among local residents that it was unanimously decided to leave it. The well-known Istiklal Street, along which the tram passes, is pedestrian, but an exception has been made for one type of transport. A retro tram route runs along Istiklal, whose bright red and unusual trailer seems to have just arrived from the beginning of the 20th century. The very first tram line was opened in Istanbul in the 19th century. It’s hard to imagine, but at that time the tram was moving along its path on horse traction. However, for citizens it was considered a modern transport. The route followed by the tram has not changed a bit over the last century. It, as before, begins at the Tunel Square, at the exit of the underground funicular station. Tunel passengers, as soon as they climb from the shore of the Golden Horn to the top of the hill, can transfer to the tram and get to Taksim Square. The entire length of the tram route is just over one and a half kilometers. There are three tram cars in total: two of them work constantly, and one is on duty at the depot. During the journey from Tunel to Taksim, the tram makes three intermediate stops, picking up and dropping off passengers.

Only once in the history of Istiklal Street, the movement of trams was stopped. This happened in the 60s of the last century, because the city authorities decided that the tram was an outdated transport, and then replaced it with buses. However, the indignation of local residents was so great that the authorities had to immediately resume the movement of trams.

The tram was immediately restored to the look it had 100 years ago. It was decorated with wood from the inside, which allows passengers to comfortably settle down. However, the tram does not accommodate a large number of passengers. But there is always a place for a tired traveler. The tram accommodates about 6,000 passengers daily. During the holidays, it is often decorated with garlands and toys.A favorite pastime of local kids is to jump on the foot of the tram on the move.

The cost of both routes is the same and amounts to 3.5 TL (Turkish lira) according to the map of Istanbul. The terminal for their reception is located in the tram, but cash is not accepted. The tram runs daily from 7.00 to 20.00. According to the map of Istanbul.

To fully experience the atmosphere of Istiklal Street, we strongly recommend you to take a ride on a retro tram! 🙂

Also you can read this article in Russian Language: История самого популярного трамвая в Турции

Anna Yablochkina

Hello, I'm Anna, I live in Istanbul. I love traveling and discovering new places. I share my trips on Expat Guide Turkey.

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