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why you should visit this rail line in Istanbul

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    why you should visit this rail line in Istanbul

    The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure announced that Istanbul's Sirkeci-Kazlıçeşme rail line has been recognized by Lonely Planet, a leading travel publication, as one of the six must-see railway routes in Europe.
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    According to the ministry's statement, the Sirkeci-Kazlıçeşme rail line was inaugurated on February 26, 2024, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Abdulkadir Uraloğlu in attendance.

    In the article titled "6 railway routes in Europe you must travel" published on, it was highlighted that nostalgic travelers should experience this line, which begins at Sirkeci, one of Europe’s oldest stations, and ends at Kazlıçeşme.

    The ministry's statement also referenced the article, noting its observations about the Sirkeci-Kazlıçeşme line:

    "Sirkeci Station, located in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district along the Bosporus, is renowned as the former terminus of the legendary Orient Express trains. Sirkeci Station ceased long-distance services in 2013. While the city bustles around Sirkeci, the underground Marmaray train line transports passengers beneath the old city from Europe to Asia, yet there is still life in old Sirkeci. The newly opened 8.3-kilometer (5.16-mile) light rail system to Kazlıçeşme revives train service at the original station. Nostalgic travelers should use this line, one of Europe’s oldest stations. In fact, this line might even be an excuse to hop on the train to Kumkapı, one of the new stops, to enjoy seafood."

    Used by 800,000 passengers
    According to the statement, the Sirkeci-Kazlıçeşme rail line, renovated with a focus on the environment and people, has been used by 800,000 passengers since its opening.

    The line, averaging 10,000 daily passengers, was known as the gateway to Europe during the Ottoman era. Additionally, Sirkeci Station, which opened in 1888, served as the terminus of the Orient Express for many years.

    'Socio-culturally significant as well'
    Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Abdulkadir Uraloğlu, whose views were included in the statement, commented on the project's achievements.

    "By completely redesigning the Sirkeci-Kazlıçeşme line, which has been a key part of Istanbul's transportation network for over 141 years, we have reintroduced it with a project focused on railways, pedestrians, and environmental sustainability. The Sirkeci-Kazlıçeşme line also stands out socio-culturally, with its 7.3-kilometer pedestrian and bicycle path, 122,550 square meters (1.3 million square feet) of open spaces and recreation areas, 6,000 square meters of indoor social-cultural facilities, and 74,000 square meters of new green space."

    He added: "Within the scope of the project, we also restored our heritage stops at Yedikule, Kocamustafapaşa, Yenikapı, and Kumkapı, which are legacies from our ancestors. By making Istanbul's most valuable areas accessible to citizens, we are making significant contributions to social life. Our Sirkeci-Kazlıçeşme Rail System and Pedestrian-Oriented New Generation Transportation Project is a prime example of this approach."​