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Orient Express returns for enchanting Istanbul escape

Orient Express returns for enchanting Istanbul escape “Orient Express” at Sirkeci Station in Istanbul, June 5, 2024. (IHA Photo)
By Newsroom
Jun 6, 2024 1:11 PM

The famed Orient Express concluded its Istanbul leg Thursday, after a grand arrival at the historic Sirkeci Station. The train, which departed Paris on June 1, brought 48 passengers on an unforgettable adventure through Europe, culminating in a warm welcome by a traditional Mehteran band.

According to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Abdulkadir Uraloglu, 48 people joined this legendary journey to Türkiye. On the return trip, 38 people will leave Istanbul. Uraloglu also said that a new group of passengers who arrived in Istanbul by plane will join the train’s return trip.

Orient Express returns for enchanting Istanbul escape
Orient Express at Sirkeci Station in Istanbul, June 5, 2024. (IHA Photo)

The Orient Express’ second trip to Istanbul will take place on Aug. 28 and will leave the country on Aug. 30. This special journey offers a unique travel experience of traveling on the legendary line from the past to the present.

This journey offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the legendary route that first captivated Europe’s elite in 1883. Weaving through the heart of Europe, the Orient Express connected major cities and became synonymous with elegance and adventure. Passengers from all walks of life, from aristocrats to adventurers, traversed the continent in style. Today, the meticulously restored carriages, featuring sleeping cars, lounge cars, and a restaurant car, recreate the magic of that bygone era.

This year’s maiden voyage to Türkiye highlighted the country’s richness in history and culture, solidifying its place as one of the Orient Express’ most captivating destinations. With its ancient sites, vibrant cities, and breathtaking landscapes, Türkiye promises an unforgettable experience for even the most seasoned traveler.

The historical and cultural heritage that unfolds as the Orient Express travels through Istanbul further enriches the unforgettable story of this legendary train. Passengers will be immersed in a city that bridges continents and eras, boasting Byzantine wonders like Hagia Sophia and Ottoman marvels like Topkapi Palace.

Orient Express returns for enchanting Istanbul escape
Advertising poster for the Orient Express, 1888-89. (From the Arjan den Boer Collection)

Witness to history

In 1883, Orient Express started its maiden voyage on an unforgettable line from Paris to Istanbul. This historic journey brought together many people of French, German, Austrian and Ottoman origin.

The Orient Express carriages hold a unique place in world history. It witnessed pivotal moments, including the signing of the armistice agreement that ended World War I. This very carriage, a testament to a period of great upheaval, now resides in a museum. During World War II, Germany’s surrender agreement was signed in the carriage of this legendary train.

While services were interrupted during WWI and WWII, the Orient Express rose from the ashes each time. The train navigated the complexities of the Cold War with various restrictions, but its final journey in 1977 marked the end of an era.

The Orient Express became a popular travel route for aristocrats, business people and adventurers. Agatha Christie’s famed novel “Murder on the Orient Express” drew inspiration from the train’s mystique.

The train served as a cultural and commercial bridge, carrying not only passengers but also various trade goods to Istanbul and Paris. In Istanbul, thousands of hats and caps were transported by the Orient Express after the Hat Revolution.

Today, the historical and cultural heritage of Orient Express continues to offer an unforgettable travel experience from the past to the present.

Last Updated:  Jun 6, 2024 1:11 PM