Tünel’s Story

 Year 1869 might be considered as a turning point in İstanbul’s public transportation. Because, in this year, concessions for three important aspects of public transportation were granted, which can be called 3 Ts, and their contracts were signed. These 3 Ts are: Train, Tram and Tünel. Their common connotation is that the acceleration and modernization in transportation in the world are applied also in İstanbul. Coincidence aside, granting these three concessions is an indication of the importance given to the modern transportation in those years. With the works started and commissioning new transportation vehicles, İstanbul’s visage has changed and such change affected the social life

A French engineer, Eugene-Henri Gavand visited İstanbul in 1867. In his visit, he observed that large number of people walked between Galata and Beyoğlu, which were two major centers of İstanbul. Galata was an important financial and commercial center, while Beyoğlu was a lively and attractive leisure destination. Galata accommodated Istanbul exchange, customs, business establishments in various fields, shops and warehouses.
In addition to entertainment venues, Beyoğlu houses embassies, hotels and residences. Both centers harbor crowds.When the people wants to get to Galata from Beyoğlu, or vice versa, they should take Yüksekkaldırım road, which interconnects those places. But, because Yüksekkaldırım is too steep and neglected and unsuitability for pedestrians and transportation, the people walking here get easily tired.
According to Gavand, approximately 40.000 people walk between these lively centers. But Yüksekkaldırım cannot handle such traffic. First of all, a considerable inclination of 24% exists. And the width of the street is only 6 meters. In some places, the width even drops to 4 meters. Walking in such conditions is quite difficult and tiring. When riding, there is a risk to fall. Because Gavand was an engineer, he thought a method to save the people from that inclination. The method Gavand found was: With an underground railway (Tünel), in the form of lift between Galata and Beyoğlu, the people and goods can be transported. Thus, an important convenience for the public would be introduced, and he would make money.It would be constructed to a point in Yenicami Street, as close as to Karaköy bridge. Beyoğlu station would be constructed right across from Galata Dervish Hall and next to Teke cemetery
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