One of the Istanbul's most prominent and significant landmarks is imposing Sirkeci Railway Station, which saw the most famous train in history … the famous Orient Express!
Located in the old part of town, almost on the Bosphorus coast and near Topkapi Palace, With the Orient Express, Sikrecia quickly became symbol of Istanbul.
The concept of international rail lines offering sleeping coupons was initiated by a company owned by Belgian George Nagelmackers back in 1876.
It's this company launched the legendary Orient Express line, which was driving from Paris to Istanbul until 1977.
Belgrade on the famous Orient Express route since 1885.
The first voyage of the Orient Express has set off from Paris, October 4, 1883. with the musical accompaniment of Mozart's “Turkish March”!
The route initially went to the Romanian city of Giurgiu, with commuter stations in Munich and Vienna, and then in Romania, passengers would take a boat and then continue on an train to Istanbul.
Two years later, the famous route was opened, which included our Belgrade, so now the cult route was Paris – Vienna – Belgrade – Nis – Sofia – Istanbul.
The journey lasted about 80 hours, while the total mileage was about 3,094 km.
Orient Express was synonymous with luxury travel!
Rich and famous people were the main travelers of beautiful carriages, made of the finest materials. Marble washbasins in bathrooms, silk linens, soft leather in the armchairs of the bar, silver cutlery and porcelain service…
Over the years, many interesting people traveled the Orient by express. Kings, criminals, millionaires, refugees, businessmen, diplomats, spies and revolutionaries, were passengers of the famous train!
Sirkeci Station has also witnessed many celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway, Alfred Hitchcock, Mata Harry, Greta Garbo, Jackie Kennedy, Jan Fleming, King Edward VIII and many more!
Pera Palace – Istanbul's first luxury hotel
At that time, the only place that could accommodate such important figures in Istanbul was the Pera Palace Hotel!
One of the the most important historic hotels in the world, it was located in the Beyoglu area, which was then considered the center of the city.
Hotel Pera Palace, built in 1892, to meet the needs of travelers on the world famous Orient Express Railway.
This was it Istanbul's first luxury hotel and the first building ( than the Ottoman palaces) that had electricity and hot water as well first electric lift in Istanbul (second in Europe), with unique decor!
The hotel was designed by Alexandre Vallaury, a French-Turkish architect, who blended non-classical, art nouveau and oriental styles, to create a unique and elegant result. Heavy drapes, Chinese vases, oriental rugs and carpets, lavish tapestries, imposing chandeliers…
Today, the hotel houses as many as 198 original pieces of furniture, as well as the aforementioned lift, which most closely resembles those of Hitchcock's films.
Famous guests of the Pera Palace Hotel – Kemal Ataturk, Greta Garbo, Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, Tito…
As soon as Pera Palace opened its doors, it has become a center for intellectuals, politicians and artists from all over Europe. The stylish hotel bar, the Grand Orient, was a meeting place for the high-end world! In it you could see the famous Sarah Bernard, as well as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
The father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal, had a separate suite at the hotel. Today this apartment (Apartment 101) turned into a museum, who is dedicated to him. Hemingway also spent a certain period of his life at this hotel. Inspired by it, part of the shop in the novel “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” is located right in the Pera Palace Hotel.
Among the celebrities who stayed at the hotel was the famous British writer of crime novels, Agatha Christie! Room number 411, was wAgatha liked to spend her days while in Istanbul.
The mystery of the key and the disappearance of the writer
Tis also a mystery attached to this apartment. Namely, In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared from her home in Berkshire, after learning that her husband was having an affair! After 11 days, fans found her at a hotel in Yorkshire. It was not clear to anyone wthe famous writer was during that time…
When director Michael Epted, many years later, wanted to make a movie about her disappearance, as the recording progressed, he realized he didn't have enough facts. Desperate, he sought the help of a Hollywood prophetess and the media, who was able to receive a message from Agatha.
Specifically, according to the prophetess, Agatha stated that The “key” to her disappearance lies at the Pera Palace Hotel. The real key was found under the boards of her room … 411.
It just is in this room Agata wrote one of the most famous crime novels, Murder in the Orient Express“, Published in 1934. This world-famous novel presents Belgian detective Hercule Poar solving the murder during the famous route, while the Orient Express stopped in the dark because of the deep snow!
Today is room 411 one of the most popular rooms in the hotel, and she is almost always busy. The door sign reads: “Agatha Christie, a thriller writer, was in this room.”
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