Destinations Magazine

Turkey’s Infrastructure: The Sultan’s Dream

By Stizzard

ABDUL MEJID I, the Ottoman’s 31st sultan, had a dream. Reigning between 1839 and 1861, the determinedly Western-leaning sultan envisaged the construction of a submerged tunnel under the Bosphorus Straits connecting Asia to Europe. A French architect duly came up with a blueprint. But a dearth of technology and cash stood in the way.The sultan’s dream is now coming true, 150 years later. The world’s first sea tunnel linking two continents will be inaugurated on October 29th, marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of Ataturk’s Republic. Stretching over 76km (47 miles), and with 1.4km of it laid at the bottom of the sea, the $ 3 billion “Marmaray” rail system will “eventually link London to Beijing, creating unimagined global connections” boasts Mustafa Kara, mayor of Istanbul’s Uskudar district, where the tunnel comes out.Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, initiated the scheme in 2004 in his Justice and Development (AK) party’s first term in power. By 2025 over a million commuters are expected to use what even AK’s critics concede is an engineering marvel, thinning the nightmarish traffic that plagues this city of 14m people.

Turkey’s infrastructure: The sultan’s dream

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