Haydar pasa is Turkey's largest and most magnificent railway station which was built in the early 20th century by the German architects
Otto Ritter and Helmuth Cuno. A monument to the close Turkish - German
relations of the time, the station is in neo-renaissance style and has
a U-plan. The inauguration ceremony took place on 19 August 1908, just
after the proclamation of the Second Constitution.
The façade is covered in textured sandstone, and the main façade overlooking Kadiköy Bay rests on a foundation of 1100 timber piles. The steep pitched
roof is slated, and the interior is decorated with trailing foliage cartouches
and garlands, and stained glass window. The ceiling of the circular room
at the base of the southeast tower has ribbed vaults, and the upper landings
have groin vaults. Flights of marble steps lead up from the quay to the
monumental façade flanked by circular turrets with conical roofs, clock
tower rising in the form of a crest at the center, baroque decoration,
balconies, molded cornices, and pilasters.
This fantastic station building welcomes those arriving in Istanbul from Anatolia by train, and is the last sight
of this enchanting city for those leaving. Since
1908 Haydarpasa Station has witnessed many memorable events, both tragic
and joyful. During World War I troops boarded trains for the front from
here, many never to return, and in 1917 it was badly damaged in a bomb
attack. Crowds welcomed Mustafa Kemal Atatürk here on many occasions when he arrived from Ankara.
Once upon a time, passengers of the Orient Express arriving at Istanbul from Europe
and those who wanted to continue towards Baghdad, had to take a boat across the Bosphorus and board the train from Haydarpasa station.
With the increase in road transport and air travel, Haydarpasa Station has lost its former importance but it is still a landmark on the Asian side of the city, together with the nearby Selimiye Barracks (of Florence Nightingale fame) and Haydarpasa Medical School.
Important note: The train station is not operating anymore due to the renovation of railroad tracks. There are plans to convert it into a hotel or some other venue.