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“a taste of the |Orient Express”
Review of Sirkeci Station

Sirkeci Station
Ranked #106 of 1,136 things to do in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: This train station in Istanbul was once the last stop of the famed Orient Express. Today, there is much less traffic but you can catch a train to other parts of Turkey or certain areas of Europe.
Reviewed March 15, 2014

Wonderful old station with remnants of the old Orient Express. Interesting architecture and rooms. Best way to be able to explore a little is to go to a Whirling Dervish performance

1  Thank yachtneutron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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67 - 71 of 265 reviews

Reviewed November 20, 2013 via mobile

That was a part of mass public transport system in European side of İstanbul.However due to extension and upgrading the old railway system as a part of Marmaray,it is very quiet now as all stopped for a period of 12-18 months fm now on,
Go inside the terminal,have some lunch at famous Gar Restaurant or visit the Museum.Recommended.

2  Thank junior1907
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2013

This is a lovely railway station to visit but we mainly went as we were told about the whirling dervish show. I couldn't say how much I would advise avoiding it. Located in a waiting room at the side of the station, everyone is sat in uncomfortable plastic chairs in a big circle. The acoustics were awful just about as bad as the musicians and singers. The dancers were competent but not really impressive. Nothing is explained to you, the start time was delayed until 'they had enough people in' and the price was ridiculous. We said we weren't paying the entry cost so they dropped it to child prices. When we refused that they gave us half price. We still shouldn't have bothered.

2  Thank DaveJH79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2013

Good to see the start / end of the Orient Express.
We got to see the station managers office which was recently renovated and very beautiful.
Peaceful with an air of history.
Toilets were available.

Thank Vacati0ntraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 11, 2013

I'd been looking forward to visiting Sirkeci Station, the famed terminus of the Orient Express, for years. I wanted to see the station's faded glory, soak up the ambience, and muse over the heyday of luxury travel, when varied and colorful characters--from Mata Hari to Churchill to Hemingway to the Rolling Stones--crossed these storied platforms. As a writer and photographer, Sirkeci Station would be a dream visit for me, and my plan was to take some photographs and notes for a travel piece I'd been asked to write for an online travel magazine, to which I contribute regularly.

I wasn't disappointed with the station itself: Though the main entrance is partially under scaffolding at the moment, the architectural detail of the rest of this beautiful, blush-pink building is still visible; the many stained glass windows, arched doorways, and scroll work of the Orientalist design evident and quite striking. In fact, enough of the richness still exists that one can squint the eyes, and find themselves transported to other eras, to the busy and exciting past of this exotic station. It's downright lovely.

What I didn't love, however, was the experience my husband and I had in the restaurant. When we entered, there wasn't one customer inside, and only two people at a table out on the platform. The restaurant itself is beautiful--framed photographs of Agatha Christie and scenes from the film version of Murder on the Orient Express line the rich, mustard-colored walls, and the rooms glow with light streaming in through the stained glass windows--it's truly a gorgeous space. There were even postcards available, all copies of vintage travel posters, and I bought some. I figured that this officially made me a customer, and my husband and I walked about, admiring the rooms, and taking photographs (and since there were no customers, we weren't disturbing anyone). As we were discussing going out to the platform section of the restaurant, of ordering some drinks, of lingering awhile and enjoying the atmosphere, we were approached by either a manager or owner, who glared at us, and looked us up and down with disgust, as if we were dog excrement he'd accidentally stepped upon in the street. I'm not sure if his judgmental, pinched face was because I have tattoos, or because my husband was wearing shorts and sandals in the brutal summer heat, or just because of the mere fact that we were "tourists" (*sniff). At any rate, we WERE paying customers. We felt so unwelcome, however, that we began moving toward the open front door, with this jerk hot on our heels, and he swiftly closed the door the second we stepped out. Wow. "And don't let the door hit you on the butt on the way out", huh?

You'd think that, with an empty, open restaurant, business would be welcome in Sirkeci Station's Orient Express Restaurant. Apparently, that's not the case. It's unfortunate, as without this incident, my visit to the station would've been one of the highlights of my trip to Istanbul, and I would've written a glowing review and wonderful travel piece as a result, which in turn would've been viewed by many travelers and potential visitors/customers. I must say that, as a seasoned world traveler, I've never experienced such snobbery at the hands of someone in the industry. Perhaps this manager needs a reality check--these aren’t the days of luxury train travel anymore, with de rigueur dress codes, porters, Louis Vuitton steamer trunks, diamonds and furs—to survive as a business, you’re going to need to be a bit more welcoming and less judgmental toward your customers. Otherwise, those thousands of people I saw wandering the streets and marching just past your doors will keep walking, and your business will continue to suffer a slow and painful death, regardless of any historical connections. Remember, also, that with the internet in full swing these days, you’ll find that word gets out quickly, whether positive or negative (*grin).

Again, how unfortunate, as without this incident, I would've given a better rating to Sirkeci Station as a whole. My advice is to see the station, and skip the restaurant (unless, of course, you enjoy paying for a haughty attitude and bad treatment).

4  Thank Lauren T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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