This station was once the meeting point of several railroads coming from Anatolia. After the Marmaray Project – a new commuter rail mass-transit system in that tunnels under the Bosphorus strait and lines the Sea of Marmara, initiated in 2005 – it was understood that Haydarpasa main railroad station would lose its importance as a central train station. The Marmaray Project doesn’t include Haydarpasa.
The Turkish government prepared some transformation plans for Haydarpasa and its surrounding area, but did not consult the general public. The transformation project was initially designed to make Haydarpasa a World Trade Center – the Manhattan of Istanbul, marked by very tall buildings. The Urban Planners Chambers, NGOs, journalists, and experts criticized this plan when they learned about it. They claimed that it did not serve the public good, and would ruin Istanbul’s silhouette. The project was subsequently cancelled by Conservation Board of Cultural and Natural Assets. After the cancellation, the government developed a new transformation plan. It was Haydarpasa Venice Project. Urban Planners Chambers also criticized this plan because, though the buildings would be shorter, the project footprint would be much larger.
The Chair of Architects Chambers criticizing plans for Haydarpasa. This video is in Turkish.
Now a third project idea has been confirmed for Haydarpasa: Haydarpasa Port. This project includes religious features, tourism, guest accommodations and a cruise port. In order to implement this project, intercity trips (in January of 2013) and local trains (on June 19th of 2013) from Haydarpasa Gare were stopped. A group called Haydarpasa Solidarity gathers every Sunday in front of the building pictured above, on the stairs, to protest this Haydarpasa Port project.
Post and photos by Elif Yasemin Azaz.