Turkey's most populous city, Istanbul, is mesmerizing with rich cultural, historical, and modern structures, joyful day and nightlife, and picturesque views. Many foreign and local tourists visit Istanbul every time of the year. As this is a massive city with a huge population, employing a functional and prominent local transportation service is inevitable. Marmaray is one of those services that you may use while you discover Istanbul.  Istanbul is a transcontinental city located in Northwest turkey, along the Marmara coast. Many different means of transportation connect the European and Asian sides of Istanbul. You can easily visit the must-see tourist attractions of Istanbul by using public transportation only. In this article, we will explain one of the public transportation services, Marmaray. 

History Of Marmaray

Marmaray is the modern, high-capacity railway system that connects two sides of Istanbul, the European and Asian sides, together with one vehicle, without any transfer or interruption. Marmaray, which has a 76.6 km long railway line and 43 stations, is a project to provide rail transportation through the sinking tube tunnel built under the sea in the Bosphorus of Istanbul. The idea of building a railway tunnel under the Bosphorus of Istanbul to travel between two continents was first put forward in 1860.

However, it was impossible to make such a detailed project with the technology of that time. This project was evaluated from a more advanced perspective in the following 20-30 years. Still, it was always at the idea stage. Then, with technological developments and issues related to the increasing population of Istanbul and traffic jams, this project was brought out of mothballs and re-evaluated. Marmaray, started its service for public use upon its construction on March 12, 2019, is one of the most preferred public vehicles in Istanbul, with an average of 136,000 daily passengers.

Things to Know about Marmaray

Marmaray has 43 stops between Gebze and Halkalı. Adult fare is calculated upon the number of stops between the stations you travel to. The adult tariff is 4.03 Turkish Lira for 1-7 stops and 8.91 Turkish Lira for 36-43 stops. If you have traveled less or more than the specified number of stops (e.g., five stops), you can refund the fee charged to the vending machines at the stations. To use Marmaray, you need to have Istanbulkart. You can get the Istanbulkart from offices or ticket machines (Biletmatik) throughout Istanbul. The Istanbukart fee is 13 Turkish Lira.

Marmaray runs every 15 minutes between Gebze and Halkalı stations and every 8 minutes between Ataköy and Pendik stations. The average travel time between Gebze Halkalı stations is 108 minutes. On Marmaray, there are 287 daily trips including 148 trips between Gebze and Halkalı stations and 139 trips between Pendik Ataköy stations. The first trip from Gebze to Halkalı direction is at 06.05, and the last trip is at 22.50. In contrast, the first trip from the Halkalı to Gebze direction is at 05:58, and the last trip is at 22:58 local time in Turkey.

Tourist Attractions You Can Visit By Using Marmaray

There are many historical, touristic, and natural attractions within walking distance from Marmaray stations that you can visit. We will give you brief information about these places that must be on your things-to-do list while discovering Istanbul.

You can reach many historical and tourist places in Istanbul by walking from Marmaray Sirkeci Station, which is within walking distance of the Historical Sirkeci Railway Station. Historical Sirkeci Railway Station is a global stop for hosting passengers of Oriental Railway with its Orientalist architecture building designed by German architect August Jachmund, which was opened for public use during the reign of Sultan 2. Abdulhamid.

Topkapi Palace, which was built with the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmed in 1478, was many Ottoman sultan's residences and was used as the administrative center of the empire for 400 years during the Ottoman Empire era. Nowadays, the palace is used as a museum and welcomes history lovers from all over the world every year.

Another tourist attraction within walking distance of Marmaray Sirkeci Station is the Süleymaniye Mosque. Renowned Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan built the Süleymaniye Mosque between 1551 and 1557, on behalf of Suleyman the Magnificent as a part of the Suleymaniye Complex. The Suleymaniye Mosque, one of the most important examples of classical Ottoman architecture, is one of the places that you should visit while you're discovering Istanbul.

The Basilica Cistern, also popularly known as the Yerebatan Sarnıcı, was a cistern built by the Byzantine Emperor Basil I Decadent. It is a magnificent building consisting of marble columns rising from the water. The Cistern is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Istanbul thanks to its breathtaking appearance and because Dan Brown mentioned it in one of his bestseller novels Inferno. You can reach the Basilica Cistern by walking from Marmaray Sirkeci Station.

Bagdat Street, one of the first places that come to mind when it comes to shopping and entertainment in Istanbul, is an outdoor shopping center with many world-famous stores. You can easily reach Bagdat Street by walking from Suadiye Marmaray Station.

Frequently Asked Question

What is Marmaray?
Marmaray is an underground transportation unit that goes a long way, from the European side to Asian side in Istanbul.
How to use Marmaray in Istanbul?
In order to use Marmaray, you need to own an Istanbulkart and load cash into it from a mini bank.
How many stops are there in Marmaray?
There are currently 49 stops in Marmaray, which goes all around the city.
Do I need an Istanbulkart to use Marmaray?
Yes, you cannot ride the marmaray with cash.
Is Topkapi Palace close to Marmaray?
Yes, Topkapi is among the tourist attractions that are close to Marmaray. Others are Basilica Cistern, Suleymaniye Mosque and Bagdat Street.