135 years ago the first “Orient Express” train left Vienna for Istanbul – europeantimes.news

In 1887 the first Orient Express train to Istanbul left Vienna. In fact, his very first ride on the legendary train was on October 4, 1883. A test train called the “Luxury Lightning Train” ran the Paris – Vienna – Paris route in early October 1882. The first menu on board included oysters, Italian pasta soup, turbot with green sauce, huntsman chicken, beef tenderloin with potatoes, green salad, chocolate pudding and other desserts.

The wagons are painted blue and gold, the train runs twice a week between Paris and Istanbul via Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest and Bucharest. The train is not direct. It stops at Giurgievo (in Romania), crosses the Danube on the Ruse ferry, and then another train runs the route between Ruse and Varna, a port on the Bulgarian Black Sea. From there, an Austrian steamer takes passengers to Istanbul. In 1885 the daily service from Paris to Vienna and back was started.

In the summer of 1889, the railway line to the Turkish capital was completed and the train ran directly from Bucharest to Istanbul. It is a curious fact that in 1894 the company that developed the train opened several luxury hotels for its passengers in Istanbul. One of these hotels is the Pera Palace Hotel in the Beyoglu district. The hotel has received many famous guests since 1892, including high-ranking statesmen and artists. Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, Greta Garbo, Kemal Ataturk, Alfred Hitchcock, Honore de Balzac, Mata Hari, Nikita Khrushchev and Queen Elizabeth II are some of the hotel’s famous guests.

After several route changes, two wars and a loss of prestige during the Cold War era, the train’s regular service to Istanbul and Athens was discontinued in 1977. The train ceased regular service but still survives as a seasonal tourist attraction.

Photo by Juliia Abramova: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-a-summer-dress-standing-on-the-side-of-a-train-and-waving-13338033/

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