The legendary Pashabahçe ferry, built in 1952, made its first trip across the Bosphorus last weekend after a 2-year restoration.
The naval vessel, which was originally built as a warship and later converted into a ferry plying the Bosphorus, has been fully restored by a major Istanbul municipality. It will now once again operate a regular urban marine transport service to the Princes’ Islands.
At the ceremony held at the Halic Shipyard, on the Golden Horn, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition force, the Republican People’s Party (RPP), Kemal Kulçdaroğlu, said: “It is extraordinary to relive history. It is this kind of history that gives cities their character. If the rulers alienate themselves from the city they live in, they also forget history.”
The opposition expressed great thanks to the head of Cityline’s ferry services in Istanbul, Sinem Dedetaş.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu expressed his gratitude to everyone who contributed to the reconstruction of the Pashabahçe ferry. He shared the many problems he faced: “I would like to thank my friends who have taken firm steps to increase the share of marine public transport in our city after years. I am happy that the Pashabahce ferry will embark on this beautiful journey where we will experience many good days, many good news, many special celebrations and many special moments in the upcoming 100th anniversary of our republic next year. In our institution, we have adopted the basic philosophy and principle which is part of our understanding, which is transparency, accountability, saving and using every penny of this country and this nation in the most proper way, never giving an opportunity to wasters. As a leadership, we are confidently on our way.”
The Pashabahçe ferry was built in 1952 in Taranto, southern Italy, as a warship and later converted into a ferry for the Turkish metropolis, used primarily for Bosphorus transport lines.
For 58 years, the iconic ship sailed between both sides of the Bosphorus, including the Princes’ Islands, but in 2010 Pashabahçe was retired.
In 2017, journalist Adil Bali visited the ship and decided that after more than half a century of service, retirement was not a fitting fate for the iconic vessel.
The journalist shared that when he first saw the disused ferry, he felt sorrow in his heart. It was covered everywhere with grass and moss and everything was dilapidated.
He inspired the reconstruction by posting a petition on change.org calling for the ferry to be saved. About 6,500 people signed up in support.