|Location:||The Tünel, Istanbul.|
Eugene-Henri Gavand (1876):
Chemin de fer métropolitain de Constantinople,
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1867||Eugene-Henri Gavand, a French engineer, has the idea to construct an underground funicular.|
|1869||Sultan Abdülaziz, the Ottoman Emperor, gives Eugene-Henri Gavand the concession to construct the underground funicular.|
|08-MAY-1871||"The Metropolitan Railway of Constantinople from Galata to Pera" is founded .|
|18-JAN-1875||Tünel inaugurated and opened to the public.|
|1971||steam powered train abandoned and replace by a modern subway train which is electrically powered.|
The Tünel is the first connection between the districts of Galata and Péra. During the 19th century, when Istanbul was still called Constantinople, this were the most important centers of trade. Péra is part of the old city, with hotels and embassies, Galata was the place of the stock exchange and the customs. Péra is located on a plateau above the strait, Galata was the harbour on the shores close to the Golden Horn. The goods were landed and sold at Galata, which was the harbour of the city. But the merchants and workers had to walk uphill through narrow and steep lanes where they lived.
There was no chance to build a road as the gradient was around 24%. But finally in 1867, the French civil engineer Eugene-Henri Gavand had the idea to build an underground funicular. He obtained the concession from Sultan Abdülaziz, built the tunnel between 1871 and 1874 and finally it was inaugurated in January 1875. Now the two important district of the city were connected by public transport, which soon became very popular.
The horizontal length of the tunnel is 606.50m, the climbed height 61.55m, the average slope 0,1015 m. But the tunnel is not straight, it is parabolic, which means the slope is almost horizontal at the lower end and becomes steeper uphill. In the station of Galata the slope is only 0.01m, but it increases gradually to reach its maximum of 0.149m at the top. This was made to increase the thickness of the rock on top, between the buildings above and the tunnel. Also it helped the train to start by just releasing the brakes of the upper train.
The first funicular was steam powered.