Teleferics in istanbul

Mar 12, 2022 | Turkey

What is a teleferic you ask? It’s the word used to describe short gondola-style chairlifts, not necessarily over your favorite ski run. Istanbul boasts two such experiences. They are both interesting in their own right and worth seeking out while you’re in this fabulous city.

Macka cablecar

Macka Teleferik

Or known to the locals as TF1, this chairlift has operated since 1993 and has come in handy for those commuting in the area without having to circumnavigate Macka Park. It rises in either Macka or Taskisla and runs continuously from 08.00 to 20.00, seven days a week.

When you have been wandering this fascinating city and wish to take a moment for yourself then this is perfect. It crosses Macka, or Demokrasi Park. From your gondola you can see families and people walking their dogs, picnics, individuals lazing on the grass reading a book. Just really peaceful. If you’re staying in either the Taksim area or over near the iconic Swiss Otel then this is a great diversion either way. You can also include in your wanderings. You can set off for Taksim, walk around the galleries and shops of Istiklal then head over to Nisantasi for its eclectic and diverse cafe culture then find your way to the teleferik station in Macka, take it across the park to Taskisla then fulfill your circular journey back to Taksim. It’s actually a really good way to take in more of the Taksim, Beyoglu, Besiktas, and the sea area once you’ve been to Galata etc.


But shhhhh! It’s our little secret. Not many tourists know of its existence and most will often leave the city without the experience. Teleferiks, or teleferics exist all over the world so if you are a fan of these then this is a great one to tick off your list.

pierre loti cable car


On the northern end of the Golden Horn, outside the old city walls, you will find a place steeped not only in history and folklore but also in mystery and even murder! In the 7th century, the Arabs laid siege to Constantinople. One of those Arabs was known as Ebu Eyyûb el-Ensar who was a companion of the Prophet Mohammad, his dying wish was to be buried on the outside of the city walls and became one of the city’s most popular cemeteries. The cemetery is filled with notable graves from throughout history.

It has a dark history as well,

A few times throughout the years the cemetery has also seen seedier times. At one time it was known for its drug use and prostitution. There were also some murders in the cemetery. One such murder was of a tourist enjoying Pierre Loti Cafe and was making her way back through the cemetery after dark who was robbed and murdered.

This bipolar existence was probably the inspiration behind building a teleferic chairlift that takes you over the cemetery to the Pierre Loti Cafe at the top.

pierre loti cafe

Pierre Loti and the cafe,

Pierre Loti was an eccentric French photographer, artist, and travel blogger from the late 19th century into the early 20th century. He was a prolific author and wrote often of the mysticism of the east and especially Ottoman life. He visited and lived in the city many times between 1876 and 1919. He died in 1923 in his house in France. He was eccentric, to say the least. He spent his time between his flat in Beyoglu and the cafe in Eyup overlooking the Golden Horn. He supported and defended Turks and Turkey at the expense of his own reputation in the West, he was a self-described Orientalist.

So, the teleferik, you can board it down by the Golden Horn at Pierre Loti Station and it takes around 3 minutes to ascend to the Eyup Station followed by a short walk to the Pierre Loti Cafe. These days there are a few options at the top. Pierre’s cafe, a nargile (waterpipe) cafe, one of Pierre’s favorite pastimes, and several food outlets. You can walk back downhill through the cemetery (recommended during daylight hours)

Both teleferic can be easily accessed and if you like one of our guides can take you and delight you with romantic stories of the east. For teleferic hobbyists these two urban chairlifts are a ‘must do’ while you’re in istanbul. You can combine either of them with further adventures, Macka with Besiktas or Taksim and Eyup with Balat and Fener, but that’s a story for another day.

Craig Roach – #GallipoliArtist

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