The acceleration of transport (67 hours and 35 minutes from Paris to Constantinople with the Orient-Express in 1889) led to a shortening of the stay, as traveling on the “railway palace” was just as important as the destination. While the average length of stay at the Ottoman capital was three months during Gérard de Nerval’s time, three days were now enough.
Adventures of all kinds, as well as the confined space of the cars thus inspire cartoonists, singers, and show organizers (including Oscar Sachs).
A suitable setting for romantic and detective stories, the Orient-Express stirs the imagination of many novelists and filmmakers, including Maurice Dekobra with La Madone des Sleepings (a bestseller that centers on the fashion of cosmopolitan snobbery in traveling aboard sleeping cars), the Agatha Christie mystery, Murder on the Orient Express, made into a feature film by Sidney Lumet, Graham Green with Stamboul Train, and Terrance Young with the second film of the consecutive James Bond adventures, From Russia with Love.
This blog post is compiled from the articles “Jean-Michel Belorgey – Istanbul by Train” and “Catherine Pinguet – Journey to Istanbul” in “Journey to the Center of the East 1850 – 1950” exhibition catalogue .
Journey to the Center of the East 1850-1950 100: Years of Travelers in İstanbul from Pierre de Gigord Collection can be seen free of admissions until October 17.