Istanbul Cable Car, Pierre Loti Hill & Turku Funicular, Kakolanmäki

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Istanbul Cable Car, Pierre Loti Hill & Turku Funicular, Kakolanmäki

In both cities of the seven hills, Istanbul and Turku, you will find one hill, the top of which you can reach using other methods than walking or driving by car. You can travel to Istanbul's Pierre Loti Hill (Pierre Loti Tepesi) by cable car and Turku's Kakolanmäki by funicular. Have you experienced either these means of transportation? And do you know the history of these hills? Do you know what you will find at the tops of these hills today?
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Istanbul Cable Car on the left and Turku Funicular on the right.

Istanbul Cable Car and Pierre Loti Hill (Pierre Loti Tepesi)

The Istanbul Cable Car (TF2 Eyüp – Piyerloti teleferik hattı) is located in the Eyüp area on the north-western shore of the Golden Horn on the European side. It is a two-station gondola-type elevator and runs between Eyüp-Piyer Loti (Pierre Loti Tepesi).

Eyüp Station

The cable car opened on November 30, 2005. It is a 384-meter-long line with a total of four cabins. Each cabin can accommodate eight passengers. One trip takes 2 minutes and 45 seconds. You can pay for the trip with the Istanbul Card (Istanbulkart). I recommend preparing for congestion. But even long queues are rewarded because the experience is unique in its beauty.

The view of Golden Horn from Pierre Loti Café

The cable car was built to provide local and foreign tourists with easy access to Pierre Loti Hill, while avoiding walking through the large Eyüp cemetery on the hillside. Pierre Loti Hill (100 meters high) is named after the French naval officer and author Pierre Loti (pseudonym of Julien Viaud 1850–1923).

Pierre Loti Café

The Ottoman culture and beauty of Istanbul fascinated Pierre Loti so much that he became a regular visitor to the city. He fell in love with an Ottoman lady and named one of his novels after his beloved: Aziyadé.

The historic Rabia Kadın Café (Rabia Kadın Kahvesi), at the top of the hill, where Pierre Loti used to drink Turkish coffee, was later named after him (Pierre Loti Kahvesi). The cable car takes you directly to the café’s terrace, where you can enjoy breathtakingly beautiful views over Istanbul. (Please note any changes to opening hours due to the pandemic.)

Turku Funicular and Kakolanmäki

A slope lift, the Kakola Funicular, was opened in Kakolanmäki, Turku, in May 2019. It is Finland’s first outdoor city lift and it was built on the southern slope of Kakolanmäki to carry passengers between Linnankatu and Kakola. The length of the track is 130 meters and the height difference between the lower and upper station is 30 meters. The ride can accommodate up to 30 people at a time. Travel time in one direction is about one minute and the trip is free.

Kakolanmäki Station

Kakolanmäki is a 42 meter high hill in the center of Turku. Until 2007, the hill housed Turun Keskusvankila or Kakola (which was a central prison) and Turun Lääninvankila (which served as a county jail). The old buildings of the prison are mainly from the second half of the 19th century. The granite main building, designed by Ernst Lohrmann, was built in eight years and was completed in 1853.

The prison moved out of Kakolanmäki in the autumn of 2007, when the hill and the prison properties located on it were released for use by the city. In recent years, apartments and commercial premises have been built there, both by renovating the historic buildings of the prison and by new construction. The National Board of Antiquities has defined Kakolanmäki as one of Finland’s nationally significant built cultural environments.

Hotel Kakola

My favorite place on Kakolanmäki is the former Lääninvankila (a county jail) now Hotel Kakola. It has, in my opinion, been restored to a beautiful and modern building, while preserving the finesse of history in style.

Hotel Kakola has 148 unique rooms. You can choose between a suite, a family room or even a room built into a former cell.

A particularly beautiful church hall is ideal for meetings, parties and dinners, a charming space with tall hand-painted windows. The church hall, as its name implies, also functions as a church to this day.

This private boutique hotel offers you both style and a warm atmosphere.

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