Dolmabahçe, Fenerbahçe and Paşabahçe are the ferryboats, which are among the indispensable symbols of Istanbul and form a class of ferries called the “Garden Class”, named after the districts of Istanbul. Fenerbahçe, one of the three ferryboats that have been serving in the waters of the Marmara Sea for many years, is waiting for its visitors in Rahmi M. Koç Museum; and Paşabahçe is scheduled to meet the Bosphorus again.
The ferryboats that connect the two sides of the city and are used by thousands of people are among the means of public transportation that allow you to see the silhouettes of Istanbul such as the Maiden's Tower, Galata Tower, the palaces and bridges as well as to breathe the Bosphorus air.
We can track the history of ferryboats back to 1851 when Şirket-i Hayriye was founded by the initiatives of Cevdet Pasha and Fuat Pasha. One of the objectives of establishment of Şirket-i Hayriye, the first joint stock company established in the Ottoman Empire, was to offer transportation by steamships between Istanbul and Boğaziçi piers, which offered a more comfortable and safer journey than the rowing boats.
The ferryboat transportation on the waters of Istanbul were combined under one roof when Haliç Vapurları Şirketi, which operated ferryboats in the Golden Horn line since 1858, and Şirketi Hayriye which was established in 1851 were expropriated in 1941 and 1945, respectively, and all their rights were transferred to the City Lines.
The expropriated Şirket-i Hayriye rendered passenger transportation services between Istanbul and the Bosphorus with steam ships. The new passenger ferryboats built in the Netherlands in three parties joined the enterprise that decided to renew its fleet after the Second World War and was renamed the City Lines Enterprise in early 1950s.
Sinem Dedetaş, General Director of City Lines who stated that ferryboats of Istanbul are means of public transport that are integrated not only with the city but also its citizens said change and transformation occur very rapidly in every area of life and today a ferry journey is one of the rare pleasure that never change.
“Gardens" of the Bosphorus
Paşabahçe, Dolmabahçe and Fenerbahçe, which end up with word "bahçe’ meaning garden are among the symbolic ships of Istanbul in passenger transport and are named after three districts of Istanbul. These there ferryboats that are named as the "Garden Class" and larger and more spectacular than the other ships operated in Istanbul waters on the Islands line and the Yalova line; and became the favorite of passengers for long years. Of these three ferryboats that have witnessed the recent history of maritime transport in Istanbul, only Paşabahçe and Fenerbahçe have survived today.
Paşabahçe ferryboat, which was built in Toronto, Italy, entered into service in 1952. Paşabahçe, which is capable of speeding 18 miles per hour, carried passengers in the waters of Istanbul on the Islands and Yalova lines during her 55 years of service. Paşabahçe, which carried almost two generations, retired in early 2010. The historical Paşabahçe ferryboat is scheduled to sail on the waters of the Bosphorus again.
Dedetaş who stated that they have been endeavoring to put the Paşabahçe ferryboat, a symbol ship of the City Lines into the service of Istanbul again said, "The ship, which is planned to be used for cultural purposes when it was donated to the Municipality as a gift, needs to be renewed completely due to the corrosion it suffers. The return of the Paşabahçe ferryboat, which has witnessed our recent maritime history, back to the waters of the Bosphorus will make us and Istanbul both happy.”
Twins of the City Lines: Dolmabahçe and Fenerbahçe
Dolmabahçe ferryboat, which served between the Galata Bridge, the Prince Islands and Yalova, was built in 1952 in Glasgow, Scotland at the dockyard of William Denny & Brothers Dumbarton. Dolmabahçe ferryboat, which was put into service on April 2, 1953, had 2 Sulzer diesel engines, each with 1,500 horsepower, capable of sailing 18 miles per hour. Dolmabahçe ferryboat was out of service in 1993 due to a crack in the engine body; then dismantled in Aliağa.
Fenerbahçe ferryboat which is the oldest ferry operating in the waters of Istanbul after Paşabahçe is the twin of the Dolmabahçe ferryboat. Fenerbahçe that made its first trip on May 14, 1953, served for many years between Sirkeci-Islands-Yalova-Çınarcık; and on December 22, 2008 she made her last trip called the "Farewell Tour “.
The Fenerbahçe ferryboat, which was given to the Rahmi M. Koç Museum in 2009 for a definite period was opened to visitors as a museum ferryboat. The Fenerbahçe ferryboat that hosts the Yalvaç Ural Toy Collection is also home to temporary exhibitions and educational activities of the museum.
* Photographs were taken from Eser Tütel and Orhan Kızıldemir’s archive.
Rahmi M. Koç Museum, http://www.rmk-museum.org.tr/istanbul/koleksiyon/fenerbahce-vapuru
İDO İstanbul Deniz Otobüsleri Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş.- Murat Korutürk- December 2008- İstanbul