TURKEY – Istanbul, Atatürk Airport // From Russia with Love (1963)
A trip to Istanbul’s biggest airport, Atatürk, soon will be nothing more than a trip into nostalgia. But it’s always good to touch down: the hub allows entry to one of world’s most vibrant cities!
Why Bond was here
Bond (Sean Connery) travels to Turkey to seduce Russian spy Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi), not knowing that she is a decoy set up by villainous organization Spectre. Right after he landed at Atatürk Airport, a dubios Cold War cat-and-mouse game unfolds: both the Russian secret service and Spectre henchman Red Grant (Robert Shaw) stick on 007’s heels, as he drives into Istanbul.
Atatürk Airport is situated some 20 kilometers west of the Istanbul city center in area Yeşilköy. A taxi ride takes around 30 minutes from touristic neighborhood Sultanahmet and costs up to 45 Turkish Lira. From Taksim square it’s ten Lira more. Traffic gets thicker in early morning hours.
Metro line M1a also serves the airport. Passengers can either chance at Zeytinburnu tram station to connect with downtown Sultanahmet, or change into metro line M1 at Yenikapı to connect with Beyoğlu and Taksim square. As Istanbul is a big funfair for the James Bond movieverse, the best place to stay is around Galata Tower in Beyoğlu or directly in Sultanahmet. Locations in From Russia With Love and Skyfall are based there and in neighboring Eminönü, while locations in The World Is Not Enough are based on the Asian shore of Istanbul – and thus can be best reached via ferry from Eminönü.
Good to know
Right now, Atatürk Airport is the biggest plane hub in Turkey, with more than 50 Million guest per year. But a new and bigger airport is under construction north of Istanbul, focusing to shoulder thrice as much visitors. It means a drift into nostalgia for the Atatürk, what is not a bad thing, as his appearance in From Russia With Love also deals with nostalgia.
Back in 1963, the airport was 39 years old and named Yeşilköy. In 1980 is was renamed after the Turkish nation founder Mustafa Kemal “Father of the Turks” Atatürk.
In 2001, a new international terminal was ready for business and transformed the old one into the new domestic terminal. So Bonds arrival from London had been staged in what serves now for the local flights only. But like its purpose the terminal also changed its appearance over the time – the old hall with the “Yeşilköy”-inscription isn’t there anymore.
We love Istanbul like Ian Fleming did: the city between Asia and Europe offers the best from both continents and seems always alive. Be it for thrilling night-outs or historic huntings, there is always something new to see. Come in early spring or in September for nice, ferry-boating weather.
© HuntingBond (1,3), © 1963 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation (2)