TURKEY – Istanbul, Eminönü neighborhood & the Deutsche Orientbank // Skyfall (2012)
Istanbul is famous for the touristic area of Sultanahmet and the lively neighborhood Beyoğlu. But it is another area in between the two, that catches most of the city’s pulse: Check out buzzling Eminönü!
Why Bond was here
In the opening scene of Skyfall, 007 (Daniel Craig) chases Patrice (Ola Rapace), grim villain, who’d stolen a flash drive with the names of all MI6 and NATO agents being undercover in terrorist organizations. The movie starts at the old headquarter of the “Deutsche Orientbank”, a late 19th century office of the German foreign bank branch in Turkey. All Bond finds, is a dead agent and a broken computer – the flash drive is missing. When Bond rushes out of the Orientbank building, he just sees Patrice on the run. A game of cat-and-mouse between the narrow alley of Eminönüs spice market and later on the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul begins.
How you gonna get there
Eminönü is situated south of Galata bridge, which was featured for some celluloid seconds in From Russia With Love, when Bond girl Tatiana (Daniela Bianchi) crossed it. Back then, the film crew had there troubles with lots of spectators following every move of Bianchi. The bridge connects Istanbul’s old city with the newer and fancier parts of Beşiktaş and Beyoğlu. Being right next to touristic Sultanahmet and the Grand Bazaar and being one of the biggest ferry hubs of the town, Eminönü isn’t a place to miss.
Closest tram station is Eminönü just behind the beautiful Yeni mosque. Other close tram stations are Sirkeci to the East or Karaköy on the other site of Galata bridge. All three stations are connected to the T1 tram line.
The colonial building of the Deutsche Orientbank is on the tip of Sultan Hamamı street where it meets with the Vakıf Hanı alley. One can’t miss it’s “flatironaly” appearance at the corner and the golden art nouveau letters reading “Deutsche Orientbank” above the entry.
Following Vakıf Hanı alley some meters to the west is the entry to Istanbul’s spice market. Here, but mainly on the open square between the market and the Yeni mosque in the north, the action scenes with Bond and Patrice had been staged. For the filming, the production team really prepped up Eminönü. Though already quite packed with donkey carts, little kiosks and street vendors, the team cramped the streets with even more stalls. Also a replica of an old Ottoman fountain had been set up.
Good to know
Best time to visit Eminönü is in the morning hours, when the vendors are most diligent. A good opportunity to start the day is with an authentic Turkish breakfast at Café Bab-ı Ali. The little deli is vis-a-vis to the Orientbank on Hobyar street. Look out for fresh brewed black kahve and some wrapped börek or sesame bagels.
To feel Istanbul’s rhythm, stroll along Galata bridge. Ferries are rushing along the Golden Horn or onto the Asian side to reach Üsküdar. Fishermen try their luck with long rods dipped into the sea, little anchovies tremble in the baskets to their feet.
Then head back towards Yeni mosque and the adjoining spice market. Saffron, peppers or figs can be bought on the stores along Hasırcılar street and in the covered road of Çiçek Pazarı. To get on from the spice market to the Grand Bazaar, that offers clothes, silver ware and even more spices, take an uphill road in south direction. Coming from Çakmakçılar street and then Tığcılar directly leads to the Bazaars northern entry at Zincirli Han – that had it’s Bond debut in From Russia With Love.
Tough the early mornings at Eminönü are the best, a comeback at night has it’s charme, too. Both Yeni mosque and the mosques of Rüstem Paşa and Suleymaniye look fascinating from the Galata bridge, when illuminated. And underneath the bridge, just on sea level, a line-up of elegant restaurants await.
© 2015 Huntingbond (1,3,4,5), © 2012 Danjaq, LLC, United Artists Corporation and Columbia Pictures Industries. Inc. (2)