Turkey's new tunnel links Europe and Asia

By Chris Irvine

The tunnel is part of a strategy to upgrade Turkey's infrastructure. Photo / AP
The tunnel is part of a strategy to upgrade Turkey's infrastructure. Photo / AP

Turkey opened the world's first rail tunnel between two continents yesterday, connecting Asia and Europe almost 60m below the Bosphorus.

Called the Marmaray, the 13km tunnel will carry commuters between Istanbul's European and Asian shores, eventually serving high-speed and freight trains.

"The Marmaray project unites ... the continents of the historic Silk Road," Binali Yildirim, the Transport Minister, said before the opening.

The $3.34 billion tunnel is one of Recep Tayip Erdogan's "mega projects", an unprecedented building spree designed to change the face of Turkey.

Construction of the tunnel, which began in 2004 on the European side, yielded a Byzantine port with more than 13 shipwrecks and thousands of other relics that date back as far as 8500 years. The find delayed the project.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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