Published: 05th June 2021
#ThrowbackToday: Opulence, thy name is Orient Express, which started running 138 years ago today
In today's #TBT, we talk about the glamorous Orient Express and why it attracted attention from the who's who of the world. Here's what made it a hit with the royalty too. Let's join in on the ride
Luxury is the best word to describe Orient Express. Plush rugs and plusher drapes, sleeping facilities (a novelty back then), a restaurant and most importantly, gleaming wooden surfaces — this train which ran from Paris to Istanbul (back then called Constantinople) was the very definition of glamorous. Since its launch on June 5, 1883 it has attracted the crème de la crème of the society. Like who, you ask? Ferdinand of Bulgaria, Belgium's King Leopold II, Czar Nicholas II, French President Paul Deschanel and several others.
Running for 2,740 km in about 76 hours, it was entrepreneur Georges Nagelmackers's vision that made the Orient Express, which halted at certain stops like Munich, Vienna and Budapest, a reality. He borrowed from the revolutionary ideas of the West to build it. Eventually, the train went on to make its own space in literature as well, like in Dracula by Bram Stoker and Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. And this helped the train capture the imagination of the world. It was also dubbed the Spies’ Express for ferrying several spies across borders.
The operation of the Orient Express were paused due to World War I and II and in 1977, it ran its last trip. Must have been a dream to travel on.