One of the most secret and least known locations in From Russia With Love is the long forgotten stone path that Tania walks up in her search for the office of Colonel Klebb, in the beginning of the film. Klebb has summoned Tania and she is on her way to the secret meeting after finishing her job at the Russian consulate. In the background you see the Şep Sefa Hatun Mosque, and right next to the minaret, is the Galata Tower visible in the far background.
This location, probably the most forgotten in Istanbul, can be found in the Zeyrek neighborhood of the Eminönü District on the peninsula that makes up the old Istanbul. One can imagine that this truly was the outskirts of the city at the time of filming in 1963. However, today this path is located in a rather busy part of Istanbul, right next to the large Atatürk Boulevard that runs straight across the Fatih district from the south bank of the Marmara sea up to the Golden Horn. But more exceptional about this location is that it is still there untouched. The stone wall has survived the otherwise extensive redevelopment.
“-Did you tell anyone at the consulate that you were coming here?”
Apart from the trees, not much have change A few meters up the stone paved path, Tania meets with a police officer. She asks him about the address to Klebb’s office. He points her towards a house down a small street. A few of the houses visible behind Tania and the policeman have disappeared but one of the big houses on the left side can be identified from the film.
The street to which the policeman points Tania is an alley located some ten meters up Tania’s path and even though the old stone paving has been changed it is still recognizable. This alley is the beginning of the bigger street Ibadethane Sokak which intersects with this small alleyway. Fortunately, the stone wall and the old houses seem to have been spared during the redevelopment of this area, but behind the stone wall, once part of a house, is some kind of vacant building lot. Hopefully, the exploitation of this lot will not mean the tearing down of the ruins.
The mosque, Şep Sefa Hatun Camii, seen in the background behind Tania was built in 1787. It is situated along Ataturk Boulevard. Its construction was commissioned by Şebsefa Hatun, a wife of Abdulhamid I (1725 -1789). She had it built in commemoration of her son. There is one existing picture of Tania, taken with another camera that shows a little more of the background and that makes this place easier to determine.
You will easiest get to the location if you walk down the Ataturk Boulevard in the northern direction. If starting in the Sültanahmet district, near the Hagia Sophia, you can take the tram along the Ordu Caddesi, to the Aksaray tram station, where Ordu intersects with Ataturk Boulevard. If walking down this large boulevard you will also, after a few hundred meteres, walk past the Valens Aqueduct, one of the most important landmarks of the city. Some three hundred meters after the aqueduct, you find Tania’s path on your left.
This Roman aqueduct which was the major water-providing system of Constantinople. It was completed by Roman Emperor Valens in the late 4th century AD. The aqueduct also provided water for the Basilica cistern, the location where Bond and Kerim Bey takes the boat to the Russian consulate.
|Ataturk Boulevard passes under the Valens Aqueduct’s arches|
At the time of filming of From Russia With Love, only 2 million people lived in Istanbul. Today, the city has over 14 million inhabitants, and is one of the sixth largest cities in the world. Naturally, the Valens Aqueduct and Tania’s path in her search for Klebb is a must see when in Istanbul.