Part of Erdogan's renovation scheme for Taksim Square and Gezi Park involves funneling traffic underground. Taksim is a major transportation hub. The artery boulevards of Cumhuriyet (from the north) and Taralbasi (from the south) lie along the west side of Taksim/Gezi. Here these boulevards are being refashioned into tunnels -- a massive change of their character. Cumhuriyet and Tarlabasi historically comprise the route for protest marches (I participated in the huge one after Hrant Dink's murder).
Here's a lyrical government video of what the renovation will look like.
The tunnel work is well more than half done.
Then Occupy Gezi happened.
The partially finished tunnels now stand open, theoretically, to anyone who cares to enter. But they have a forbidding look. I'd never seen anyone down there this whole epic week. On Friday, I saw two girls doing down. I decided to follow.
Inside, the girls were no where to be seen. Ghostly lurers? I edged on, alone for long minutes. The spectacle was vast, spooky... as they used to say, dread-provoking. A post-apocalyptic subterranean cityscape... a sci-fi movie set ominously, silently abandoned... an industrial ruin of shadows and monsters.
And I was wearing only flip flops. So there was a fear of rats...
Here are some photos of my unauthorized visit...