Saturday, March 31, 2012

1912-1915 Taurus Mts. & Adana [Construction of the Berlin to Baghdad Railway]

1912-1915 Taurus Mts. & Adana [Construction of the Berlin to Baghdad Railway] Built from 1903 to 1940. Researched for “From Aghin” the Sakaian Saga. Railroad was planned to connect Berlin with the (then) Ottoman Empire city of Bagdad with a 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) line through modern-day Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

The railroad became a source of international disputes during the years immediately preceding World War I. Technical difficulties in the remote Taurus Mountains and diplomatic delays meant that by 1915 the railway was still 480 kilometres (300 mi) short of completion. Construction resumed in the 1930s and was completed in 1940.

By 1915 the railway ended some 50 miles east of Diyarbakır. Another spur, heading east from Aleppo, ended at Nusaybin. Additionally some rail was laid starting in Baghdad reaching north to Tikrit and south to Kut. This left a gap of some 300 miles between the railroad lines. Additionally, there were three mountains which the railroad was going to go through, but the tunnels through these three mountains were not complete. So the railroad was, in fact, broken into four different sections at the start of the war. The total time to get from Istanbul to Baghdad during the war was 22 days.[24] The total distance was 1,255 miles (2019 km).

The railway passed through the following towns and places, in the order given, north to south: Konya, Anatolian table lands, Karaman, Ereğli, the foothills of Taurus, Gülek Pass, Çukurova plain, Adana, Yenice, Amanus range, Aleppo, Nusaybin, Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra.

GERMAN ENGINEERS AND GERMAN CAPITAL were largely responsible for the construction of the railway to Baghdad. The section through the Taurus Mountains was completed during the war of 1914-1918. The original idea was to penetrate the range by one tunnel, but a series of twelve tunnels and bridges had to be built. The concrete bridges have a total length of 362 yards, and the tunnels a total length of 7 miles 580 yards. Above is a viaduct between two tunnel mouths.

BRIDGING A GORGE in the Taurus Mountains. During the war of 1914-18 the Baghdad Railway became of strategic importance, and, to speed up construction, narrow-gauge lines were first laid. The alteration of the Taurus line to standard gauge did not take place until October, 1918. The above photograph was taken during the early days of the enterprise. After the Armistice with Turkey the line passed temporarily under British control and the work was continued. 

A TUNNEL MOUTH IN THE TAURUS MOUNTAINS. Boring had to be carried out mostly through limestone rock. Tunnels were lined only in the sections which required strengthening ; but in the majority of places no lining was necessary, as the rock was sufficiently hard and solid.

GREAT DIFFICULTIES were experienced by the railway engineers in driving a way through the Amanus Mountains; fourteen tunnels had to be bored. This section is between the stations of Adana and Aleppo.

ADANA STATION. Adana is a busy commercial centre on the banks of the River Sheihun, and here the "Taurus Express" leaves the territory of the Turkish State Railways to enter Syria on the lines of a French company. The French railway is used as far as Aleppo.

THE WORKSHOPS AT BELEMEDIK erected for the building of the Baghdad Railway. The Taurus Mountains can be seen towering up in the background. For the task of surveying alone fourteen miles of road had to be laid and several thousand men were employed.

THE RIVER EUPHRATES, of historic renown, is crossed by a steel girder bridge of ten spans, each ot 263 ft. The bridge, over which passes the "Taurus Express," rests on masonry piers built on oak piles that were driven down by special steel sheet cofferdams to a depth of over 30 ft. below the river bed. The bridge is near the station of Jerablus.

GERMAN-BUILT LOCOMOTIVE of the type used to haul the "Taurus Express" between Haydarpasa and Adana, on the Turkish State Railways. The Turkish lines have some 550 locomotives in operation, and large numbers of these are of German manufacture.

The archive photo of one the way Germans assisted Turkey during WWI. The vast empty spaces that comprised the Ottoman Empire made the aircraft an invaluable reconnaissance tool. This aircraft has been transported to Turkey along the famous Berlin to Bagdad railway and is being unloaded for reassembly. Germany thus gave Turkey the power to tie down hundreds of thousands of Allied troops.

Ancient city of the Caliphs now in British hands. British troops entering Bagdad after their victorious Mesopotamian campaign and shattering the German dream of the "Berlin-to-Bagdad" railway and domination of the east.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Friends of Armenia, Boston, Massachusetts USA 1894

On November 26, 1894 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall, the first major American protest meeting regarding the issue took place on the victimization of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Co-founders included Alice Stone Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe and Moses H. Gulesian

Alice Stone Blackwell

Julia Ward Howe 
Moses H. Gulesian.

Armenia College: Renamed Euphrates College 1852-1915

The American Board of Foreign Missions established 1852 a theological seminary in Harput to educate clergymen for the Armenian Evangelical Church, and expanded it 1859 to "American Harput Missionary College". To meet the growing demand for general education in English language, the school's program was extended in 1878, and it was renamed "Armenia College". However, after 10 years, the Ottoman authorities urged to change the school's name, which became finally "Euphrates College". For the building of the college, $140,000 funds were raised from the US Government and $40,000 from the local people in 1875. The facilities at the college consisted of a hospital and an orphanage in addition to a theological seminary and high schools for boys and girls. In 1895,  Kurds looted and burned the Armenian villages on the Harput plain, and in the same month the town was attacked and eight of the twelve buildings on the campus were burned down. In 1915 several of the leading Armenian members of the faculty were arrested, tortured, and executed. The college buildings were then occupied by the Ottoman Military and initially used as training camp, and later as a military hospital. Euphrates College was officially closed shortly after the founding of the Republic of Turkey and nothing now remains of its buildings.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Photographs Sakaian Aghin Caravan Deportation Route June-Sept 1915 Aghin to Aleppo