14 April 2013

"James Bond" Bridge

The Varda Köprüsü bridge stretches over the Karaisali Canyon in southern Turkey. It is a relatively easy drive using a GPS.  Along the drive to the canyon, the green farm fields are a refreshing sight, especially when you're used to the dry Adana area. The contrast of the green lush landscape and higher elevation makes this day trip feel like a lovely Sunday drive in the country. The bridge is known locally as "the German Bridge" because it was designed and constructed by Imperial German engineers as part of the Baghdad Railway in 1903.  Recently, the bridge appeared in the movie Skyfall, lending it the moniker, the "James Bond" Bridge.

Entrance Fee - None
Getting There - About 90 Minutes from Incirlik
37° 14' 39.36" N 34° 58' 40.42" E
Difficulty - Easy walking along the bridge area and canyon.

"The building of the viaduct was coupled with the construction of the Ottoman-German project of Istanbul-Baghdad railway line to connect Berlin with Basra, then part of the Ottoman Empire, to enable direct supply of oil to German industry," according to the Wikipedia website.

"In 1903, the construction work force, consisting of German technical staff and thousands of multi-national workers, settled in a camp newly established in Belemedik, where all necessary facilities such as hospital, church, school, movie theatre and even mosque were built. Main materials such as steel and cement were shipped to Mersin by sea, and transported further via Tarsus to the construction site on camelback. 

Before the construction of the actual viaduct began, a temporary viaduct with a narrow gauge railway on it was built over the canyon close to the projected viaduct to bring all the necessary material to the other side. Following the completion of the Varda Viaduct, the auxiliary viaduct was taken out of service, however, its pillars are still existing. The railway on the viaduct went into service in 1916" and is still being used today. Wait long enough at the bridge and you may see a train pass.

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