An ordinary day

– Almost all of them are in the site working busily in noisy, perhaps disturbing environment.

– They are used to that condition.

– Perhaps, also, my notion of disturbance is strange to them. I mean…they would be disturbed if I were to tell to them that ‘it is disturbing, isn’t it?’

– In other words, that is the way in which they earn their life.

– I have never been fully into that milieu.

– I resisted being a part of.

– In contrast, it is all quite in the camp.

– There is dead silence in the guest room where I always do my work.

– I continue doing translation of Cyanide Procedures of ICMI for the Gedabey Mine.

– I better take a break.

– Looking out through the door, I see no movement. People rarely walk in corridor afternoon.

– Looking out through the window, I see nice weather: partly cloudy, moderate sunshine, summer breeze blowing.

– Looking in through the Windows, I see the shadow of the bridge.

– This is so-called ‘bloody bridge’ in Duzyurd village.

– Ohh look here, another one.

– Wait a minute…these two are connected. Unidentified path leads one to another.

– I trace the path. It tracks me all the way to Galakent.

– I trace it backward. It tracks me to Gedabey mine.

– I trace it more. It takes me 130 years back in time.

Afterwards

There is also a railway carried over a lofty viaduct, connecting the branch smelting establishment of Kalakent, some twenty miles off, with Kedabeg and the neighbouring metalliferous mountain.

Werner von Siemens. Personal Recollection of Werner von Siemens. 1893, pp. 280-281.

There were Copper Smeltery Plants and a Mine which had been operated by the Siemens Brothers Co. during 1865-1920.

4. smelting works, Kedabeg, 1865
Copper smelter, Gedabey, 1865 (today’s M. Rasulzadeh street) Photo: Siemens Corporate Archives, Munich

Thanks to the Siemens Brothers’ innovative approach and utilization of high-tech of the time, the mining industry in Gedabey turned to be lucrative business in 1876. However, real hard work of a decade was also existent prior to that year.

Having benefits increased, the Brothers were able to expand the industry: in 1883 the second Smeltery Plant had been constructed in Galakent (also a present day village in the south-west of Gedabey city) which was designed to refine copper by electrolytic method.

Electrolytic method of gold and silver plating was the fist patent that Werner von Siemens, founder of Siemens, was awarded in 1842.

The electrolytic method was allowing the Brothers to utilize local energy resource for smelting copper as remoteness of Gedabey proved to be too difficult to import oil or use scarce wood resources.

Press Pictures: Copyright
The Berlin Trade Fair, 1879: the world’s first electric railway (powered from external source), built by Siemens. Source:https://www.siemens.com/history/en/news/electric_railway.htm

Galakent was also a perfect location to convert downstream energy into electric current. Therefore, along with Smeltery Plant a Hydroelectric Power Plant was also built in Galakent at the same year. Thus, the Plant was supplied with electric current as local source of energy to run the operations.

Nonetheless, there was an issue: the Mine in Gedabey and the Plant in Galakent was in about 30 km distance to each other. It did not have developed transport connection, expect for pedestrian trail path. They were in need of proper transport mean to transfer ore to the Galakent Plant and refined minerals back to Gedabey.

The solution offered was to build a railway: a narrow-gauge line between Gedabey and Galakent.

The railway route from the Mine in Gedabey to Copper Refining Plant in Galakent was built during 1879-1883. The railway was also travelling through Duzyurd, Sabatkechmaz, Chalburun villages. The exact length of the route is unknown, however, some claim it to be 28 km or some others more than 30 km. But the most reliable reference would be Werner von Siemens, founder of Siemens, himself: he writes “some twenty miles off” (32km) in his memoirs.

100-year old baseplate of Gadabay-Galakent railway
100-year old baseplate of Gadabay-Galakent railway. Found in Sabatkechmaz village.

The route also had an extension to south-east of Gedabey city where major smeltery infrastructures existed. These infrastructures can be observed from pictures of that time. Even if you take a walk in today’s Gedabey, you will eyewitness ruins and remnants of those.

6. smelting works, Kedabeg, ore smelting furnace, 1880
Ore smelting furnace, Gedabey, 1880 (Today’s M. Rasulzadeh street) Photo: Siemens Corporate Archives, Munich

One of my colleagues, an engineer, told a fairy story about how Germans used a mother donkey to design the railway route. The story tells that the foal was placed in Galakent and the mother donkey in Gedabey. Then Germans followed the mother to find her new born baby meanwhile a line of route for the railway was drawn.

Whether the story is fiction, the route has been brilliantly designed. It is at perfect slope: The Mine location is higher and the Galakent Plant is lower in altitude. It inclines slightly and gradually with ease along the route.

The route through hard rock in Chalburun
Railway route section in Chalburun village. The way has been chewed through hard rock

The landscape of the route is very complex. It goes through mountain downstreams and/or hard rock on ridge of mountains. On the downstreams, arch-bridges have been built. The largest bridges have 7 or 8 arches. On the ridges, they had to cut through hard rock with technology they were allowed at that time. I believe it was limited to pickaxe, however, it was high paid labour.

Today, one can observe more than 20 arch-bridges in various scales on the route. Some of the bridges are as the same as they were 100 years ago. But some of them are up to collapse from impact of downstream wash-away and human related destruction (see images below). Some of them are already collapsed completely and/or washed away with exception of columns or remnants of bridge parts in downstream bed.

The section of the route between Galakent and Duzyurd (till the last bridge of Duzyurd) is visible from satellite view of Google Earth. You just need to zoom in being able to see a disconnected long curved line. If you zoom in more you may also see shadow of arch-bridges.

Old Siemens building
Then an old German building, now destroyed but still walling a private house yard (M. Rasulzadeh street)

Unfortunately, modern urbanization changed landscape making it impossible to determine exact path of sections of the route in all around the Gedabey city. Nevertheless, you can still discover dormant bridges, even copper ore while wandering in the mine area (the Copper Mountain) and the south-east part of the city where the Smeltery Plant located.

Railway route back then

Railway route back then. Now public road on the edge of Miskinli village.

Railway back then
The section of route towards Gedabey from ‘Bloody Bridge’. This slag-spilled railway route continues until it reaches public road through Duzyurd.

 

Here is also some of the arch-bridges I have encountered.

Galakent Bridges side view 2

Arch-bridge in Galakent village, foothill of Koroghlu castle. The castle is also visible at the top of the hill

Miskinli Bridges side view
Arch-bridge in Miskinli village
Chalburun Bridge side view
Arch-bridge in Chalburun village. Most part is collapsed
Chalburun Bridge 2 side view 2
Arch-Bridge (2) in Chalburun village
Small arch-bridge collapsed
Arch-Bridge in Sabatkechmaz village. A small one but collapsed
Small Arch-Bridge
Arch-Bridge (2) in Sabatkechmaz village. A surviving small one
Arch-Bridge, Sabatkechmaz
Arch-Bridge (3) in Sabatkechmaz village. Completely collapsed. Remnants lay in the downstream bed
Arch-Bridge 2 Sabatkechmaz
Arch-Bridge (4) in Sabatkechmaz village. The Middle columns severely damaged
Arch-Bridge 3 Sabatkechmaz
Arch-Bridge (5) in Sabatkechmaz village. One of the longest but collapsed
Arch-Bridge 4 Sabatkechmaz
Arch-Bridge (6) in Sabatkechmaz village. Last one in the village
Duzyurd  Bloody Bridge
So-called ‘Bloody Bridge’ in Duzyurd village. It is named so because of a deadly crush killing all people on the board. The date is unknown
Duzyurd Dr
Arch-Bridge (2) next to the modern one in Duzyurd village
Arch-Bridge, rasulzade street
End of surviving arch-bridge infrastructure in the south-east of the city (M. Rasulzadeh street). It decorates backyard of a house
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