The Varda Bridge

The Varda Bridge

The Varda Bridge, also known as "The Giant Bridge," is situated in Karaisalı county, 2 kilometers north of Hacıkırı Village. It was constructed in 1912 using Turkish steel trussing and stone masonry techniques as part of the İstanbul-Baghdad-Hejaz railway project.

The bridge played a crucial role in linking Berlin to Baghdad, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. The railway line not only facilitated transportation but also provided a direct supply of oil to the German industry. The oil was used for manufacturing ammunition that supported the German military campaign against Baghdad.

The most challenging section of the route covers a distance of 13 miles, running through the Taurus Mountains in Turkey. This stretch, located between Konya and Adana, features Belemedik, where 21 tunnels were excavated within 20 years.

The Varda Bridge

The Deutsche Bank of Germany funded the construction of the Viaduct, which was commissioned to Philipp Holzmann, a renowned German firm experienced in large-scale infrastructure works. The company was responsible for the design and engineering of the bridge, and the project was overseen by Winkler and Mavrogordato, who took over after Winkler's death.

In 1903, a German technical team arrived at Belemedik, accompanied by a multinational workforce comprising thousands of workers. Over time, a camp was established, providing essential amenities such as hospitals, schools, churches, and even a mosque. The construction of the bridge, or viaduct, began in 1905 and was completed by 1907. Technical aspects were finalized in 1912, and the railway began operating in 1916.

The Varda Bridge comprises 11 arches, each measuring 30 meters (98 feet) in length and 10 meters (33 feet) in height. The central span is flanked on either side by four smaller spans, consisting of one 6-meter (20 foot), three 12-meter (39 foot)-long arches, and four 10-meter (33 foot)-long arches. The construction process involved erecting masonry pillars and subsequently setting up a steel frame over temporary falsework support. The viaduct follows a north-to-south direction and curves over a distance of 1,200 meters, with a maximum radius of 3,900 feet.

On February 18, 1917, Enver Pasha, the Minister of War, became the first Ottoman high official to cross the Varda Viaduct. During the final stages of World War I, retreating German troops also utilized the bridge.

The Varda Bridge boasts a length of over 200 meters and stands 99 meters high. In 2012, some scenes from the James Bond movie Sky Fall were filmed on the bridge. The bridge is located 60 kilometers away from the city center and can be accessed via car or train.