Cilician Gates

From Academic Kids

The Cilician Gates (Turkish Külek Boazi or Gulek Bogazi) form the main passage through the Taurus Mountains of southeastern Turkey. Their southern opening is 27.5 mi. [44 km.] north of Tarsus. The Cilician Gates link the low plains of Cilicia and the Mediterranean coast with the high central plateau of Anatolia. The Gates are the narrow gorge through which flows the Gökoluk River. The ancient track was a track for mule caravans, not wheeled vehicles. The Army of the Ten Thousand, Alexander the Great, Paul of Tarsus on his way to the Galatians, and the knights of the First Crusade all passed through the Cilician Gates.

When German engineers were working on the railroad link between the shore of the Sea of Marmara opposite Constantinople and Baghdad, they were unable to follow the steep-pitched, narrow, and tightly winding ancient track through the pass. The series of viaducts and tunnels they built are among the marvels of railroad engineering. The route was opened in 1918, but the narrow-gauge working line moved Turkish troops and war material to the Mesopotamian front in the closing months of World War I.

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