From Dresden to Baghdad and back

Transport einer Lokomotive der Hedschasbahn mit einem Schiff
© Verkehrshaus der Schweiz, Luzern (© Verkehrshaus der Schweiz, Luzern)

The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire had two aims in building these railways: to extend the huge country’s economic influence and to facilitate the rapid transportation of troops to the outlying regions of western and southern Arabia, where frequent uprisings threatened his power. Under the direction of Meißner, he succeeded in laying hundred of miles of routes across deserts and mountains, over ravines and rivers. The construction of the railways was also politically contentious, as the German Empire, on the side of the Sultan, and England and Russia on the other side, were all pursuing differing interests in the region.

Meißner’s funeral in Istanbul was attended by Turkish dignitaries as well as German colonialists.
Despite his feats of engineering brilliance, Heinrich August Meißner has been largely forgotten. The Dresden Transport Museum’s exhibition highlights his achievements with impressive exhibits and previously unpublished photographs.

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