THE ROLE OF THE KÖSTENCE-BOĞAZKÖY (CONSTANȚA-CERNAVODĂ) RAILWAY, AN OTTOMAN HERITAGE, IN THE TRANSPORT OF CRIMEEAN AND CIRCASSIAN REFUGEES
This article is about one of the Ottoman legacies in Dobruja, the Köstence-Boğazköy (Constanța-Cernavodă) railway line, dated in the middle of the 19th century. For this research we used both quantitative and qualitative analysis of historical documents in domain of history, that are part of the patrimony of Ottoman Archives of the Prime Minister’s Office (Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi), as well as scientific literature published by Turkish researchers. For a better understanding of the Ottoman heritage in Dobruja, one can turn to the great achievments of the era, such as the Constanța-Cernavodă railway in Romania, where Ottoman culture is present for centuries.
The study focuses on several aspects related to the Constanța-Cernavodă railway project, Romania’s first railway, which was financed by the Ottoman State by the means of the Ottoman Bank. During the economic crisis caused by the Crimean War (1853-1856), the Ottoman State, with the support of two British entrepreneurs, Stephen Sleigh and Peter Pasquali, established the Ottoman Bank in 1855, project that was fulfilled, a year later, by Queen Victoria’s decree. The Constanța-Cernavodă railway aimed to link Dobruja’s great commercial route for transporting wheat towards Europe, but at the same time it was an important means of transportation used to settle down the Crimean and Circassian refugees arriving in Constanța’s harbour, towards the mainland of Dobrogea. The project was completed in September 1860, and the first shipment book place on October 4, 1860.
This study highlights the first construction of the Ottoman state railway in the Rumelia (the European part of the Ottoman empire) region, thus proving the importance given by the Ottomans to the region, evaluates the Constanța-Cernavodă railway as the Ottoman heritage in the field of public works, but also its importance in the social history of the refugees arriveing from Crimea. The study is useful for specialists doing research in the field of sociology and social history, but also for master and doctoral students in the field of history. Last but not least, this study can be useful for the general public concerned with sociology and history studies.
Keywords: Rumeli railways, Ottoman heritage Circassian and Crimean refugees, Romania, Dobruja.