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Mobility and Transport Infrastructures in Southeast Europe: From the Ottoman Orta Kol to the Pan-European Transport Corridor

Dr. Florian Riedler

The modernisation of transport infrastructures in the second half of the nineteenth century made travelling between cities of the Ottoman Empire, as well as circulation within these cities, considerably easier. This project will examine the resulting forms of new 'Ottoman mobility' in the region along the ancient military road from Istanbul to Belgrade, which the Ottomans called the middle branch or Orta Kol. The project will particularly address the question of how mobility was affected when new state borders started to divide the region in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Did transport infrastructures persist or were they rendered useless, only continuing to exist as phantoms? Did travelers still wish to move along the former routes and, if so, how could they? Finally, how did the hierarchy of urban centres and sub-centres, e.g. Paris, Vienna, Belgrade, Edirne, Istanbul, change when Ottoman infrastructures were dismantled or redirected? By asking these questions the project hopes to contribute to a clearer understanding of the production of space through mobility defined as a reflexive interaction between (infra)structures and actors. Likewise, it will offer a historical perspective on the connections between Europe and Turkey that to some extent still follow the same lines of transport and communication.


Kompetenznetzwerk mit Centre Marc Bloch Berlin, MLU Halle, HU Berlin



financed by: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)