Saturday, November 20, 2010

Acronym in geography and transportation: BTK for Baku-Tblisi-Kars railway

In 2013, when the Marmaray railroad tunnel beneath the Bosporus in Istanbul is expected to be opened and construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) will be finished, passengers and goods can travel all the way from Baku to London and retour. The BTK will connect the capital and Caspian port city of Azerbaijan, Baku, with Kars in eastern Turkey via the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi.

In Tbilisi trains have to switch between Standard (1,435 mm or 4 ft 8 1/2 in) and Russian (1,520 mm or 4 ft 11 5/6 in) rail gauges.

The BTK is nicknamed “Iron Silk Road” [1]. It will connect the oil-rich Caspian Sea region with Turkey, bridging two regions with a population of mostly Muslim religions through Christian Georgia. Rich in history, religions, cultures, languages and natural resources, relations in this part of the world have never been easy—not only to be blamed on different track gauge systems!

Will the BTK forge a sustainable and more relaxed future for this European-Asian land of originality and diversity?

Keywords: Caucasus, continental crossroads, rail systems, engineering, traveling

References and further tracks
[1] Brett Forrest and Alex Webb: The New Silk Road. National Geographic August 2010, Vol. 218, N0.2, pp. 54-79. Council on Foreign Relations:
[2] Railway Technology: Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Line, International:

No comments:

Post a Comment