Heinrich August Meissner

Ottoman Pasha

Heinrich August Meissner who wasn’t just an engineer. While I was working at Technical University of Dresden (Germany) last year. I was proud to hear that Heinrich August Meissner graduated here and saw the book yesterday, I realized it was time to write
something about him. Meissner was born in Leipzig (Germany) in 1862. He studied from 1881 to 1885 at the Technical University of Dresden. Civil Engineering department with a specialization in railway construction, as well as earth, tunnel and hydraulic engineering. His career aspiration was practical railway construction.

Heinrich August Meissner

Since this flourished in the Ottoman Empire, this was soon his declared goal. During his
studies, he learned the Turkish language, and a maternal uncle victor Tridon, the son of the painter Caroline Franziska Sattler, who worked as an engineer in İstanbul, facilitated his entry. he moved to Turkey in 1887 and was employed by the state Ottoman Railways.

He led in the next few years the construction of various routes of the country. In 1896 he was appointed scientific director of railway construction. At the end of the 1890s, the planning of the Hedjaz Railway, the pilgrimage route towards Mecca, was entrusted to Meißner for the management of the project, which he held until 1908. In 1904 he was awarded the title Ottoman Pasha.

Heinrich August Meissner

In 1910, Meissner moved to the Anatolian railway construction company, which operated the construction of the Baghdad Railway. He led from 1912 the construction of the railway from Baghdad to the north. During the First World War, he built a railway line from Syria towards Egypt under the Commander-in-Chief of the 4th Ottoman Army for the planned Turkish advance against the British protectorate. This 365 km of railway line were completed. Meissner had to leave Turkey in 1918 and returned to Germany for a few years. However, in 1924, the Turkish government called him back to Turkey as a “Construction and Railway Maintenance Consultant”. He devoted himself to the reconstruction of the partially destroyed railway lines. The Baghdad Railway was further developed. After his retirement as a railway builder.

Railway Projects

Heinrich August Meissner had leading positions in the following years in the construction of the following railway lines;

• İzmit-Ankara of the Anatolian Railway, 1888-1892,
• Selanik-Monastir, 1892-1894,
• Selanik-Dedeagatch, 1894-1896,
• Hedjaz Railway Damascus-Medina, 1901-1908,
• Baghdad Railway, 1910-1914,

He received a chair in railway construction at Istanbul Technical University. The final completion of the Baghdad railway, he could not live to see, he died a good half a year earlier before the first train drove the entire distance from Istanbul to Baghdad. His grave is located on the Protestant alien cemetery in Feriköy in Istanbul (January 14, 1940). He died as a teacher, engineer and pasha.


  1. Url-1< tr.wikipedia. org/wiki/Heinrich_August_Meissner <date retrieved 17.07.2018.
  2. The Hejaz Railway and the Ottoman Empire book Author : Murat Özyüksel
  3. Url-2< deutsche-biographie. de/sfz60099.html <date retrieved 16.07.2018.
  4. Url-3< canakkalemuharebeleri1915. com/yazarlar/151-iclal-tunca-orses/426-coldekiince-donanma<date retrieved 16.07.2018.
  5. Url-4< annefrank. de/mensch/tr/johann meyer/schwerpunktthemen/deutschehandwerker-in-konstantinopel<date retrieved 16.07.2018.

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