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The Cilician Gates or Gülek Pass ( ), form the main pass through the Taurus Mountainsmarker of southern Turkeymarker, connecting the low plains of Cilicia and the Mediterraneanmarker coast with the high central plateau of Anatoliamarker. Their southern opening is 44 km north of Tarsusmarker. The Gates are the narrow gorge of the Gökoluk River.

History

The ancient track was a track for mule caravans, not wheeled vehicles. The Army of the Ten Thousand, Alexander the Great before the Battle of Issusmarker, Paul of Tarsus on his way to the Galatians, and the knights of the First Crusade all passed through the Cilician Gates, the site of the medieval fortress of Baberon (or Barbaron).

When German engineers were working on the railroad link between Haydarpaşa Terminalmarker in Istanbulmarker, at the shore of the Sea of Marmaramarker and Baghdadmarker, they were unable to follow the steep-pitched, narrow, and tightly winding ancient track through the pass. The series of viaducts and tunnels they built are among the marvels of railroad engineering. The route was opened in 1918; the narrow-gauge working line moved Turkish troops and war material to the Mesopotamian front in the closing months of World War I.

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