Photos of Ottoman Empire’s first radiotelegraph station come to light
Photographs showing the original state of the Radiotelegraph Station, which was built in the ancient city of Patara in 1906 to provide communication between the Derne Port of Libya under the Ottoman rule and the Patara Port, have come to light.
The photos were published in the magazine called Servet-i Fünun in March 1906.
“What we have learned from archival documents is combined with this new data, and almost all issues about the stations have been clarified,” said Havva İşkan Işık, the head of the Patara excavations.
The first radiotelegraph station of the Ottoman period, located in the ancient city of Patara in the southern province of Antalya’s Kaş district, where many artifacts have been unearthed during the excavations initiated by Professor Fahri Işık and his wife Havva İşkan Işık for 32 years, was officially inaugurated on Aug. 31, 1906, the 30th anniversary of Abdülhamid II’s accession to the throne.
Providing communication between Derne Port of Libya under Ottoman rule and Patara Port, which is 850 kilometers away, the station is the first long-distance radiotelegraph network in Europe.
During the restoration process, new findings emerged regarding the Patara Radiotelegraph Station, which was stated to be equipped with the best communication devices and state-of-the-art technology of its time but was bombed by the Italian army in the Tripoli War.
At a recent meeting, Işık and Diren Çakılcı, a research assistant at Akdeniz University’s History Department, presented the new data.
Işık and Çakılcı announced that the photographs of the Patara Station were published in the Servet-i Fünun magazine in March 1906, when the station construction was completed, and that the following issues of the magazine provided information on the installation and technical details of the station.
Stating that the photographs were taken by Ferid Bey, one of the engineers in the Ottoman Empire, Işık said: “Ferid Bey graduated from Darüşşafaka with the first place, and was sent to Paris by the state for higher education, and received training on telegraph technologies. At that time, he became the manager of the Ottoman Telegraph Factory and came to Patara to supervise a Geran company’s investment there. For this reason, all of the photos were taken by him and he was also captured in some of the photos.”
Explaining that the new photographs are of vital importance for the project, Işık said: “Especially those that reflect close-up images of the engine room from the outside and inside. Thanks to these, information about the architectural features of the building, as well as the tower, engine, machinery and equipment for the radio-telegraph system have been obtained. Besides Ferid Bey, we have also identified the photographs of two German officers, one of whom is probably Dr. Rosenthal, responsible for Siemens, who took part in the installation of the station.”
She said that in the articles of Ferid Bey, published in the other issues of Servet-i Fünun, there is information about how the radio technology works and the system established in Patara.