10 Oct 2016 - 19:06
The first ever professionally completed map of the historic railway line linking Georgia with Azerbaijan and Turkey has been published to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the Georgian national railway.
Today Georgian Railways is celebrating 144 years since its launch, and Georgian geographer Giorgi Balakhadze revealed the map of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project to mark the auspicious date.
Balakhadze said he was glad to release the first completed and "orderly" map of the railway project, noting he had used special cartographic and digital design software to create the map.
The map was created by geographer Giorgi Balakhadze and highlights the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars line in bold. Image from Giorgi Balakhadze.
His map showed the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project in bold as well as the lines of existing operating railway networks in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.
The Georgian cartographer created the map for the article about the railway project on online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, where he is one of the users actively involved in editing work.
The railway project, linking the capitals of Azerbaijan and Georgia with Turkey's northeast city Kars, was initiated in partnership of the three countries in 2007.
The actual construction of the railway line began in 2008. The launch of the railway is expected early next year. Georgia completed construction works on its section of the line in 2015. Azerbaijan and Turkey said they were still working on their sections when the three partnering sides met in Tbilisi in February.
Intended to transport passengers as well as goods, the railway line will represent the first railway connection to Turkey for travellers from Georgia.
The release of the map coincided with the celebration of 144th anniversary since the launch of Georgia's national railway network in 1872. Photo from Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project.
Publishing of the map coincided with the anniversary of the creation of the Georgian railway.
The date is celebrated each year since October 10, 1872 when the first ever train travelled from capital Tbilisi to Poti, the Black Sea port city in the west, signifying the birth of the national railway.
The unveiling was followed with the launch of a regional line connecting Black and Caspian Seas in a route that crossed Georgia from west to east, while Baku and Tbilisi were connected by trains in 1883.
For many years Balakhadze has worked on cartographic projects illustrating Georgia with digital maps.
The map expert initiated a change in the spelling of the capital of Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia last year, after Google Maps recognised the Georgian spelling of Sokhumi on their online map network.