The Symbol of Bursa, The Cable Car Is Also A Bridge Between Cultures

Hubert Sondermann
Hubert Sondermann

An engineer, who came to Turkey from Germany at a time when labor migration from Turkey to Germany was experienced, built not only the cable car but also friendships. He also held a mirror for us with his own eyes.

Life has brought different experiences for people living in different regions and as a natural result of this, each society has a unique cultural heritage and memory. Since the common denominator of all these different accumulations is human, they intersect to a large extent within the framework of basic human feelings and concepts.

What we call difference often brings conflicts. I believe that conflict can only be avoided, thanks to relationships built on similarities and fundamental common ties. Unfortunately, the number of people who have an understanding of life based on similarities, which is our common denominator much greater than all differences, has been very limited. One of the people who really looked in the mirror and tidied up and realized that he was no different from the others is the German uncle, Hubert Sondermann, who lived and died in Bursa.

Who is Hubert Sondermann?

Hubert Sondermann was born in 1902 to a German family. He immigrated to Switzerland with his family in his childhood years and grew up as a Swiss citizen. He studied mechanical engineering and became a business partner of a company as a successful mechanical engineer. In 1957, Bursa Uludağ ropeway operation was awarded the construction tender. kazanHe worked at the company called von roll, which will be

He came to Bursa to work as an engineer in the construction of the cable car, which will become an important symbol of Bursa in time. Although the purpose of his arrival was commercial, he will actually succeed in establishing a similar cable car line between Uludağ and the city center between Turkish and German cultures. as a nature-loving person, at the opening of the cable car line in Bursa:

- a cable car kazanYou were, but you lost a mountain. he said.

In summary, it is a living example of the saying "the work he does is the mirror of the person...".

Bursa and Sondermann's first date

The construction of the facilities started in 1955 as part of the electricity company. With the decision of the city council dated 15.06.1957 and numbered 289, the task regarding the ropeway and chairlift operation was given to the electricity management directorate. The construction work of the facilities was tendered to the Swiss von Roll company in 1958 for 27 million liras. When Sondermann came to Bursa in the first months of 1958, he immediately started his work by establishing a work team for himself:

It was difficult for him to get the cable car line to the summit of Uludağ by overcoming steep slopes, streams and all natural obstacles because he had to grapple with limited technical and economic conditions when he arrived.

Donkeys, mules and horses were generally used to transport supplies. A great effort has been made for each stage of the cable car line that goes from the slopes of Uludağ to its peak. So much so that the works continued regardless of the weather conditions and the season. During these uninterrupted works, the rations of the workers and Sondermann were delayed and there were often times when they went hungry. In such hunger situations, the workers and Sondermann did not hesitate to share and eat whatever could be eaten around them.

Sonderman's feature, which is also the subject of gossip among the workers, is that he always carries a mirror with him and always fixes his head.
According to the rumor, one of the workers asks one day:

– German uncle, who will see you on these slopes, you always look in the mirror and fix your dress?
he also answers:

– One's best supervisor and the first to respect is oneself.
then continued:

– A person's main mirror is the people around him. In fact, when I look at you, I see myself, and when you look at me, you see yourself. You are people of pure heart and it suits you to work with men who look as pure as your heart. Whatever I do, I do it to deserve your friendship, cleanliness and hospitality, my friends. Hearing this, the workers understand better what kind of man they are working under.

Establishment and inauguration of the cable car and chairlift business

Great difficulties were experienced during the replacement of the iron poles, which are the carrier system of the cable car line, the establishment of the stations and the pulling of the hundreds of meters long iron ropes. Turkey's first cable car, as a result of all these determination and self-sacrifice work, began to serve on October 29, 1963.

Thus, the summit of Uludag, which is a source of inspiration even for mythological stories, has now become accessible.
Uncle Sonderman said the following in his conversation with the workers around him at the end of the work:

– What people achieve is a mirror of what they can achieve.

one of the important messages sent to us from the past:

– A cable car kazanYou were but you lost a mountain. is in the form.

The cable car served under the electricity company until 1968, and in 1969 it became a business with an independent budget. The cable car line built in Bursa is not the only cable car line in Turkey as well as being the first cable car line in Turkey. In the years following the construction in Bursa, cable car lines were established for various purposes in other big cities such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. The longest of the existing cable car lines in Turkey is in Bursa. such that this line is three thousand meters long and is seated on a total of twenty-eight poles. A trip on this line takes about twenty minutes, and it is Turkey's largest capacity cable car with cabins for 40 people each.

Sondermann's love for Bursa

Sondermann lived in Altıparmak during the first years he came to Bursa. Altiparmak was the most popular street of Bursa at that time. He used the "Ford" brand car, which was very rare in Bursa in those days, to reach the workplace from where he lived.

As we learned from Sondermann's friends, he loved the call to prayer coming from mosques, and some mornings he sat down by the minarets and recorded the call to prayer. After a while, he moved to a house that was closer to his workplace and where he could clearly hear the sound of the azan, which he liked, and had a view of the Green Mosque and the Green Tomb. In a short time, he established warm friendships with the neighborhood and employees, sohbetIt has become the indispensable name of societies, societies and invitations.

He wanted to learn Turkish in order to communicate effectively with his employees and he succeeded in a short time. Thus, he was able to reach information about Bursa, which he has great love, more easily and to express his wishes more easily. He liked the sharing of Turkish people, and he shared many things with those around him. He drove the children of the neighborhood to school on his way to work in the morning, and found himself a child or adult companion every time he drove.

Sondermann was curious about not only the sharing spirit of the Turks, but also all the values ​​that have lasted for generations, learned and adopted almost all of them. His interest, relevance and respect for both Turkish people and Turkish values ​​were highly appreciated by those around him. So much so that now everyone has started to call him "German uncle" or "German Emmi" in Turkish. he is no longer Sondermann, he has managed to become one of us.

The German uncle had to go to and from his hometown from time to time. In these journeys – as in every great love, his great love could not stay away from bursa for a long time and was returning in a few days. While the German uncle was establishing warm ties with those around him, things were progressing rapidly. Finally, the ropeway operation project he was carrying out came to an end and this meant the German uncle's departure from Bursa. However, this separation was prevented thanks to the chair lift project in the ski center created in the hotels region and the desire of every hotel to work with him.
there were many reasons why everyone wanted to work with him and respected him. The foremost of these reasons was that he was extremely disciplined and meticulous in his work. So much so that he would start work on time every time, work without a break, and at the end of the work he would clean all the tools he used during the work and put them in their proper place. Apart from that, he was a person who liked to teach others what he knew, who could enter and leave his house easily, who had the Torah, Bible and Qur'an in his house and studied them. He seriously researched Islam because of the beliefs of most of the people in the city where he lived. Apart from this, he traveled to most of the big cities, especially Konya, at every opportunity.

Uncle German wanted to put his signature under permanent works after the ropeway project. For this, he met with the authorities of the period and stated that he wanted to establish a factory in Bursa. However, this request was not approved. He continued his attempts on this subject for a while in the hope that maybe they would be convinced, but he never got the answer he wanted. The German uncle, who was very upset about this situation, shared his thoughts on the subject with his friends:

– They did not allow me to open a factory. but I hope God will grant me a place of two meters in this country...

As he stated in this wish, he willed to be buried in the Emir Sultan Cemetery. This testament of the German uncle surprised his friends.

Hubert Sondermann's Grave
Hubert Sondermann's Grave

Sondermann spent the summer months at a hotel where he was also a consultant. He passed away in the hotel where he stayed in the summer of 1976, and was buried in the fig side of the Emir Sultan Cemetery.

Not Living the German Way

Gravestones, besides being cold commodities on which our names are written in order, unfortunately cannot be installed by everyone in a common world where no one comes by their own choice; they can become monuments of friendship, brotherhood and peace. The life story of Uncle German, who came from a different society and culture, is full of the warm friendships he established in both his business and social life and the sweet memories he shared with these friends. I think this life story is a lesson for people who speak the same language and have a common background but cannot get along.

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