I have divided The Bodrum Maritime Museum in two parts. Part I includes general information about the museum. The second part, which you are about to read, includes details about the museum sections and the collection.
Bodrum Maritime Museum has mainly three different sections: Wooden model boat collection of Ali Kemal Denizaslani, seashell collection of Hasan Gulesci and personal belongings of Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli, The Fisherman of Halicarnassus.
Model Boats at Bodrum Maritime Museum
The largest section of the museum is the lounge where the wooden models of the boats which were used by the fishermen and the sponge divers of Bodrum.
One of the well-known sailors of Bodrum, Mr. Ali Kemal Denizaslani, had also a great hobby of making large scale models of the boats in the harbour. Mr. Denizaslani has died in August 2012, at his late 60s. I have never met him. I wish I had.
He was being called as “Chief” and “Grand Master” by the Bodrumians because he was a highly skilled craftsman. He had started his life as a fisherman following in his father’s path. Then he became a boat maker and started to build wooden boats and gullets for his fellow townsmen. After working at his own small shipyard for years, he decided to sell the shipyard for some reason and put his focus on making scaled wooden models of the boats which were used in Bodrum for transportation, sponge diving and fishing purposes.
With the Bodrum Maritime Museum project, he had donated these models as a contribution for keeping the Bodrum’s recent maritime history alive.
I was impressed with not only for the great details on the models but also with the information provided next to them. Each model has a short description next to it telling who the owner was, when it was active, where was it built and the picture of its owner.
Isn’t it wonderful? Models of real boats which were used in fishing, sponge diving and transportation when Bodrum was a small Aegean village with tribute to the real owners. I like it! Most of their families are still living in Bodrum and there are sons, daughters, wives, or grandchildren.
Hasan Gulesci Seashell Collection
Another section of the museum comes from another special person, Mr.Hasan Gulesci. He is a former CEO of one of the biggest corporations of Turkey and has been collecting seashells from all over the world for over 50 years. His amazing and rare collection is in the Bodrum Maritime Museum now.
After spending almost all his life for gathering different and unique seashells from everywhere he visited, this gentleman decided to donate his years of hard work, one of the most comprehensive and valuable seashell collections of the world to a museum.
The seashells in the museum is not the whole collection though. I was told that there are still thousands of species which are still being scientifically classified and catalogued by a team of volunteers. Unfortunately, it appears that the whole collection will need a much bigger space to be exhibited. Still, thousands of amazing creations of the nature is there, waiting for you.
The Fisherman of Halicarnassus
Have you heard about The Fisherman of Halicarnassus before? His real name was Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli who was exiled to Bodrum in 1925 for 3 years because of an article he wrote in a newspaper. Yes, being in Bodrum was a punishment in the beginning of 20th century!
After arriving Bodrum, he was moved by the people, the nature, and the culture of the area. He started to write novels and stories about the real-life stories of the locals and stayed in Bodrum for 25 years. He was the one who anticipated that Bodrum could be a popular, worldwide destination with its natural beauty and the culture. He worked hard for it and succeeded.
A small corner in Bodrum Maritime Museum is dedicated to The Fisherman of Halicarnassus.
Although it is fascinating to see some of the personal belongings of such a great and important personality, I strongly believe that he deserves his own dedicated museum.
He was a famous writer and an important historian whose books are still in the curriculum of our education system. His ideas and plans about making Bodrum a tourism centre have worked. He came up with another idea which he called “Blue Voyage” and it has worked as well. In Bodrum streets, you will see giant eucalyptus trees planted by the fisherman himself. Last but not the least, he won the hearts of all Bodrumians, becoming the most respected name for the locals.
He lived in a house on the coastline in today’s Bars Street. However, his house is a fast food restaurant today while his belongings are on display on a corner of a museum. This is not fair.
Still, I am thankful to Bodrum Maritime Museum for reserving a display area for Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli, The Fisherman, my personal hero.
Information on Display
Lots of detailed and quality information about both ancient and recent marine history are hanged on the walls in both Turkish and English. I also use this information extensively for Enjoy Bodrum.
Life under the Mediterranean Sea is in danger of extinction from Iberia coasts to Southern Turkey. The rumour has it that sponges which were the life source of Bodrum until a couple of decades ago, have already gone forever. Even Bodrumians believe so. However, lucky for us, this is not the case.
The sponges are not extinct yet, but they are in great danger. To change this misconception and to raise awareness for the extinction thread, the museum displays some sponge species living around Bodrum. Comprehensive information about sponges and sponge diving are also presented.
A small gift shop in the museum sells some books and souvenirs for you, your family, and your friends. If the price looks acceptable to you, shopping here will help to keep the museum doors open. This is a private museum. Although this is one of the private museums which are supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, inadequate funding requires our support. Unfortunately, all private museums have the same issue.
In conclusion, if you are interested in local history and culture of Bodrum, it is worthwhile to visit Bodrum Maritime Museum. I know some of the people who put great effort in keeping this museum alive. They are all volunteers, not professionals. I am sure they will be happy to hear from you.
Bodrum Maritime Museum
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