Turkish people are quite interesting by nature. They are usually conservative, and they may be quite harsh on the lifestyles which they do not approve of. However, they can be contradictorily flexible, understanding, and protective of someone who they really love. Zeki Muren Museum in Bodrum may be the best example of their perspective.
Story of the Zeki Muren Museum
The most famous name in the Turkish classical music is undoubtedly Zeki Muren, who has passed away in 1996. Indeed, he was a great classical Turkish music singer and composer. He was also a poet, an actor, a fashion designer, and a serious Bodrum addict.
After so many years, even the generations which came after him did not forget his name and his music. He was known as the Sanat Gunesi, which means “The Sun of Art” in Turkey and he still is. However, Bodrumians called him something else: The Pasha. They still do.
After having a heart attack in 1980, he decided to live in Bodrum where he said he found peace. His relocation to Bodrum and his private life in the streets of this small town were always in the headlines of the national newspapers, adding a huge value to the Bodrum brand.
His popularity, which moved tens of millions of people, did not come only from his wide range of artistic skills, but also from his private life. He was a pioneer in expressing himself as who he was. He proved that homosexuality was not something to be afraid of and gained the respect and the hearts of a traditional and conservative society.
After his death, his house in Bodrum was restored and opened as Zeki Muren Museum in 2000. This is a privately owned museum. Like the Bodrum Maritime Museum, it is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Since the opening, Turkish people have been showing their respect for The Sun of Art by visiting his old house, which is in the Kumbahce neighbourhood, on a street named after him: Zeki Muren Street.
Recommendations for Visitors
The museum is on a central location, at the end of Cumhuriyet Street which is also known as The Bars Street. Scheduling 30 to 45 minutes for your visit would be just fine. The entrance fee is symbolic and TL 10, which is about USD 1.5 or EUR 1.2.
I think, it is a good opportunity for you to visit and see a real Bodrum house from the inside. Meanwhile you will also have a clear idea on the classic decoration style of a Turkish houses like the one I grew up in.
You are free to take pictures so do not forget to bring your camera with you. Here, in Zeki Muren Museum, you will find interesting stage costumes which were designed by Zeki Muren. The Aegean panorama is also worth to add to your Bodrum photos album.
I have organized this article in two parts, and you are reading the Part I right now. You may follow this link to learn more about what is inside.
I have never been a Turkish classical music fan. However, I utterly respect Muren’s great artistic talent, his Turkish language skills, and his bravery for expressing himself against all odds. Still, each time I visit the Zeki Muren Museum, the grief on the visitor’s faces surprises me. I witnessed the tears on the cheeks of a young girl who was surely born much after Zeki Muren’s death.
Zeki Muren Museum showed me the love, respect, and acceptance he earned over the years with his talent, hard work and commitment. At the end, I am glad to visit this small museum and I hope you will like it too.
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