Miniature ship exhibition in Turkey’s Bursa blends art with history


Bursa’s Gemlik Public Education Center is hosting Turkey’s first institutional “Model Shipbuilding Exhibition” to showcase a variety of handmade miniature ships, with the smallest scaled down to 125th of the size of the original vessels.

Trainees affiliated with the education center made the model ships after receiving training from their teacher Mustafa Kahya.

Among the 30 ships that took between three and eight months to build, the most notable is the model of the 125-meter-long sailing ship, the Savarona.

Turkey's first institutional

The Savarona served as the presidential yacht and was used by the Turkish republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Ella it was the largest in the world when it was built and it is still one of the world’s longest ships.

Handcrafted by 16 trainees, the ships take visitors on a journey through time. From the small fishing boats, that are typical of the Black Sea shores of Turkey, to the warships of the Ottoman period, the exhibition held at Bursa Tayyare Cultural Center fascinates visitors.

Turkey's first institutional

Turkey's first institutional

Mustafa Kahya, who has been teaching model shipbuilding for seven years, said: “We are happy to open the first institutional ship exhibition in Bursa. The construction phase of these miniature ships takes at least three months in which our smallest ship was completed. Yet, Atatürk’s yacht Savarona required work on many details, it was completed in around eight months with approximately five hours of work per day. Also, some of our trainees want to sell the ships. The price range of these varies between nearly $122 (TL 2,000) and $1,900 (TL 30,000).”

Turkey's first institutional

Turkey’s first institutional “Model Shipbuilding Exhibition” in Bursa displays handmade miniature ships, Bursa, Turkey, June 2, 2022. (IHA Photo)

Suat Onur, an 80-year-old trainee, said: “I retired from the factory 30 years ago. I discovered this course three years ago during the COVID-19 lockdown. We build ships with moldings, and accessories. We are creating a piece of art and this makes me happy. I will continue this craft as long as I have time.”

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