An exhibition of miniature ships in Bursa in Turkey mixes art and history


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

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 remarkable is the model of the 125-meter-long sailing ship, the Savarona.

Turkey's first institutional establishment

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

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

Turkey's first institutional establishment

Turkey's first institutional establishment

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

Turkey's first institutional establishment

Turkey’s first institutional “Model Shipbuilding Exhibition” in Bursa showcases handmade miniature boats, 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 confinement linked to COVID-19. We build ships with moldings and accessories. We create a work of art and that makes me happy. I will continue this job as long as I have time.

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