Naval Museum (Deniz Müzesi)

The Turkish Naval Museum (Deniz Müzesi) right by the ferry dock in Beşiktaş (map) holds a splendid treasure: the ornate gilded imperial caiques (kayık, boats) of the sultans.

These incredibly sleek, graceful craft, some over 32 meters (104 feet) long and powered by hefty rowers on up to 15 pairs of oars, would shoot up and down the Bosphorus carrying the Shadow of God on Earth.

All other water craft were required to stop as the sultan’s elegant vessel swept by.

Turkish Naval Museum (Deniz Müzesi), Beşiktaş, Istanbul, Turkey
View from the stern of a caique with 11 pairs of oars…

The Naval Museum building, opened in 2013, was purpose-built to house these splendid vessels, along with other Turkish naval artifacts and memorabilia including historic cannons, ship models, documents and more.

Turkish Naval Museum (Deniz Müzesi), Beşiktaş, Istanbul, Turkey
View from the bow of the caique with 11 pairs of oars…

The Naval Museum is open daily except Monday. Lots of buseshead north from the Kabataş docks to Beşiktaş, or you can just walk north around the back of Dolmabahçe Palace (1.8 km/1.1 mile, 20 minutes), or you can take a ferry from Üsküdar.

—by Tom Brosnahan


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