Military Museum

This morning, I woke up early to work my back towards Istanbul. I was able to prearrange the shuttle bus to Kayseri airport, and then it was a one hour plane flight to Sabiha followed by another bus ride to Taksim square. From there, it was a short walk to the military museum, which I decided to visit after reading about Ottoman swords on their website.

The military museum contains an impressive array of weapons and armor, most of which dates from between the 16th and the 20th century. Although the collection focuses on Turkey and the Ottoman Empire, there are a substantial amount of items from the rest of Europe and from America. It is all well-labeled, although some of the English descriptions are nearly incomprehensible. I did not take many pictures, as most of the items are behind glass, but there were a few interesting items out in the open.

Here is the chain which was placed at the entrance of the Golden Horn during the conquest of Istanbul (Tyrion Lannister knows his Ottoman history):

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Here are some of the cannons on display:

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And here is the Sultan's battle tent:

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In the afternoon, there was a concert by the Mehter, allegedly the oldest military band in the world:

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The band is composed of the following instruments:

  • zurna (double reed wind instrument) x 5
  • boru (trumpet) x 5
  • nakkare (kettledrums) x 5
  • davul (drum) x 5
  • zil (cymbals) x 5
  • kos (ruler's drum, not portable) x 1

Most sections have five players. The four on the left (from their perspective) are dressed in black, and the one on the right is dressed in red, which I presume marks him as section leader. This closeup shows the nakkare and zil sections.

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Both melodic instruments have a nasal color, and overall their sound is dominated by percussion (how could it not be, with 16 percussionists!) They also had ten singers, as well as standard-bearers, whose only job, as far as I could tell, was to remain absolutely still during the entire performance.

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By Ross in Travel on Sun 15 June 2014. Tags: Turkey


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