From the distance the Bandirma Vapuru Muzesi ship in Samsun, Turkey looks like an amazingly well-kept relic from the 19th century. However, as you get a bit closer and actually board this pristine, 47-meter long sailboat, complete with wax figures of the crew who once manned it, you'll come to realize that the ship you are visiting is a replica of the original, built out into a museum for visitors to enjoy and learn about the importance of the Bandirma and its crew.
Explore the history of the "Father of the Turks" Ataturk
The SS Bandırma was initially an Ottoman mixed-freight ship, which became famous for her historical role in taking Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Atatürk) from Constantinople (today Istanbul) to Samsun in May 1919, marking the establishment of the Turkish national movement. Initially the ship was owned by the British then sold to the Greeks around late 19th century. The SS Bandirma had an encounter with a British submarine during the first World War, where it actually survived a collision and torpedo attack.
Constructing a museum
The government of Samsun wanted to find a way to bring the story of Ataturk and the SS Bandirma to both locals and visitors from abroad, so it was decided that a full-sized model of the ship would be constructed and docked in the port location of the original. Plans for such a museum were laid in November 1999 and the ship was built in accordance with the original SS Bandirma specifications and dimensions. Construction of the ship was completed in 2001 and in 2003 the museum was put into service. The interior of the ship is particularly interesting. On the walls of the ship's cabins you'll find several pictures of Ataturk on numerous trips as well as many quotes from his journeys. Around the museum you'll see several tanks and old guns on display, as well as bombs and huge torpedoes. Be sure to check out the very interesting miniature models of various airplanes from the era when the ship sailed. You'll also have the opportunity to take a picture with a life-sized wax figure of the captain himself! On the lower ship levels, you'll have the chance to enter replica conference rooms where Ataturk held important meetings and where he spent his time while at sea. The ship is a very cool place to visit when in Samsun. The city is situated in the northern part of Turkey on the Black Sea, and is considered one of the nicest places to visit in the entire country.