In the first six months of the year, a record-breaking number of people have visited the Bandırma Ferry Museum, a replica of the historical ferry on which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and other high military officials arrived in the northern province of Samsun to initiate the Turkish War of Independence on May 19, 1919.
Constructed in 2001 and converted into a museum in May 2003, along with an open-air museum, the ferry museum hosted 126,221 people in the first six months of 2023, marking the highest number in the past five years.
Speaking on the visitor influx on the centennial of the foundation of modern Turkiye, Samsun Mayor Mustafa Demir noted that the ferry museum is the first stop for everyone who visits the city where the nation’s independence struggle began.
“The Bandırma Ferry played a significant role in the beginning of the War of Independence. The Bandırma Ferry brought Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his comrades-in-arms from Istanbul to Samsun 104 years ago, changing the course of a nation’s history. Visitors of all ages feel the spirit of the independence when they visit here,” Demir expressed.
Hosting a series of historical documents, the museum presents a copy of the document confirming Atatürk’s birthdate as May 19.
The original 1923 edition of the Treaty of Lausanne written in Ottoman Turkish also stands as one of the museum’s most important historical artifacts. The museum showcases a historical journey through documents like mission orders, historical British visas, and documents related to the headquarters’ team.
Notably displayed are telegrams announcing Atatürk’s arrival in Samsun and important documents from the journeys to Havza, Amasya, and Erzurum. Additionally, the exhibition hall features replicas of original items like Atatürk’s Belgian-made Nagant pistol, the attire he wore at Dolmabahçe Palace and the Savarona Yacht.
The museum displays reflections of Atatürk’s passing in the Samsun press, funeral ceremonies held in Samsun, his death report and his will, along with samples from 14 books Atatürk wrote during his life.
The rear deck, which was the departure area of the Bandırma Ferry, houses a chamber called the “furnished room.” This chamber contains five statues and depicts a meeting scene of Atatürk and his soldier colleagues.
On the front deck, a chamber designed similarly to Atatürk’s bedroom on the Savarona Yacht features furniture made from walnut trees dating back to the 1900s.
In 2021, the historical ferry was also turned into a virtual museum by the Sabancı Foundation, welcoming visitors from across the world.