Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
August 27, 2007
From journal Turkey with Teenager
September 16, 2002
From journal A Summer in Istanbul
Sea Girt, New Jersey
July 6, 2001
Of particular interest is a room dedicated to the memory and accomplishments of Ataturk (Mustafa Kemal Pasa), whom every Turk you meet will solemnly tell you is "the National Hero of Turkey." Ataturk ("Father of the Turks") instigated the Turkish War of Independence to regain lost territories, establishing the nation’s boundaries that exist today. He also established a rigorous plan of social and political change, which is responsible for everything from the banning of the fez to the abolition of the Sultanate. He is also credited with fostering rights for women and encouraging the westernization of Turkey. Everything from Ataturk's military medals to his pajamas are on display. The exhibit gives visitors a good idea of how important and revered the founder of the Turkish republic is.
We initially went to the museum to attend a performance of the famed Mehter Janissary Band ( our private guide Anna suggested that we go. Founded in the 14th century as an elite force for the express purpose of protecting the Sultan, the Janissaries were instrumental in the early expansion of the Ottoman Empire. Once highly disciplined and revered, the Janissaries abused their power in the 17th century and mutinied against several sultans. They were deposed in the 1820s, but their distinctly Turkish music lives on at the Military Museum, where the Mehter Band performs Wednesday through Sunday from 3-4 p.m. The rousing marches that once accompanied the Sultans into battle are haunting and inspiring (and are even thought to have influenced Mozart). The impressive performance is held in a specially designed indoor/outdoor amphitheater within the Museum. Clad in bright costumes, the band plays instruments that hark back to the days of the early Sultans. A single strong, driving kettledrum, played with theatrical flair by a gentleman with commanding presence provides the infectious beat for the songs, which center on traditional Ottoman themes. Corps of horn players, drummers fill the theater with music that instantly invokes images of stately, indulgent sultans. It was truly memorable.
While the Military Museum is a bit out of the way, I strongly recommend making the effort to see it, if only to attend the band performance. The entire experience was extremely worthwhile.
From journal The Wonders of Istanbul