Ottoman sultans’ boats still sailing the sea

Ottoman sultans’ boats still sailing the sea

KOCAELİ – Anadolu Agency
Ottoman sultans’ boats still sailing the sea

AA photo

Boats which were used by Ottoman sultans to sail the sea are being produced anew by internal architect Harun Şahin in northwestern Turkey, receiving demand at home and abroad.

Şahin, who opened an atelier in Kocaeli’s Başiskele district two years ago, is producing the boats particularly for tourism regions.

The boats, which also illustrate the magnificence of the boats of the imperial era, are produced with electric and diesel motor options in the atelier.

Şahin said that during a visit to Venice, he had observed how gondolas on the canals had provided a boon for tourism. 

“When I returned from this trip, I decided to work for the revival of Ottoman boats and to add them to the Turkish economy,” Şahin said.

Using savings earned while operating a student dormitory and hotel for many years, Şahin established a company for the production of the royal Ottoman boats. 

Nearly 20 boats have been produced so far in the atelier, two of which are now being operated on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, the craftsman said.

Şahin said his company’s boats were also being used at various hotels in the southern province of Antalya, Porsuk Lake in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir, Elbistan in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş and Halfeti in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.

Production takes four to six months

Şahin said the production of the boats lasted four to six months depending on their size.

“The boats for sultans have features unique to the Ottomans. In Ottoman times, thousands of boats were used in the field of transportation on the Bosphorus. These magnificent boats can move very fast. We produce them with electric or diesel motors. Symbolically, we can place paddlers in the front part of the boats. Many countries in the world were impressed by these boats. When officials visited the country during the rise of the Ottoman Empire, they produced similar ones in their own country. Now there are an estimated four museums in the world where the boats are displayed. Among them, the Naval Museum in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş neighborhood has the highest number. There are many boats there.” 

Demand from Dubai

Şahin said they had a two-year backlog in orders for the boats. “There is a great interest in the sultan boats. We give them new designs, updated and revised them but they stick to their originality. We have demand from many places such as Adana, Mersin, Bodrum and Fethiye. We will work with full capacity for the next two years.”

The businessman said they had also received orders from Dubai. “The Ottoman sultan boats that have sold to the Turkish market will go to Dubai. A tourism company there gave an order. We will sign a contract and then we will begin producing for Dubai. We will work so that the Ottoman boats will be known first in Turkey and then the world. I think this is the biggest appreciation that I can show to my past and my ancestors.”