Yıldız Palace welcomes artifacts from Ottoman wars

Yıldız Palace welcomes artifacts from Ottoman wars

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Yıldız Palace welcomes artifacts from Ottoman wars

The collection will be on display at Yıldız Palace until June 6. The exhibition, titled “Living, fighting Ottoman dioramas,” focuses on the period between 1453 and 1923.

As a collector, Nejat Çuhadaroğlu is exclusively interested in the world of wars, and his collection focuses on war dioramas and artifacts.

Çuhadaroğlu’s collection is one of the most valuable of its kind in the world. He works as the chief executive officer of Çuhadaroğlu Holding, but values collecting, which he considers to be much more than another job.

Çuhadaroğlu’s collection will be on display at Yıldız Palace starting today and continuing through June 6. The exhibition, titled “Living, fighting Ottoman dioramas,” focuses on the period between 1453 and 1923 and contains dioramas designed and built by Çuhadaroğlu.

Çuhadaroğlu has been collecting historical artifacts for 25 years; for the past 15 years, he has collected solely war- and army-related pieces.

As a collector, Çuhadaroğlu works as carefully as possible. His collection focuses on a certain period and its historical events. Wars have a special meaning for Çuhadaroğlu. “Looking at world history, you see a lot of wars. Wars mark the beginnings and the ends [of historical eras]. Looking at our daily lives, you see that we engage in struggles and battles every day,” he said.

All of human experience can be found in war, Çuhadaroğlu said. “Friendship, excitement, love, hatred, in short, everything in life exists in wars.”

The exhibit includes dioramas depicting the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul, the battles of Crimea and Plevne, World War I battles including Çanakkale, the Caucasus, Gallipoli, Galicia, and the Middle East front, and the Turkish War of Independence. The dioramas include Çuhadaroğlu’s original models and mock-ups.

“The artifacts include medallions, guns, flags, army uniforms and photographs, each of which reflect a certain era,” said Çuhadaroğlu, adding that he chose to concentrate on the 1453-1923 period for its importance in Turkish and Ottoman history. “Our history really takes off with the conquest of Istanbul. And of course the War of Independence and wars of in republican times have great importance.”

Çuhadaroğlu said he consulted with some experts on his exclusive collection but added that he had recently begun to do more of his own research. “I am greatly interested in Ottoman and Turkish history, and read many articles on historical events. For example, new information has recently been revealed about the Çanakkale front, and I am trying to keep up with it.”

It is difficult to count all the pieces in the collection, but the exhibit at Yıldız Palace includes 100 models, 150 guns, and more than 200 swords. “It is not easy to collect army and war artifacts,” Çuhadaroğlu said.

He spends a lot of time locating Ottoman war artifacts. “When it especially comes to textiles, very few people know historically what soldiers wore. Soldiers’ accessories, shoes and clothes are often still a question mark. Clothes and uniforms are never valued enough in Turkey. I have collected many of them from foreign countries and auction houses,” he said.

Turkish war artifacts have also suffered a lot of damage during various coups d’état, Çuhadaroğlu said. He travels a great deal for his collection; “Athens was a disappointment for me, but Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland were a real treat. I have followed antiques all over. Kadıköy and the Grand Bazaar are really rich venues for good stuff,” he said.