By Mustafa Cavus, Serhat Zafer and Muhammet Mutaf
SAMSUN/ERZURUM/SIVAS, Turkey (AA) – Museums in the Turkish heartland of Anatolia, which were witnesses to Turkey’s War of Independence, take visitors on a journey to the past.
The Bandirma Ship Museum in the Black Sea province of Samsun, where the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, initiated the country's War of Independence, and buildings that were turned into museums in the central provinces of Sivas and Erzurum where important meetings were held attract many visitors.
May 19 is a milestone in Turkish history, as it was the day when Ataturk arrived in the Black Sea city of Samsun from Istanbul in 1919 to launch the war that transformed the nation into modern Turkey four years later.
The Bandirma Ship Museum, which was built based on the original structure of the Bandirma Ferry, was “the greatest witness” of the War of Independence. Ataturk set off from Istanbul with his comrades in arms and set foot in Samsun on May 19, 1919 after a journey on the ship, and it was opened to visitors in 2005.
The ship museum, located in the 35,000-square-meter open-air Museum of the War of Independence, showcases 189 artifacts, including the personal belongings of Ataturk.
A total of 60 photographs of Ataturk, a wall clock made in the 1870s and a telephone, ruler, compasses and tables and chairs are among the objects exhibited in the museum.
Ataturk's service revolver, texts in his own handwriting and his clothes are also on display.
– Ataturk and Erzurum Congress Museum
The building which hosted the Erzurum Congress, in which the foundation of the Republic of Turkey was laid, was also a witness to history.
A hall in the building, which was repaired after a fire in late 1924, was opened to visitors in 1960 as the Ataturk and Erzurum Congress Museum.
The building, which also hosts the Erzurum Painting, Sculpture and Gallery Directorate, was transferred to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism after restoration work was carried out by the Turkish Grand National Assembly between 2011-2013.