February 28, 2011

Life of Ottoman fire brigades displayed at Rezan Has Museum

Istanbul’s Rezan Has Museum at Kadir Has University has welcomed a new exhibition. “Like Moths to the Flame: The Ottoman Fire Brigades” reveals how those hell-raisers of the late Ottoman Empire, both military-civilian firefighters and neighborhood symbols of courage, honor, and decency, evolved into today’s modern fire departments.


The museum’s event manager, Zeynep Çulha, said efforts began in 2005 to collect and document machines, tools, documents and photos used at the Cibali Tobacco and Cigarette Warehouse and in 2008 the collected pieces were loaned to the Rezan Has Museum after being registered in the inventory of the Islamic Sciences & Technology History Museum.

“With the project, we intend to reveal the street culture of Istanbul, showing the social cultural structure and state policy of the period as well as the unique relations and manners of fire brigades,” Çulha said.

The restoration and inventory of the objects took nearly five years. “After a five-year comprehensive effort, we have prepared a selection of these objects and created this unique exhibition.”

Çulha mentioned the contributions of many organizations like the Brigade Museum, Istanbul Research Institute, Atatürk Library and Istanbul University’s unique artifacts collection. “Visitors will travel in time while seeing these documents, objects and photos belonging to these colorful persons,” she said.

A unique culture and lifestyle

Although the use of water pumps to fight fires began in the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe, mainly Hungary and France, it was first used in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 18th century by Gerçek Davud (originally David), an engineer of French origin living in Istanbul.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Life of Ottoman fire brigades displayed at Rezan Has Museum

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