European Route of Industrial Heritage
The European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) is a network of important and interesting industrial heritage sites. The route spans from disused production plants to industrial landscape parks and interactive technology museums across Europe. These sites, all together, tell the story of European industrialization and its lasting cultural, social, and economic legacies.
In Türkiye, there is one European Route of Industrial Heritage “Anchor Point,” namely santralistanbul Museum of Energy in İstanbul, and eight sites on the route. Anchor Points are defined by the Council of Europe as “member sites of the ERIH association with special historical importance in terms of industrial heritage which also offer a high quality visitor experience.”
santralistanbul Museum of Energy
The Ottoman Empire's first power plant went into service in 1914. Until 1952, santralistanbul was İstanbul's only electricity supplier. Today, it houses the santralistanbul Museum of Energy.
İstanbul Aviation Museum
The İstanbul Aviation Museum holds a substantial number of civilian and military aircraft, some of considerable importance in the history of aviation. The exhibits tell the story of Turkish aviation from the Ottoman times onwards.
The present museum dates from initiatives of the 1960s and was completed in 1983. The museum is dominated by rows of Phantoms, Sabres, and other jets. There are also military helicopters, anti-aircraft guns, and missiles displayed at the museum.
İstanbul Railway Museum
The İstanbul Railway Museum is small in scale but testifies to an important aspect of European history. It was established in 2005 in the part of the Sirkeci railway station that dates back to 1888-90 and was once the terminus of the Orient Express, the famous long-distance luxury passenger train that connected Paris and Calais to İstanbul. Today, Sirkeci railway station only handles local trains.
The museum displays are principally devoted to the Orient Express and other luxury trains of the closing years of the nineteenth century and the first three quarters of the twentieth century. Items on exhibit include crockery, silverware, and the soft furnishings used on the famous trains.
Rahmi M. Koç Industrial Museum
The Rahmi M. Koç Museum is located on the northern shore of Golden Horn in İstanbul. The museum collection, in very general terms, consists of communication and transportation items, representing very fine examples of industrial archaeology. Walkable captain bridges, a real submarine at the jetty, and beautiful miniature railways make the museum evenly interesting for both children and adults.
Bursa Merinos Energy Museum
The museum opened in 2012 in the defunct power plant of the Bursa Merinos wool factory. The factory was built in 1938 and the dedicated power station continued to be in use until 1973, fired by coal. The museum explores the importance of electricity in daily life and in industrial production through photographs, documents, models, graphic material, and films. There are hundreds of original artifacts here and many examples of equipment that use electricity, such as radios, washing machines, and lamps.
Merinos Textile Industry Museum
The textile factory was opened by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), the founding father of the Republic of Türkiye, in person in 1938. The plan was to use fine-quality fleeces of merino sheep in Bursa imported from Australia to produce textiles. The museum has a section on silk manufacturing, which has a very long history in Bursa. The exhibited artifacts follow the process of silk production from the cocoons of the silkworms to the final fabric.
Tofaş Museum of Cars and Anatolian Carriages
The museum opened in 2002 in a former silk factory and displays the collection of the Tofaş company, which has manufactured cars in Bursa since 1971, collaborating with Fiat and other brands. All the automobiles on show here were manufactured by the automobile maker Tofaş. Its first models were the Murat 124 and the Tofaş Şahin, both licensed by Fiat. More recent models are the Fiat Palio, which races in international rally championships, and a 4x4 developed by Tofaş for the Dakar Rally. The museum also mounts changing exhibitions on automotive themes.
Çamlık Railway Museum
The Çamlık Railway Museum is located 12 km from the town of Selçuk near Ephesus, on the former İzmir–Aydın Railway (also known as the Ottoman Railway Company), the oldest railway line in Türkiye. The Çamlık Railway Museum uses the original tracks, built in 1866, that were otherwise abandoned when the main line was realigned. The outdoor museum is set in a beautiful garden and was opened in 1997. The museum presents visitors, among others, with more than 30 steam locomotives, built between 1891 and 1951, passenger carriages, and freight wagons.
Seka Paper Mill
Construction of the Seka Paper Mill in northwest Anatolia began in 1934. The mill was widely seen as a symbol of Türkiye’s industrialization under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The company was privatized in 1997 and production ceased in 2005. There are regular workshops held here that teach traditional papermaking techniques, calligraphy, and paper marbling.