Monday, 16 March 2009

Visiting the war museum at İnönü

İnönü is a small township in Eskişehir Province, it was also the location of the İnönü headquarters building an important strategic centre in the two battles of İnönü, part of the Turkish War of independence. Recently the old Ottoman style İnönü headquarters building has been restored and turned into a war museum, so knowing this my wife and I decided to go and have a look one winter’s day. Arriving in İnönü it was easy to find İnönü, is small and the locals were friendly enough to give us directions, typically upon arrival at the museum we found it locked. It crossed my mind that it may have closed for lunch, so again we asked some locals who told us that it’s always locked and you have to get the key from the post office.

The post master looked absolutely baffled “you want the key for the museum? You do realise this is the post office?” After a few more locals were pulled into the confusion a debate ensued and after some time it was agreed we should go to the municipal building, another friendly local escorted us there.
Again utter bafflement, the security guard seemed nonplussed so again a debate was hastily arranged with the staff of the building discussing the next course of action and eventually we were ushered into an office and told to wait. After some time in the office I became bored my wife sat there patiently whilst I began to meander around looking at the maps on the wall and photos of officials shaking hands, eventually a middle aged suited man entered the room at which point I felt slightly uncomfortable as I was standing directly behind his desk.
I sat down hurriedly next my wife and the man sat behind his desk, he then completely destroyed any expectations I had by ignoring us completely and starting to sort through paperwork! What do we do interrupt? Get up and leave? After what seem like eternity the man looked across and enquired why we were sitting in his office, my wife explained that we would like to see the museum but that it was locked, the man let out a sigh and began to launch into a diatribe about how they spent a lot of money restoring the building but couldn’t afford to pay for a security guard to wait around all day in case of visitors, he preceded to mumble on about how it wasn’t his responsibility and he didn’t have time, asking my wife if she was a student or was there a busload of students outside. Of course there wasn’t so the man apologised that he couldn’t help us today, slowly as we made to leave he noticed that I wasn’t Turkish and asked where I was from, my wife in a quick twist replied that I had come all the way from England to see the İnönü War Museum. No Turk could refuse then, he became very hospitable and personally escorted us to the museum and then walked round with us standing a discreet distance the entire time. I later found out that he was the Mayor.

If you are interested in Mustafa Kemal Atatürk or the Turkish War of Independence then it is a very interesting if small museum.
Also in İnönü are some fantastic large cave dwellings that our carved into the cliffs that overlook the town and The İnönü hang glider and parachute camp founded by Atatürk in 1936.

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