Grand Opening for '1001 Inventions' in Istanbul

The international 1001 Inventions exhibition was opened by the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the historic city of Istanbul on Wednesday, 18th August 2010.

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The international 1001 Inventions exhibition was opened by the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the historic city of Istanbul on Wednesday, 18th August 2010.

Figure 1: From left to right: Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas, Governor of Istanbul Muammar Guler, Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani Chairman of FSTC and "1001 Inventions", Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (centre), Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel Chairman of ALJ Community Initiatives and sponsor of "1001 Inventions", Minister of State for Science and Technology Mehmet Aydin, Culture Minister of Kargyzstan, Chairman of Research and Strategy Foundation Dr Akkan Suver.

The exhibition finished its record breaking residency at the Science Museum in London where it received more than 400,000 visitors, including the Turkish Prime Minister on his state visit to the United Kingdom in March 2010. On this occasion, HE invited "1001 Inventions" to Turkey. Istanbul becomes the first venue of the exhibition's five-year international tour.

The "1001 Inventions" project is an initiative of the British-based Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) and 1001 Inventions Ltd., in association with the Jameel Foundation. Featuring a diverse range of exhibits, interactive displays and dramatisation, the exhibition shows how many modern inventions, spanning fields such as engineering, medicine and design, can trace their roots back to Muslim civilisation.

The "1001 Inventions" exhibition in Istanbul, in partnership with the Prime Ministry and sponsored by ALJ Community Initiatives, is located at the Sultan Ahmet Square next to Hagia Sophia Museum and will stay for a total of 7 weeks, until the 5th of October 2010. More than 200,000 visitors are expected to enjoy a journey of discovery through the history of Muslim civilisation and discover the underappreciated scientific and cultural heritage from the Middle Ages that paved the way for the European Renaissance.

Figure 2: A poster of the exhibition "1001 Inventions" in Turkish.

At the opening ceremony on Wednesday 18 August, Prime Minister Erdogan expressed his gratitude to FSTC for bringing this ground-breaking touring exhibition to his nation's historic capital. To coincide with the launch, the best-selling book "1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage In Our World" has been translated into Turkish - the first time it has been translated into another language. Visitors to the exhibition in Istanbul will be the first to acquire this new edition of the publication. Many of the historic facts highlighted within the "1001 Inventions" exhibition have a special resonance with the history of Turkey and the Ottoman period.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Professor Salim TS Al-Hassani, Chairman of FSTC and Chief Editor of the "1001 Inventions" book, thanked the Turkish Prime Minister for his support in bringing the exhibition to Turkey. He also explained how the project was enriched by heritage from the Turkish region. He said: "Our gallery showcases dozens of exhibits from the history of Muslim civilisation which included the Turkish region. For example, our visitors will discover that Turkey is responsible for giving the world immunisation, suction pumps, rocket powered flight and the oldest surviving detailed map of the Americas. The Turkish region was also home to engineering geniuses like Al-Jazari and Taqi al-Din, whose machines and mechanisms are key in plants and agricultural industries and master architects like Sinan whose influence can be seen throughout the capitals of Europe."

He continued: "Our aim is to improve mainstream understanding of Muslim contribution to arts, science, technology and the development of modern civilisation and this interactive exhibition does this by bringing to a wider audience eye-opening facts and astounding stories that impact upon us in today's modern word".

Some of these include:

  • The world's first rocket powered flight, carried out by Lagari Hasan Celebi, who soared above Istanbul's Bosphorus strait in the 17th century.
  • A five-metre high recreation of the ‘Elephant Clock' produced in the 13th century by master engineer Al-Jazari in what is now southern Turkey.
  • The story of inoculation and immunization, a concept imported from Turkey.
  • How the architecture of landmark buildings across Europe was inspired by architects like Sinan of Turkey.
  • Reproduction of the pistons-crank systems and suction pumps used by engineering pioneers like Taqi Al-Din and Al-Jazari.
  • Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi, the first person to successfully fly between two continents in a glider.
  • Serefeddin Sabuncuoglu, who invented numerous surgical instruments and wrote one of the first illustrated handbooks on surgery.
  • How Ottoman administrators made important advances in the field of town planning.
  • Spa treatments developed in Turkish Hammams which are now widely practiced around the world.
  • How the Turkish language inspired many English words (like "Yogurt", "Crimson" and "Kiosk").

Figure 3: Photo of Mayor of Fatih district of Istanbul with Professpr Salim Al-Hassani surrounded by enthusiatic Turkish children after vising the "1001 Inventions" exhibition.

The 1001 Inventions exhibition in Istanbul runs from August 18th, 2010 until October 5th, 2010 at the Sultan Ahmet Square, Istanbul, Turkey. It is open every day from 10.00am (morning) till 3.00am (night) with free of charge entrance.

Further information about the exhibition is available at the official website www.1001inventions.com and the Turkish-language website www.1001icat.com which was created specially for the exhibition's opening in Istanbul.

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