29 February 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

The Old Fisherman Founded the Turkish Sea Creatures Museum

The sea gives another life to man, sometimes love, sometimes a disappointment, often a longing. The sea is reminiscent of a fairy tale. A tale of the undiscovered and magical a tale.

A Turkish fisherman in Istanbul recently founded a museum of sea creatures with 15,000 mummified items to inspire children.

Kenan Balcı was born in 1956 in the Arpaçay district of northeastern Kars province. His passion for sea and fish never left him alone. Now the room wants to pass on this passion to future generations.

Balcı established the Turkish Sea Creatures Museum, where he exhibits more than 15,000 sea creatures in the Beylikdüzü district of Istanbul, with students showing great interest in his works.

Balcı, known as fisherman Kenan, spent his childhood fishing in a stream with a fishing line he made using his mother’s quilting needle and thread.

Kenan balcı
Kenan Balcı founded the Turkish Sea Creatures Museum. Photo: AA

“I used to take it without telling my mother. I heated that needle in the shape of a fishing line, and was fishing with the quilting needle and thread,” he said.

“As a 10-year-old child, I could catch 2-3 kilograms (4.4-6.6 pounds) of fish,” Balcı told Anadolu Agency (AA).

His passion for fish started in those early years and Balcı got acquainted with the sea and the Bosporus in the Turkish metropolis Istanbul when his family moved there in 1969.

Insisting on becoming a fisherman despite his family’s objections, Balcı used to rush to the shore after school to fish and make friends with other fishermen in the historical Kadıköy district, where they first settled.

Thornback ray, Turkish Sea Creatures Museum, İstanbul, Turkey. Photo: AA
Thornback ray, Turkish Sea Creatures Museum, İstanbul, Turkey. Photo: AA

His mother used to complain every day as his school uniform smelled of fish, he said, “But I still continued to go fishing every day.” He did not want to continue studying after elementary school and wanted to become a fisherman.

After heeding his father’s advice and trying jobs in different fields, Balcı was finally able to persuade his family to open a fish store and he started to cure fish with salt and mummify them with special mixtures.

Today, Balcı has a massive collection of mummified sea creatures, which he wants to use to instill a love for the sea and fish in the hearts of the next generation.

“I am 65 years old. I have enough of everything, but not the sea or fish,” Balcı cracked a smile.

Cover Photo: Anadolu Agency (AA)

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