Marmara kancabaş - İstanbul Caique   (16-19th century)

Bosphorus coaster of Ottomans


     Generally these boats are used around of the Marmara Sea and Bosphorus. Actually, these are coasters that used to transporting light duty. They are designed for marine transportation. The life of “Marmara Kancabaşı” is began at the beginning of 16th century and continued until the Mid- 19th century according to the first historical documentation that can be found. Different types of Marmara Kancabaşı are very similar characteristically to each other. İn usually their length are 15–20 m. They are built in İznik Gulf and İzmit Gulf in Marmara Sea. It is drawn the plan in collection of “Souvenirs de marine” in 1855. The scales of real apparition of the model are like this: Length 15 meters, width 3,83 meters and depth 2 meters.


     There are two stair decks on bow[1]and stern[2] of boat according to historical plan. Usually transported goods were place beneath the decks for to be protected from sun and rain. It was covered with thick cloth onto other goods on decks. There were two warehouse entries[3] at bow and stern.

[1] Bow: The front end of a ship.

[2] Stern: Backward of a ship.

[3] Warehouse: Space available for storing something in a ship.


      It was attached total four portable seats over wood wedges[1] on bulkheads[2] at right side and left side in board of boat. It was put  plank bridges on that seats. Thus seamen were going across in easily between two decks. Marmara Kancabaşı coasters are very wide and heavy boats. There were two extra help keels in paralel to the main keel. Two extra help keels had been protected the boat against the probable damages during taking to shore. These can be seen on stern section drawing on plan easily. Marmara Kancabaşı boat is equipped with two flock[3] sails, one velestralya[4] sail and three gabya[5] sails.

[1] Wedge: A piece of wood, metal, or some other material having one thick end and tapering to a thin edge.

[2] Bulkhead: A dividing wall or barrier between compartments in a ship. 

[3] Jib sail (Wikipedia)

[4] Velestralya: Staysail (Wikipedia)

[5] Gabya: Sails at the top of the main sail.


      İn addition, a colored flag on main mast[1] has been waved. This flag is seen in detail at the plan. We can see flags in yellow at a painting, and in red at the other. The color of a flag on main mast has showed its boat quay or harbour. (Etc. Çatladıkapı, Hasköy, Ayazmakapı.) Maltese painter Amadeo Preziosi has made several oil painting in 1860. The painter has used different colors for flags on main masts at his oil paintings.

[1] Mast: A tall upright post, spar, or other structure on a ship or boat.


    Gilded wood embossing and carving decorations are located at bow and stern sides of boat. It is used in bright colors at decorations on bow and stern according to the studies. As stated in the plan; there are also the decorations on rudder[1] and tiller[2]. There are embossed vine[3] pattern on bow and stern of boat. This pattern is used a lot by Ottomans.

    The head of boat is a helmsman at the same time. He had been stood on top of two chests on aft deck and checked it by pulling or pushing tiller. İt was very hard to control the rudder because of the tiller was extremely curved. There are support elements under the deck.

[1] Rudder: A flat piece of wood, metal, or plastic, hinged vertically near the stern of a boat or ship for steering.

[2] Tiler: A horizontal bar fitted to the head of a boat's rudder post and used as a lever for steering  

[3] Vine: The slender stem of a trailing or climbing plant


   “Marmara Kancabaşı” has inspired to many painters of İstanbul. Therefore it is painted it by many painters. Especially it is possible to view detailed images of “Marmara kancabaşı” on Maltese Amadeo Preziosi’s pictures. He is a famous painter of old İstanbul. İt is not given any information about background color and painting of “Marmara Kancabaşı” at the plan of “Souvenirs de marine collection”. 


   ""Model and its all accessories are made and built by model maker Fatih KARALAR. It is prepared the model according to a scale of 1:32. The length, width and depth of model are 46,9 cm., 12,2 cm. and 6,4 cm. It is no used fabricated materials during building the model. It is painted with air-brush and ended with spray mat varnish. It is used ramin tree at planking and walnut, hornbeam and cambare trees at other areas on this model. The orijinal plan of “Marmara Kancabaşı” is taken from “Souvenirs de marine” collection. (1855). The orijinal plan is particularly computerized analysis and re-drawn by modeler Fatih Karalar. The model and its accessories are shaped by historical documents and data on the orijinal plan.There is no data related to about the its color in the plan of the model.""



    Written by Nihat KARALAR