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Orhan Kemal Museum

Akarsu Caddesi No. 30, Cihangir

Mon – Sat 10.00–18.00

This small museum paying tribute to one of the greats of Turkish literature, Orhan Kemal, gives an illuminating glimpse into his life. It houses has a substantial collection of photos of Kemal with his family and other Turkish intellectuals; a complete set of the first editions of his books; his personal belongings (including some of the paraphernalia he kept from his prison days with Nazim Hikmet); a statue of his head by Turkish sculptor Filinta Önal and his personal correspondence. Perhaps the most interesting part is the display of Kemal’s room complete with his bed, desk and typewriter, two suits and a beautiful travel chest. Next door to the building of the museum is a replica of the Ikbal Kahvesi, once a popular literary hangout in Nuruosmaniye which has been torn down. (Note: all information in the museum is in Turkish).

Orhan Kemal (1914–1970), the son of a Member of Parliament from the first term of the Turkish Republic, was best known for his realist portrayals of different voices in Turkish society. An activist as well as a writer, he spent five years in prison between the ages of 24 and 29 for his ‘alternative’ political opinions. In prison, he met the poet Nazim Hikmet who proved to be an important influence on Kemal throughout his life.

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Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
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