The Imperial Caiques, which symbolize power and might in Ottoman history, have sailed from the dusty pages of history books to our day. These pleasant caiques that can be seen sailing on the cool water of the Bosporus are about to become the symbols of İstanbul with their majesty stemming from the past.
Beauties blinding the eyes with their splendor and nobility on the cool water of the Bosporus: the Imperial Caiques. Being the symbols of the culture of Ottoman times, these caiques were redesigned according to their originals and launched in 2002 as a result of private efforts. A unique trip with the nostalgic Imperial Caiques among the historical sites and natural beauties of İstanbul may be an ideal choice.
The Ottoman history The Imperial Caiques have served a number of sultans of the Ottoman Dynasty. An Imperial Caique is a kind of boat that is specially designed not only for sultans but also for their family members. These narrow and long boats, which were used by the sultans and their relatives during daily city trips and the meetings with the public on Fridays, were built carefully in such a manner that they symbolize the might of the state. At those times, Imperial Caiques differed in their length, their ornamentation and the number of oars from other boats. Aysel Büyükdağ, Sales and Marketing Manager responsible for the Imperial Caiques, has answered our questions:
The main purpose for the Imperial Caiques, which a historical value, is to make out of them a symbol of Turkey. The idea of the Imperial Caiques came first from our General Manager, Gülsun Bozkurt, as an inspiration by the gondolas in Venice. The Imperial Caiques we saw at the Naval Museum were rebuilt in the shipyard in Kastamonu-Cide. Now, they are unique details on the waters of
the Bosphorus. The design of these boats is faithful to their original. They are the same with the original Imperial Caiques in color, the eagle figures in their prow and their details. The only difference is that the current boats have a bigger seating area and fewer oars. Although people do not know very well what Imperial Caiques are and how they look, they have a general idea. Our goal is to promote these boats also abroad.
Currently, we have 3 Imperial Caiques. Our goal is to have 10 caiques by 2010. All caiques can seat 30 persons. A captain, two oarsmen and an operations officer is accompanying our guests. The Imperial Caiques have engines, but we stop the engine after having left the pier to enable our guests to watch the show of the oarsmen. The Imperial Caiques, which are the only vessels for which a protocol has been signed with the Agency for National Palaces, are following 4 different itineraries. Our first tour covers the Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi Palaces. Our second tour, the price per person of which is 76 YTL, visits the Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi Palaces and the Küçüksu Summer Palace. Our third tour is in the form of a one-hour Bosporus tour. It starts and ends at the Dolmabahçe Palace. The Golden Horn Tour of 45 minutes costs 20 YTL per person and is our fourth tour. The tours 1,2 and 3 take place every day except Mondays and Thursdays.
Tour 4, on the other hand, takes place only on Mondays and Thursdays. These tours can last longer or shorter according to the size and requests of the groups. All four packages include the lemonade and the Turkish Delights offered by the oarsmen, who wear their traditional outfit during the tours, and the entrance to the palaces. Beyond these packages, we offer also alternative itineraries. There are for example Full Moon Nights, bride and groom transfers and circumcision organizations – both highly demanded in the summer season – Turkish Nights and drum shows. An important feature of the Imperial Caiques is that that they can stop by at almost every corner of the Bosporus for transfers. We have also groups performing traditional Turkish music. Such organizations can be diversified upon request.
Domestic and foreign tourists show an equal interest towards the Imperial Caiques. When the caiques are sailing on the Bosporus, everybody on the shore takes their picture. In terms of participation, the demand from the foreign market is a little bit higher. But locally, there is a high demand especially for organizations of associations and companies. Since our boats are looking very unique and beautiful, people feel themselves special and happy when they are in them. Our main purpose related to tourism is to promote these caiques, which were the symbols of power and might in Ottoman times, not only within the country but in the whole world. To this end, we are ready to cooperate with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, all professional associations, which are involved in the promotion of Turkey, travel agencies and hotels. Phone: (0.212) 296 52 40, Fax: (0.212) 296 52 46Web site: www.sultankayiklari.com