Jazari, the great genius and engineer of the Middle Ages, was the chief engineer of the Artuqid state, a prosperous society in the fertile land of Mesopotamia in the 1200s. Inspired by this great engineer, Tekhnelogos pioneered a museum initiative focusing on the reconstructions of Jazari’s machines, tracing the history of mechanics from the invention of the wheel to the steam engine with a magnificent collection. The Istanbul Jazari Museum, which is the locomotive of our heritage projects, was founded following 20 years of labor by our honorary president Durmus Caliskan. In 2019, the museum opened its doors and won a special place in the hearts of visitors with its first exhibition, “Jazari’s Extraordinary Machines.”
The Machines Work
The most important feature of the unique machines of the history of mechanics in the museum’s collection is that they are working reconstructions. Durmus Caliskan re-designed Jazari’s machines in accordance with their originals; he personally produced some of these machines while in good health. In the museum workshop, expanded by Tekhnelogos following Caliskan’s death, amazes visitors with its working reproductions of many Jazari’s machines, produced using the mechanical principles Jazari designed and with the materials he envisioned. In addition to Jazari’s machines, the museum’s collection also has other working machines from the pre-and post-Jazari periods.
Jazari Sheds Light on the Future
Jazari and other important geniuses of the history of mechanics inspire visitors, especially children and young people, with their passion for their work, their perseverance and determination, and their creative solutions to the mechanical challenges of their day. The first goal of our museum is to inspire creativity and original ideas in our visitors. In addition, we also want children to gain a mental vision of nature and to connect with the earth and nature through science.
For a More Livable World
The discipline of engineering is about developing solutions while working within constraints. One of the museum’s greatest contributions to its visitors is that it shows that even in very ancient times, despite the constraints of the age, people were able to develop a world of different engineering solutions. Jazari’s work was influenced by the Greek mechanics before him, and he himself influenced the Renaissance mechanics who followed him. This universal continuity encourages visitors to participate in the joint effort of contributing to the development of humanity and making the world a more livable place. The museum’s exhibitions, which point to the historical origins of the knowledge we have today, also make an important contribution to the development of historical consciousness.
A Combination of Art and Technique
The most important feature of Jazari’s engineering is that it combines art with technique, through machines that don’t just perform a function but also tell a story. Jazari’s machines employ a wide variety of mechanical techniques, and many of their mechanical elements were revolutionary in their day. This is because Jazari’s concept of machines wasn’t just a functional one—he viewed them as an artistic means of telling a story. Jazari thus pushed the bounds of the mechanical as far as possible to create an artistic effect and thereby raised the engineering knowledge of his era to tremendous heights. But Jazari’s understanding of art was not limited to aesthetics; he also considered art a vehicle for humanity’s search for meaning, and he employed his machines, in conjunction with theater, as a means toward that end.
The World’s Richest Medieval Mechanical Collection
The Jazari Museum has the richest collection in the world in the field of medieval mechanical history. In addition to the reconstruction of more than 25 of Jazari’s machines, the museum also has other machines belonging to the pre- and post-Jazari periods. In addition to these machines, the museum has mechanical-principle assemblies that interactively show visitors some of the working principles involved in how the machines function. The colorful story of the history of mechanics is also enriched by many digital kiosks, visual posters, replicas, and dioramas centered on the machines.
The Exhibition Will Travel the World
The Istanbul Jazari Museum is an initiative founded under the leadership of Tekhnelogos, its main sponsor. In order to introduce the museum collection to the world, the museum’s debut exhibition, which was first opened in Istanbul with the name “Jazari’s Extraordinary Machines,” will travel to big cities around the world, where it will continue to tell the colorful and inspiring tale of Jazari and the broader story of mechanical history. To bring the exhibition to your city, contact the Istanbul Jazari Museum.
The Istanbul Jazari Museum uses a modern language to interpret a great cultural legacy, one which, despite being centuries old, was waiting to be unearthed. Through the sponsorship of Tekhnelogos and the admirable efforts of our devoted team, we managed to bring together the engineering principles emphasized by Jazari and the artistic manner in which he expressed them, presenting them to modern audiences in the form of a world-class museum designed around entertainment, experience, and interaction. We are very proud of the result, and are now working on the routes our exhibition will travel in its journey around the world.
Cezeri Müzesi Blog
Furkan Can Yelkenci
Mechanical Design Engineer
We were inspired to develop the Istanbul Jazari Museum project by the magnificent legacy of Jazari, the greatest engineer of the Middle Ages and one of the world’s foremost engineering geniuses. Through the guidance of Jazari’s Book of Knowledge, we proceeded with an aim of simultaneously mobilizing the scientific curiosity and the artistic creativity of people from all walks of life. As Tekhnelogos engineers, we are proud to have been able to take part in activities that shed light on science and humanity through our reconstructions and the original designs we have extracted from the dusty pages of history.