Zeki Muren Arts Museum Turkey

The Zeki Muren Arts Museum is dedicated to the famous Turkish classical music performer, Zeki Muren. He’s often known as the Elvis Presley of Turkey, and was a famous superstar who starred in a number of films, recorded lots of albums, and created popular artwork. His private life also got a lot of attention; he’s thought to be Turkey’s first gay icon, and the first man ever to wear a mini-skirt on stage.

Zeki Muren was born in Bursa, Turkey, in 1931, and died of a heart attack on stage in Izmir in 1996. From the 1950s to the 1980s, he performed in front of millions of people. He was known for wearing feminine dresses, huge rings and lots of make-up, and he played a major role in heightening the visibility of homosexuality in Turkey. In later life, he suffered from ill health and found peace in Bodrum when he moved here in the 1980s. He spent the last 20 years of his life living here.

The museum, which was opened by the Culture and Tourism Ministry in 2000, is located inside the little house he used to live in, and gives a fantastic opportunity to find out more about the man who has a very special place in Turkey’s popular culture.

A special man

Despite Zeki Muren’s immense wealth, the whitewashed home in which the museum is housed is pretty unassuming; you can easily walk past it. It pays homage to his life, with a whole host of memorabilia on display and his music plays in the background as you make your way through his home. The house is filled with flamboyant costumes, amazing shoes, loads of make-up and opulent jewellery. As you make your way through the rooms, you’ll see some ornate gilded furniture. You’ll see lots of his personal letters, and gain an insight into the life of this special man.

Zeki Muren Arts Museum is in the centre of Bodrum, and it’s pretty easy to find. You’ll find it on a street that bears his name, which is right at the end of Cumhuriyet Street (otherwise known as Bar Street). It’s also only a stroll from the entrance to the popular Halikarnus nightclub, if you’re in the mood for partying after all that high culture.

If you’re in Bodrum and fancy taking a break from the beaches, a trip to the Zeki Muren Arts Museum could be just the ticket. You’re free to take pictures in the museum, so bring a camera if you like. There’s a small entrance fee to pay and you should allow between 30 to 45 minutes to walk around the museum.