The Şahinbey Museum of National Struggle is situated on Şehitler Street in the Ulucanlar district of Gaziantep. This historical building, with its 12 rooms and underground caves, houses the contemporary museum which was established to convey to current and future generations the importance of the heroic national struggle against British and French occupation, a struggle that earned the people of Antep the title ‘Gazi’ (war veteran).
Vistors to the museum are directed through the various exhibition and display sections of the building, following a chronological path. At the end of these sections lies the entrance to the underground caves.
On entering the caves, visitors are met by a number of animatronic models set in a variety of scenes each depicting a moment from history. These visual scenes aim to provoke an emotional response in museum visitors. The caves also present and bring to life various tableaux from the time period before the war of independence. One example of these is the soap factory scene where a multi-dimensional light projection show and sound effects are also used. Using a variety of light shows and interactive displays, the museum aims to present visitors with an engaging representation of Gaziantep’s heroic and legendary role in Turkey’s War of Independence, highlighting the resistance and struggle of the people.
Documents displayed in the museum tell the story of the Gaziantep resistance in chronological order, and exhibits include pieces of British and French weaponry, and various objects and weapons used by the local residents such as pistols, hunting rifles, swords, daggers, meat cleavers, axes, shovels and hatchets. Buildings next door to the museum are used as a museum workshop, a museum library and conference rooms. The last cave section, that leads to the exit on to İhsan Bey Kasteli street, has been nominated as a temporary exhibition area. The scene here depicts the moment on 15 July 2016 when Ömer Halisdemir stood up to the putschists attempting an armed coup, masterminded by the terror organization FETÖ, attacking our democracy, our independence, and our peace and unity. The scene serves as a reminder of the importance of national struggle and protecting national will.