ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkey’s first Madame Tussauds wax museum will open in December this year.
The museum will boast 60 local and international wax figures from the worlds of politics, sports and culture, said the organizer on Tuesday.
Speaking at a news conference in Istanbul, Sarper Hilmi Suner, general manager of Madame Tussauds Istanbul, said that the wax figures will include the likes of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic, Mazhar Fuat Ozkan, one of Turkey’s oldest pop bands, Turkey’s legendary music idol Zeki Muren and American information technology entrepreneur Steve Jobs.
The world’s 21st Madame Tussauds museum in the world will also feature a wax figure of Mevlana Rumi, a 13th-century poet-philosopher.
A direct 22nd generation descendant of the mystic was used as a model, Suner said.
Mimar Sinan, the Ottoman Empire’s most renowned architect, will also have his own wax figure.
The museum will be located on Istanbul’s teeming Istiklal Street in the newly renovated Grand Pera building’s 2,000-square-meter area, encompassing two floors.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Marcel Kloos, director of New Openings Europe and Emerging Markets of British company Merlin Entertainments, the owner of the Madame Tusseauds brand, did not want to give an exact amount of the investment.
“We spent some millions like we do with every attraction,” he said. “It is below 10 million pounds [$14,62 million].”
“We think it [Istanbul] is a perfect fit because it is an uprising city. It is young, it is vibrant,” he said.
Kloos said that his favorite wax figure was Ataturk’s:
“Probably for Istanbul, I think Ataturk is relevant, we are in a process to have a great figure of him and I think that’s why he is becoming one of my favorites,” he said.
Barcelona star Lionel Messi and pop idol Madonna figures were displayed before the press on today’s event.
Merlin Entertainments already operate Sea Life and LEGOLAND in Istanbul. The company runs 110 attractions in 23 countries across four continents, according to its official website.