World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0006770137
Reproduction Date:

Title: Caïque  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Levant Schooner Flotilla, Istanbul Naval Museum, Kaiki, Arini, Fishing vessels
Collection: Boat Types, Fishing Vessels, Turkish Words and Phrases
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Caïque waiting to be finished

A caïque (Greek: καΐκι, kaiki, from Turkish: kayık [1]) is the term for a traditional fishing boat usually found among the waters of the Ionian or Aegean Sea, and also a light skiff used on the Bosporus.[1] It is traditionally a small wooden trading vessel, brightly painted and rigged for sail. The caïque is also a typical case of positioning the widest beam far aft, with a long sharp bow.[2]


  • Aegean fishing boat 1
    • Construction 1.1
    • Modern-day use 1.2
  • Bosporus light skiff 2
  • Etymology 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Aegean fishing boat


Caïques were built on the foreshore in a shipyard, from pine wood.

The hull of the craft is built with sawn ribs and a timber keel, stem, etc. covered with carvel planking, terminated with the deck. The frame of the craft is often painted with orange primer, to preserve and seal the timber. The caïque usually has a short mast .

A bowsprit is stayed by rigging. In the stern of the caïque the predominant form is the tiller. These wooden steering arms are sometimes carved in the face of a dog or animal. The caïque often has a horizontal windlass mounted over the bow. The bow is also known in Greek as the proura or plowri, similar to the English prow.

Most caïques are painted white, to counter the powerful sun, with the strakes and topsides in vivid chromatic colors. The name of the boat is painted or carved on a tablet, on the planking below the bow.

Each caïque is unique. The majority are built from the boatbuilder's craft and memory having no plans. The bow post distinguishes the caïque from other Mediterranean working boats.

Modern-day use

Traditionally the caïque was used for fishing and trawling. Of late they have become a short excursion vessel, and former fishermen make money from the summer tourist trade on the busy islands, such as Corfu (Kerkyra) and Mykonos.

The art of the boatbuilder is dying as plastic and fiberglass craft supersede the wooden craft.

Bosporus light skiff

Ottoman Imperial caïques in the Istanbul Naval Museum.
Ottoman Imperial caïques in the Istanbul Naval Museum.

Caïque is also the term for a light skiff or long, narrow rowboat used especially on the Bosporus, Turkey.[3]

Historically, a caïque was a boat of 5–6 meters (16–20 ft) in length, and 1 meter (3 ft) in width, used mainly for transportation. It had a shape similar to that of a skate. Both ends of it were in such a form that it could be rowed in either direction with equal ease. The sides consisted of two long embellished boards. There were also lateral boards supporting the sides against water pressure.

There were also imperial caïques used by the Ottoman sultans and his suite for ceremonial and daily excursion purposes. The size and grandeur of this type, adorned with imperial armorials and floral scrolls, was a reflection of his royal power. Another feature of imperial caiques was the deck pavilion, a partition or a small kiosk for the Sultan. By reason of this feature they were also called the pavilion caïques.

Today, ordinary caïques are used mainly for local fishing purposes, and the current imperial caïques are modern reconstructions utilized for touristic purposes only.


From the French caïque, from the Italian caicco, from the Turkish kayık (the source of the word loaned into the Greek kaiki and ultimately the English word as well), from the Ottoman Turkish qayïq or qayïk), related to the Persian qayeq but ultimately from the Old Turkic qayghug and qayghuq. [4][5][6]


  1. ^ a b "caique". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster Online. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  2. ^ Robertson, J. C. The Mechanics' Magazine, Museum, Register, Journal, and Gazette. Page 314
  3. ^ "caique". Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  4. ^ Penwith District Council - Boat Types
  5. ^ The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology "caique: light boat used in the Mediterranean. XVII. - French caïque - Italian caicco - Turkish kayik.
  6. ^ American Heritage Dictionary, 2000 - Caique entry


  • Gülersoy, Çelik. The Caique. Istanbul Library, 1991.
  • Gautier, Théophile. Constantinople of To-day. David Bogue, 1854.
  • Turkish Naval Museum. From Collections - Imperial Caiques. Retrieved on 2009-02-28.

External links

  • - on the BosphoruscaiquesImperial
  • Caïques of the Sultans - caiquesPhoto gallery of Imperial
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.