Turkey: The (so far) headless crocodile

source: StadiumDB.com; author: michał

Turkey: The (so far) headless crocodile Bursa mayor officially confirmed that Timsah Arena is ready. But wait, the “Crocodile Arena” is still missing its crucial part: the head.


On Tuesday the mayor of Bursa Recep Altepe officially visited Timsah Arena, the largest stadium currently under construction in Turkey. As is very often the case in Turkey, the city didn’t show too much of the stadium itself. Rather it showed the mayor with stadium used as background for his personal photoshoot. Nobody wants the fans to forget who built it for them, right (even if they paid for it)?

Timsah Arena

We selected the photos that showed the least of Altepe and most of the stadium to show it to you in our construction section.

Ready, but not quite

Structurally the Crocodile Arena is indeed almost able to hold games already. Even small details are here, like water waiting for the players in their bathtub, club symbols in main hall, giant screens and sound system. 45,000 seats are also installed, creating a dynamic green-blue pattern.

Timsah Arena

So if it’s ready, what do we mean by “not quite”? Well, the head. According to the project documentation there should be a massive head attached to the north end of the stadium, facing nearby highway. But it’s not there yet. The lower jaw is in place, teeth are already mounted onto it, but the rest is still to come. Two cranes arrived yesterday to mount upper part of the reptilian head. Also missing so far is the translucent lower membrane that will envelop the stadium throughout. As we wrote, its colour was subject to significant controversy.

Teksas caged

In the official press release mayor Altepe is proud of the “most prestigious project in Bursa that will serve for 100 years”. Wherever he looked, the stadium “shined from all sides”.

Well, not for the fans and journalists, who just one day after the official visitation released rather unpleasant images of tall fencing inside the stadium. Should this be the away section, it wouldn’t raise much concern – that’s still a regular feature in Turkey and many other countries.

Timsah Arena

But in this case it’s the home fans of Teksas, most vibrant community of Bursaspor supporters, who are caged. This results in thousands (by our estimate a couple thousand) of seats with obstructed views. Those most affected (rows closest to the fence) will make watching the game nearly impossible for fans even when standing.

Opening delayed time and time again

It was due in August, then September, but as of today the official opening is still a thing of the future. And it’s worth noting that Bursaspor supporters have been waiting for quite some time. Groundbreaking took place back in 2011 and the original delivery time was set for 2013!

Timsah Arena

Theoretically the only thing missing is… no, not the crocodile head, the stadium can operate without it. It’s the identification and surveillance systems that everyone’s waiting for. So not only are the October games out of question, but also the ones scheduled for November. And quite a shame that is, because this Sunday Bursaspor are facing their archrivals from Istanbul, Besiktas. Although it should be noted that after significant price increase for tickets (popular Maraton stand costs $35 / €32) there’s been really no rush among fans. Only under 1,500 tickets for the old stadium were sold on Wednesday, when sale began.

There’s no solid opening announced at this point. The most likely first game to be played here is the Super Lig tie against Trabzonspor in mid-January of 2016.