Istanbul is a city that hosts a fascinating blend of history and culture. This enchanting city is home to many world-renowned museums. Museums in Istanbul offer an opportunity to embark on a journey into the depths of the past and provide visitors with a chance to learn more about the rich heritage of this city.
For those who want to trace the footsteps of history and art, Istanbul is filled with museums that showcase stunning collections. Topkapi Palace Museum is an elegant palace that reflects the grandeur of the Ottoman Empire. Hagia Sophia Museum, a unique structure that has served as both a church and a mosque over a thousand years, houses magnificent artifacts. Istanbul Archaeology Museums, on the other hand, hold treasures from ancient times.
For art enthusiasts, the Istanbul Modern Art Museum displays the richness of contemporary Turkish art, while the Sakip Sabanci Museum hosts captivating works of both Turkish and international art.
If you have an interest in maritime history, the Istanbul Naval Museum will mesmerize you with its collection of maritime equipment and ships.
For those interested in Turkish culture and handicrafts, the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum exhibits special items such as historical manuscripts, carpets, and miniatures.
Visiting museums in Istanbul allows you to take a closer look at the city’s past and culture. Each one of these museums offers a unique experience, making them treasure troves for anyone eager to explore the history and culture of Istanbul. Situated at the heart of Istanbul, these museums open doors to take you on a journey into the enchanting tale of this city’s past and its vibrant present. Exploring museums in Istanbul is an unforgettable way to delve deeper into the fascinating story of this city.
Discover the best museums in Istanbul
Istanbul is home to numerous incredible museums. Here are some of the top museums in Istanbul:
- Istanbul Museum of Modern Art: Regarded as a pioneer of modern Turkish art, this museum showcases contemporary art pieces.
- Topkapi Palace Museum: Located in Istanbul, the former capital of the Ottoman Empire, this magnificent palace reflects the city’s historical and cultural heritage and boasts a rich collection.
- Hagia Sophia Museum: Hagia Sophia, a historic structure that has served various purposes from the Byzantine Empire to the present day, houses significant historical artifacts.
- Istanbul Archaeology Museums: These museums house an extensive archaeological collection, featuring important artifacts from ancient times.
- Rahmi Koc Museum: Focusing on industrial history, this museum exhibits a wide range of items, from automobiles to maritime equipment.
- Sakip Sabanci Museum: This museum not only showcases Turkish art but also international art pieces. Additionally, it offers a stunning view of the Bosphorus.
- Pera Museum: Pera Museum concentrates on Ottoman-era and Turkish art and stands out with its ever-changing exhibitions.
- Istanbul Naval Museum: A great choice for those interested in maritime history, this museum displays ships, maps, and maritime equipment.
- Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts: This museum focuses on Islamic art and Turkish handicrafts, housing unique artifacts.
- Miniaturk: Displaying miniature models of real locations in Turkey, this open-air museum reflects the historical and cultural heritage of the country.
There are many more museums to explore in Istanbul. Depending on your interests, you can consider visiting different museums, each offering a unique glimpse into the city’s history and culture.
Istanbul Museum of Modern Art
Istanbul Modern Art Museum, abbreviated as Istanbul Modern, is a modern art museum located in the Karaköy district of Istanbul, Turkey. It was established in 2004 and is the first museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art in Turkey. Positioned between Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and the Tophane-i Amire Culture and Arts Center, the museum was founded under the leadership of the Eczacıbaşı family and by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV). It first opened its doors to the public on December 11, 2004, in Warehouse Number 4.
In 2018, due to renovation work on the original building, the museum was relocated to a new building in Beyoğlu. In 2022, the Beyoğlu location was closed, and a new museum building was constructed at its original site, reopening to visitors on May 4, 2023. The museum’s collection features works of modern art encompassing various mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, design, architecture, and new media.
The museum was established through the conversion of Warehouse Number 4, an 8,000-square-meter dry cargo depot originally built for the Turkish Maritime Enterprises in the Karaköy port. Prior to serving as a museum, Warehouse Number 4 hosted the 8th International Istanbul Biennial in 2003. After the biennial, the Turkish Prime Ministry designated the building to be turned into a museum, with the stipulation that its construction be completed before December 17, the date when negotiations for Turkey’s EU membership were scheduled to begin. Istanbul Modern, designed to be a museum by Tabanlıoğlu Architecture, was opened to the public on December 11, 2004.
Between 2018 and 2022, the building underwent reconstruction as part of the Galataport project. During this period, the museum continued its operations in the former Union Française building on Meşrutiyet Avenue in Beyoğlu.
The new museum building, which replaced the old one, was redesigned by the architecture firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), founded by the renowned architect Renzo Piano. It is a five-story structure, with three above ground and two below. The museum relocated to its new building in 2022. The new museum building was reconstructed at its original location and reopened to visitors on May 4, 2023.
In 2009, during the European Museum Forum (EMF) held in Bursa, Istanbul Modern Art Museum received a special award for its expertise in museum management, innovative perspective, and its dedication to its visitors’ experience.
In the category of cultural and art institutions, Istanbul Modern was honored with the 2010 Presidential Culture and Arts Grand Award.
In 2011, Oya Eczacıbaşı, the Chair of the Board of Istanbul Modern Art Museum, was awarded the Legion of Honour by the Republic of France. She received this prestigious honor in recognition of her unwavering dedication to art and artistic endeavors, her contribution to the dissemination of universal culture and art, and her role in creating a meeting point at Istanbul Modern Art Museum.
Topkapi Palace Museum
Topkapı Palace, considered one of the world’s wealthiest museums, stands proudly as one of Istanbul’s most visited attractions, captivating both local and international tourists. Perched on a triangular promontory with breathtaking views of the Istanbul Bosporus and the Golden Horn, Topkapı Palace is not only an architectural marvel but also an enduring symbol of the city’s historical grandeur.
From the 15th to the 19th century, this palace served as the residence of Ottoman Sultans and today, it continues to serve as a museum under the jurisdiction of the National Palaces. With its magnificent architecture and a treasury of priceless treasures, Topkapı Palace is an absolute must-visit when you come to Istanbul. It houses a plethora of rare artifacts, ranging from the world’s finest collection of Chinese porcelain to the opulent garments worn by Ottoman Sultans.
General information about Topkapi Palace
- Historical Construction: Topkapi Palace was magnificently built between 1460 and 1478, showcasing an exceptional feat of artistry and architecture.
- Residence of Sultans: Not only serving as the center of administration, education, and art during its time, Topkapi Palace also stood as the residence of Ottoman Sultans, witnessing their lives and decisions.
- Wealthy Museum: Recognized as one of the world’s most opulent museums, Topkapi Palace houses an extensive array of treasures, sacred relics, unique seals, examples of bookbinding craftsmanship, exquisite jewelry, and intricate box craftsmanship.
- Splendor of Inscriptions: The palace hosts some of the most splendid historical inscriptions, providing insights into the aesthetics and sensibilities of the era.
- Porcelain Treasure Trove: Topkapi Palace proudly exhibits one of the world’s finest collections of porcelain, featuring exceptional pieces that reflect the global influence and richness of the Ottoman Empire.
- Museum in the Republic Era: Following the establishment of the Turkish Republic, on April 3, 1924, Topkapi Palace was transformed into a museum, becoming a vital custodian of Turkey’s cultural heritage.
History of Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace, not only the residence of Ottoman Sultans but also the epicenter of the empire’s governance, education, and culture, stands as a remarkable testament to history. It was commissioned by Fatih Sultan Mehmed in the years following the conquest of Istanbul, between 1453 and 1478, on the grounds of the Byzantine acropolis at Sarayburnu.
For 350 years, Topkapi Palace served as the residence of Ottoman Sultans until the early 1850s. However, due to its limitations in meeting the demands of ceremonies and protocol, subsequent rulers chose to relocate to the Dolmabahçe Palace in Beşiktaş.
Nonetheless, Topkapi Palace continued to safeguard invaluable treasures such as the royal collections, Holy Relics, and imperial archives. In 1924, the palace underwent a transformation, becoming a museum, where its rich history and cultural heritage are preserved for visitors from around the world to explore and admire.
Places to visit in Topkapi palace: What’s inside?
Topkapi Palace, a colossal complex spanning approximately 700,000 square meters, is perched on a commanding promontory enveloped by the Marmara Sea, the Bosphorus, and the Golden Horn. Its landward side is fortified by the “Royal Walls,” encompassing around 1,400 meters of city walls, while its seaside is embraced by Byzantine walls.
This vast complex, Topkapi Palace, boasts three primary gates – the Imperial Gate (Bâb-ı Hümâyûn), the Gate of Salutations (Bâbüsselâm), and the Gate of Felicity (Bâbüssaâde). It comprises four courtyards, creating a captivating journey through its architectural wonders.
Treasures and Collections
Topkapi Palace is renowned for housing an unparalleled collection of the world’s finest seals, bookbinding, jewelry, and box craftsmanship. Its corridors display some of the most splendid inscriptions from history.
Within its walls, you’ll discover the world’s best collection of Porcelain, reflecting the global reach of the Ottoman Empire. Additionally, the palace showcases the opulent costumes worn by Ottoman Sultans.
The Treasury: A Gem Among Gems
The Treasury section is a trove of treasures, boasting the world’s finest jewels like emeralds, rubies, and diamonds. Among these treasures are ornate swords and gold thrones adorned with pearls.
The Baghdad Pavilion: A Sacred Relic
Adorned with stunning blue tiles, the Baghdad Pavilion is one of the most visited sections, housing sacred relics within Topkapi Palace.
The Four Courtyards and Their Offerings
The first courtyard welcomes visitors with a large garden area, a museum ticket booth, a cafeteria, and a gift shop. It also houses the historic Aya İrini Church, a venue for various cultural events throughout the year.
Here, you’ll find the Divan-ı Hümayun (Imperial Council), the Treasury of the Imperial Council, the Justice Tower, the Harem, the Quarters of the Zülüflü Baltacılar, and the Royal Stables.
Passing through the “Gate of Felicity” (Bab-ı Saadet), you’ll enter the third courtyard, home to the Treasury. This section showcases thrones adorned with precious stones and an array of priceless jewels. The famous “Spoonmaker’s Diamond” is displayed here.
In the fourth and final courtyard, you’ll encounter various pavilions and hanging gardens. Notable structures include the Baghdad, Revan, and Mecidiye Pavilions, along with the Iftar Pavilion and the Wardrobe Chamber. This courtyard offers breathtaking views of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. On the Sarayburnu side, you can savor dining experiences with quality and scenic vistas.
Topkapi Palace, with its rich history, cultural treasures, and architectural marvels, provides visitors with an unforgettable journey into the heart of the Ottoman Empire.
Hagia Sophia Museum
Among the most visited museums, Hagia Sophia Museum stands as one of the world’s foremost monuments in terms of art and architectural history, often hailed as the 8th wonder of the world. This structure was also deemed the 8th wonder of the world by the Eastern Roman Philon back in the 6th century. The present-day Hagia Sophia, although situated in the same location, was built with a different architectural vision than its predecessors. Emperor Justinian (527-565) commissioned its construction to two prominent architects of the time, Anthemios from Tralles (Aydın) and Isidorus from Miletus (Balat). Hagia Sophia was completed in a remarkably short five years and was inaugurated with a grand ceremony in 537 AD.
Having served as a church for 916 years, it was converted into a mosque by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1453, following the conquest of Istanbul, and served as a mosque for 482 years. In 1935, Hagia Sophia reopened its doors as a museum.
Hagia Sophia, constructed in 537 AD, was transformed into a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet (Mehmet the Conqueror). Regarded as the 8th wonder of the world, Hagia Sophia now functions as a museum. Its remarkable architecture, grandeur, size, and functionality made it the first significant structure of its kind, influencing Ottoman mosques and serving as a place where East-West synthesis was beautifully embodied. Having been a church for 916 years and a mosque for 481 years, Hagia Sophia has been open to visitors as a museum since 1935.
With a history spanning 1500 years, Hagia Sophia is a masterpiece in the world of architecture and art history. Initially constructed as a church, it was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman period and now serves as a museum. It is a composite structure containing numerous works of art from both the Byzantine and Ottoman eras.
Hagia Sophia’s floor and walls are covered with symmetrically cut marble, while its dome and upper coverings are adorned with golden mosaic artistry. During the Ottoman Empire, a Quranic verse from the Surah Nur was inscribed on the dome’s interior with gold leaf.
This verse and the round calligraphy panels adorning the walls were executed by the renowned calligrapher Kazasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi. The main area features a designated space where Byzantine emperors were crowned, known as the “Ompholion,” which means “the navel of the world.”
Throughout its history, Hagia Sophia served as a place of worship for special occasions and nights, both during the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Emperors and sultans made significant donations to preserve Hagia Sophia during its time as a church, and later as a mosque, they undertook restoration, made additions, and bestowed gifts to enhance its beauty.
Consequently, the mihrab of Hagia Sophia is adorned with decorations and additions from both the Ottoman and Eastern Roman periods. The half-dome features a mosaic of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus, while the floor contains the Ottoman-era mihrab, tiles, and sultans’ inscriptions. The mihrab’s one wall is adorned with the Archangel Gabriel, and the other wall shows a glimpse of Archangel Michael’s wing.
On the floor, there is a minbar on the right and the Imperial Lodge where sultans prayed on the left. Additionally, small sections called maksure were created in the main area during the Ottoman period to ensure that people did not idle during prayer intervals. Numerous lessons were taught in these areas to educate the public. Furthermore, to facilitate reading, Sultan Mahmud I established a library and donated thousands of handwritten books to it.
Hagia Sophia’s rich history, captivating architecture, and artistic treasures make it a truly unique and iconic monument that continues to captivate visitors from around the world.
Hagia Sophia Museum Opening and Closing Hours
Opening/Closing Hours Opening Time: 08:00 AM Closing Time: 08:00 PM
Ticket Office Closing Time: 08:00 PM
Closed Days: Open every day
Address: Hagia Sophia Historical Museum, Binbirdirek Mahallesi, At Meydanı Sokak, No:10, Fatih, Istanbul
Email: [email protected]
Status: Open Admission Fee for Museum Card Holders: 250 TL Full Ticket Price: 1000 TL
Istanbul Archaeology Museums
The Istanbul Archaeology Museums, also known as the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, are one of the world’s richest archaeological museums, located in Sultanahmet. The Archaeology Museums house three separate museums in the same location: the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Ancient Oriental Art, and the Tiled Kiosk Museum. For this reason, they are often referred to in the plural and as a single entity.
The Istanbul Archaeology Museums showcase exquisite artifacts from various periods, including Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Early, Middle, and Late Bronze Age, as well as Greek, Roman, and Byzantine eras.
Dating back to 1869, the Istanbul Archaeology Museums were initially established as the Imperial Museum, displaying archaeological artifacts collected from the Church of Aya İrini, which is still located in the first courtyard of Topkapi Palace.
The museum building, which was deemed inadequate for displaying the remains unearthed during the 1887-1888 excavations at the Sydon Necropolis, was moved to the main building (the Archaeological Museum) designed by the renowned architect Alexandre Vallaury. Later, auxiliary units were constructed in 1903 and 1907, shaping the museum into its current form.
All of these efforts were overseen by the famous painter Osman Hamdi Bey, who was the director of the Imperial Museum at the time and is known for his painting “The Tortoise Trainer,” which is now exhibited at the Pera Museum.
The Museum of Ancient Oriental Art, another part of the complex, was also designed by architect Alexandre Vallaury in 1883.
The third museum within the complex, the Tiled Kiosk, was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in 1472 and is a rare example of Seljuk-style architecture in Istanbul.
The Istanbul Archaeology Museums house over one million artifacts from various civilizations that left deep imprints on world history, including the Assyrian, Hittite, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman civilizations.
The museum also holds the distinction of being one of Turkey’s first purpose-built museum buildings and is among the world’s top 10 museums in this regard.
The museum garden and courtyard offer a tranquil environment, and the architecture of the museum buildings is truly impressive. Within the Archaeological Museum building, you can find remarkable pieces such as the Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great and the Sarcophagus of Tabnit, along with other treasures uncovered during the Sydon Necropolis excavations.
The exhibit “Istanbul Through the Ages” in the same building is particularly worth seeing.
In the Museum of Ancient Oriental Art building, unique artifacts from pre-Islamic Arabia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Anatolia are on display. Among them, the Kadesh Peace Treaty from 1274 BC, the world’s oldest known peace treaty, and an 8th-century love poem from ancient Babylon are some of the museum’s most striking pieces.
In the Tiled Kiosk building, also known as the Museum of Islamic Art, approximately 2,000 artifacts from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods are exhibited.
The Istanbul Archaeology Museums offer a captivating journey through the ages, showcasing the rich tapestry of human history and culture.
Istanbul Archaeological Museums Opening and Closing Hours
Opening and Closing Hours
- Opening Time: 09:00 AM
- Closing Time: 08:00 PM
- Box Office Closing Time: 07:30 PM
Open Every Day
Address: Alemdar Avenue, Osman Hamdi Bey Slope, Gülhane
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +90 212 520 77 40
Admission Fee: 340 Turkish Lira
Note: The northern wing of the museum and the Tiled Kiosk are closed due to exhibition arrangement works.
Audio Guidance Service Available
Rahmi Koc Museum
The Istanbul Rahmi M. Koç Museum, a non-profit institution and part of the Rahmi M. Koç Foundation, is a museum dedicated to the history of transportation, industry, and communication. Comprising three main sections, namely the Open-Air Display Area, the Historic Hasköy Shipyard, and the Mustafa V. Koç Building, this museum is a true time machine where you can witness the evolution of transportation, industry, and communication.
Located on the shores of the Golden Horn in Hasköy, the museum covers an impressive area of 27,000 square meters.
Here, you will find yourself surrounded by an extraordinary and fantastic collection of full-size objects, including submarines, ferries, ships, airplanes, locomotives, and trams.
Some of the main exhibits you can explore in the museum include:
- Atatürk Collection (objects and personal belongings)
- Scientific Instruments (various measurement and observation devices)
- Railway Transportation (railway vehicles, locomotive and tram models)
- Maritime (maritime objects, models, boats, canoes, yachts, and an extensive collection of outboard motors and the Amphicar)
- Fenerbahçe Ferryboat (1953)
- Aviation (in the Open-Air Display Area; Wright Brothers’ Glider Model, Douglas DC-3 and bomber aircraft, and F104 S Starfighter)
- Communication Tools (telegraphs, telephones, phonographs, gramophones, cameras, and television sets)
- Road Transportation (19th-century horse-drawn carriages, baby carriages, bicycles, motorcycles, agricultural vehicles, classic automobiles, car models, fire trucks, and steam cars)
- Engineering (steam and diesel engines)
- Models and Toys (18th-century handcrafted models, miniature objects, and toys)
- Living History (Bazaar, Fisherman’s Port, Boat Workshop, Motor Repair Workshop, Lathe Machines, Olive Oil Factory, Film Set, Ship Bridge)
During your visit to the museum, you can take breaks at the museum’s cafes and restaurants:
- Nostalgic Coca-Cola Truck Snack Bar (set within a 1934 Dodge truck)
- Fenerbahçe Ferryboat Cafe (recently restored ferryboat)
- Demlik Cafe (at the entrance of the antique car gallery)
- Nelson Pub (designed in British style and decorated with antique items; weekdays 6:00 PM – 1:30 AM, closed on Mondays, Tel: +90 212369 66 16)
- Halat Restaurant (offers a unique dining experience by the shores of the Golden Horn; weekdays 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM, closed on Mondays, Tel: +90 212369 66 16)
Plan your visit to the museum on a Saturday or Sunday evening. When the museum closes at 7:00 PM, head over to Nelson Pub for a drink, and enjoy your dinner at Halat Restaurant.
Rahmi Koç Museum Opening and Closing Hours
Visiting Hours – Weekdays : Tuesday-Friday: 09:30 AM – 05:00 PM
- Saturday-Sunday: 10:00 AM – 06:00 PM
- Monday: Closed
Religious Holidays, December 31st, and January 1st
- The museum is closed on the eve and the first day of religious holidays, as well as every year on December 31st and January 1st.
*The last ticket sales end 30 minutes before closing.
Parking For visitors’ convenience, there is a limited number of paid parking spaces available.
Rahmi Koç Museum Tickets
Adults – ₺160 Turkish Lira
Students – ₺80 Turkish Lira (For school visits, student tickets are ₺50 Turkish Lira.)
Adults – Submarine tours are not available.
Students – Submarine tours are not available.
Boat Tours: Subject to weather conditions.
Adults – ₺45 Turkish Lira Students – ₺30 Turkish Lira
Sakip Sabanci Museum
Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM) consists of the Horse Mansion, known as Atlı Köşk, and galleries. Acquired by Hacı Ömer Sabancı in 1951, Atlı Köşk served as the family’s summer residence for many years, later becoming Sakıp Sabancı’s permanent residence and housing his rich collection of calligraphy and paintings. In 1998, it was allocated to Sabancı University for conversion into a museum. With the addition of the gallery section, the museum opened to the public in 2002 and expanded its exhibition spaces to meet international standards in 2005.
Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum is an art museum that houses a diverse collection of calligraphy and paintings while hosting temporary exhibitions of renowned artists’ works. The museum, which opened its doors in 2002, is located in the historic Atlı Köşk in Emirgan, one of the oldest settlements on the shores of the Bosphorus in Istanbul.
In recent years, the museum has gained international recognition with exhibitions like “Picasso in Istanbul” and “The Grand Master of Sculpture Rodin in Istanbul.” Such exhibitions have earned Museum Director Nazan Ölçer the Istanbul Tourism Award in the field of cultural events.
Sabanci Museum History of the Pavilion
The mansion, built in 1927 by Italian architect Edouard De Nari, originally belonged to the Egyptian Khedive family. Used as a summer residence for many years, the villa briefly served as the Montenegrin Embassy. It was purchased by Hacı Ömer Sabancı in 1950, and that same year, it became known as the “Horse Mansion” due to the 1864 horse sculpture created by French sculptor Louis Doumas, which was placed in its garden. Another horse sculpture within the mansion’s grounds is a cast of one of the four horses looted by the Crusaders during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square. This particular horse was later relocated to the front of the San Marco Church in Venice.
Sakıp Sabancı, who lived in the mansion from 1966 onwards, dedicated it to Sabancı University in 1998, along with his extensive collection of calligraphy and paintings, to transform it into a museum. With the addition of a modern gallery, the museum opened its doors to the public in 2002. In 2005, further expansions were made to the exhibition areas to meet international technical standards.
Collections at the Sabanci Museum
The upper floor of the Horse Mansion houses the Ottoman Calligraphy Collection, which includes rare handwritten Qurans, among other significant works of Ottoman calligraphy. Additionally, the collection features items such as calligraphic panels, albums, plaques, ornate calligraphic compositions (hilye), imperial decrees (ferman), diplomas (berat), and manuscripts, along with calligraphic tools. In 2008, a selection of 96 items from this collection was exhibited at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, Spain, and later at the Real Alcázar Palace in Seville from April 4 to June 15, 2008.
The museum’s painting collection includes examples of early Turkish painting as well as works by foreign artists who worked in Istanbul during the late Ottoman Empire, such as Fausto Zonaro and Ivan Ayvazovski. Among the local artists with works in the collection are prominent figures like Osman Hamdi Bey, Şeker Ahmed Paşa, Süleyman Seyyid, Fikret Mualla, and İbrahim Çallı.
On the ground floor of the Horse Mansion, where the Sabancı family once lived, three rooms showcase decorative art and furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries. In the museum’s garden, archaeological and stone artifacts from the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods are displayed.
Exhibitions at Sabanci Museum
Certainly, here is the list of temporary exhibitions held at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum:
- “The Power of Harmony in Nature; Humans and Horses: Artifacts from the Istanbul Archaeology Museums Collection” (27.06.2003 – 05.05.2004)
- “From Medicis to Savoys: Ottoman Splendor in the Palaces of Florence” (21.12.2003 – 18.04.2004)
- “Paris – St. Petersburg: Three Centuries of European Fashion from the Alexandre Vassiliev Collection” (12.05.2004 – 24.10.2004)
- “European Porcelains in the Ottoman Palace: Selections from the Topkapi Palace Museum Collection” (24.05.2005 – 28.08.2005)
- “Turkish Imagery in 17th Century Europe: Selections from Museums in Austria, England, Slovenia, Croatia, and Turkey” (13.07.2005 – 09.10.2005)
- “Picasso in Istanbul” (24.11.2005 – 26.03.2006)
- “From the East to the West: Book Arts and Memories from the Ottoman World – Masterpieces from the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon” (14.04.2006 – 28.05.2006)
- “The Grand Master of Sculpture Rodin in Istanbul” (13.06.2006 – 03.09.2006)
- “Genghis Khan and His Successors: The Great Mongol Empire” (07.12.2006 – 08.04.2007)
- “Carpets Devoted to God, Anatolian Carpets in Transylvanian Churches (1500-1750) and Art of Weaving in Dagestan, Kaytag Embroideries” (19.04.2007 – 19.08.2007)
- “Unexpected Encounters / Blind Date Istanbul” (08.09.2007 – 01.11.2007)
- “Abidin Dino – A World” (24.11.2007 – 27.01.2008)
- “Golden Lines: Ottoman Calligraphy from the Sakıp Sabancı Museum – Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid” (11.12.2007 – 02.03.2008)
- “Masterpieces from the Louvre Collections: The Three Capitals of Islamic Art – Istanbul, Isfahan, Delhi” (18.02.2008 – 01.06.2008)
- “Ottoman Calligraphy from the Sakıp Sabancı Museum – Real Alcázar, Sevilla” (04.04.2008 – 15.06.2008)
Don’t forget to admire “The Tortoise Trainer,” the iconic masterpiece of Turkish art history, created by Osman Hamdi Bey! Explore the Pera Museum, a captivating blend of historical artifacts, traditional art, significant paintings, and contemporary art, all housed within the magnificent confines of a 19th-century edifice that once served as the prestigious Hotel Bristol, envisioned by the renowned architect Achille Manoussos (as detailed in the Pera Museum’s Wikipedia entry). This exceptional institution was established through the efforts of the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation, which also oversees the adjacent Istanbul Research Institute.
What is there to see at the Pera Museum?
1) “Orientalist Paintings” – showcasing remarkable pieces by European artists who drew inspiration from Ottoman culture, providing a unique artistic perspective.
2) “Anatolian Weights and Measures” – an unexpectedly intriguing section presenting an extensive collection of measuring instruments from central Anatolia, shedding light on the region’s historical measurement practices.
3) “Kutahya Tiles and Ceramics” – a treasure trove of masterpieces and exceptional craftsmanship from Kütahya, renowned for its talented tile and ceramic artisans. This exhibition even boasts a dedicated section celebrating the art of Turkish coffee.
Additionally, the museum’s top three floors host temporary exhibitions that have featured renowned artists such as Goya, Andy Warhol, Rembrandt, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Fernando Botero, Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera, making the Pera Museum a hub for art enthusiasts. For more blockbuster exhibitions, be sure to explore the offerings at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum.
What not to miss at the Pera Museum
“The Tortoise Trainer,” an iconic masterpiece in Turkish art history by Osman Hamdi Bey, holds the distinction of being the most expensive artwork ever sold, fetching a remarkable $3.5 million in 2004. This painting captures the essence of a Sufi dervish’s patience and the challenges of transformation. You can even preview this exceptional artwork through the Pera Museum’s entry on the Google Cultural Institute.
What else is there at the Pera Museum?
If you’re looking for more to explore at the Pera Museum, you can take a leisurely break at the museum’s café, offering a lavish setting to savor a drink and a slice of cake. Additionally, the museum features screenings of art house and film festival movies as part of Pera Film, along with occasional music events and panel discussions.
When is the Pera Museum open?
As for the Pera Museum’s operating hours, it welcomes visitors from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, and on Sundays from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Admission is priced at 25 TL. On Friday evenings, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, the museum offers free entry for all visitors during what they call “Long Fridays.” It also takes part in museum nights with “A Long Night at Pera Museum,” extending its hours until midnight and featuring special performances and concerts. Be sure to consult their website for specific dates and details.
How can I get to the Pera Museum?
To reach the Pera Museum, you can follow these directions: Start by walking down Istiklal Caddesi, heading away from Taksim Square. Near the lower end of Istiklal Caddesi, make a right turn onto Asmali Mescit Caddesi. When you reach a crossroads on this road, turn right again, passing the renowned Pera Palas Istanbul (Pera Palace Istanbul) hotel. Keep walking up this road, and you’ll spot the Pera Museum on your right-hand side.
Istanbul Naval Museum
In 1897, with the permission of Sultan Abdülhamit II and under the guidance of Minister of Navy Bozcaadalı Hasan Hüsnü Pasha, the Naval Museum was established as “The Museum and Library Administration Office.” It initially found its home in a small building within the Imperial Dockyard. Over the years, the museum relocated several times, depending on the prevailing circumstances.
In 1961, a significant move took place when the museum settled into a building in Beşiktaş, formerly used as the Treasury. Operating under the name “The Naval Museum and Archive Directorate,” it also secured adjacent storage facilities that had previously served as an aircraft shed, repair workshop, and garage. The highlight of this collection was the historical boats, including the galley and imperial caiques, which were made accessible to the public in the “Gallery of Historical Caiques” in 1971.
However, the gallery, originally designed as a depot, posed challenges in preserving and exhibiting the collection. To address these issues, a decision was made to construct a new museum building within the available area. To this end, a national architectural design competition was held on August 14, 2005. The winning architectural design, selected in 2008, marked the beginning of a new phase for the museum. The project encompassed the construction of a modern museum building, featuring an annex exhibition area, the Gallery of Historical Caiques, a cultural center, and an open exhibition space.
As a first step, a temporary depot was erected to safeguard the historical caiques during the construction period, and in 2009, the caiques were relocated there. Following the completion of the renovation and restoration efforts for the Naval Museum in September 2013, the collection of historical caiques was finally moved to its designated building. The new museum officially opened its doors to visitors on October 4, 2013, ushering in a new era for the Naval Museum.
Amazing facts about the Istanbul Naval Museum
- The museum proudly displays a millennia-old Byzantine chain, which once served as a formidable barrier to thwart enemy ships from entering the Golden Horn.
- Over the past decade, significant efforts have been dedicated to the conservation and restoration of many items in the museum’s collection, with particular attention given to the preservation of Ottoman imperial caiques.
- This institution stands as one of Istanbul’s most recent and contemporary museums, closely affiliated with the Turkish Republic Navy Command, offering a unique and immersive experience for visitors.
How to get to the Istanbul Naval Museum
Located in Beşiktaş, the most convenient approach to reach the Istanbul Naval Museum is by taking a ferry from Kadıköy, Eminönü, or Üsküdar and disembarking at Beşiktaş. The museum is conveniently situated adjacent to the Beşiktaş pier.
How much is the ticket for the Naval Museum?
As of 2023, the admission fee for adults to the Istanbul Naval Museum is 200 Turkish Liras. It’s important to note that this museum holds a unique status as it operates under the auspices of the Turkish Navy, and therefore, the Istanbul Museum Pass is not applicable for entry.
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
The Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, situated in Sultanahmet Square within Istanbul’s Fatih district, boasts a rich history dating back to its construction in 1524. Originally the palace of Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha, the second grand vizier to Suleiman the Magnificent and once believed to be the husband of Sultan Hatice, the museum’s building is steeped in historical significance.
Within its walls, the museum houses an impressive collection encompassing Islamic calligraphy, intricate tiles, exquisite rugs, and ethnographic exhibitions highlighting various Turkish cultures, particularly nomadic groups. These immersive displays meticulously recreate rooms and dwellings from diverse time periods and regions.
Originally a ceremonial hall within the palace, the museum’s sections bear the enduring influence of its regal past, transforming it into a sanctuary of art dedicated to showcasing Islamic art across different eras. With over 40,000 works of art, spanning carpet art, wooden craftsmanship, and stone sculptures, this museum ranks among Turkey’s largest and most culturally significant institutions.
Located across from the renowned Blue Mosque in Istanbul, the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum occupies a culturally rich and historically significant location. It stands as a respected institution, celebrated for its commitment to preserving and promoting art, culture, and history. Over the years, the museum has earned acclaim for its role as a hub for Islamic art, bridging the gap between art history and material culture.
The museum holds the distinction of being the first to assemble all aspects of Islamic art from Turkey. Moreover, it actively participates in both national and international temporary exhibitions, showcasing its dedication to the arts. In 1984, the museum received the Special Jury Award in the Museum of the Year Competition from the European Council and a prize from the European Council – UNESCO in recognition of its efforts to instill a love for cultural heritage in children.
In 1914, its initial incarnation was as the Museum of Islamic Endowments, located within the magnificent Süleymaniye Complex, a masterpiece of 16th-century Turkish architecture designed by the renowned Sinan. Over time, as the societal landscape evolved with the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the museum underwent a transformation and was subsequently renamed the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum. This shift reflected a broader focus, moving away from exclusively representing the Ottoman Empire to encompass the entirety of the Islamic world.
As Ottoman museums emerged, aligning with the principles of Turkish Nationalism, Turkish society began embracing Western art practices. In 1983, the museum found its new home in the İbrahim Pasha Palace, a beautifully preserved building with architectural influences from 16th-century Ottoman civil architecture. Extensive restoration efforts were undertaken between 1966 and 1983 to ensure the building’s preservation.
Notably, the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum holds the distinction of being the first museum in Turkey to unite Islamic art as a cohesive collection. Throughout its history, this remarkable building has served a diverse array of functions, including roles as a residence for grand viziers, military barracks, embassy palace, registry office, home to Janissary bands, a sewing workshop, and even a prison.
What is there to see at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art?
Today, the museum boasts a remarkable collection that includes some of the most exquisite carpets from the Islamic world. Additionally, it houses a vast treasure trove of over 17,000 manuscripts, comprising 3,000 Qur’ans and an astounding 250,000 early Qur’anic fragments originating from the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, among other priceless artifacts.
The showcased artworks within the museum provide an ethnographic perspective on the Islamic world’s rich cultural heritage. The exhibitions are thoughtfully organized across different floors, each focusing on distinct themes. For instance, the first floor immerses visitors in the realm of Traditional Turkish life, while the second floor serves as a dedicated space for exploring the wonders of Islamic art.
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art Opening – Closing Hours and Entrance Fee
Opening Time: 09:00 AM
Closing Time: 08:00 PM
Ticket Booth Closing Time: 07:00 PM
Closed Days: Open every day
Address: Binbirdirek Mahallesi, At Meydanı Sokak, No: 12 Sultanahmet/Istanbul
Email: [email protected]
Phone 1: +902125181805
Phone 2: +902125181806
Admission Fee: 390 Turkish Liras – Status: OPEN
Audioguide Service Available
Miniatürk, also known as Miniature Turkey Park, is the world’s largest miniature park, covering an expansive 60,000 square meters of land. It is situated in Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Turkey, along the shores of the Golden Horn. The park’s foundation was laid on June 30, 2001, and it opened its doors to the public on May 2, 2003.
With the slogan “A Small Model of a Great Country,” Miniatürk offers a unique tourist attraction by showcasing meticulously crafted 1/25 scale models of 137 architectural masterpieces. These models were chosen based on their historical significance, their representation of various eras, and their feasibility for replication. The structures featured span different periods and civilizations, including the Hittite, Ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, Ottoman, and Republican periods.
Miniatürk is renowned for being the first location to implement an audio guide system, allowing visitors to access information about each model in nine languages, including Turkish, English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Persian, and Japanese, through information cards and a mobile app.
In addition to tourists, Miniatürk is a favored destination for schools, offering cultural and educational visits. These visits provide students with a valuable opportunity to learn about Turkish and world culture, art, and architecture from ancient times to the present day.
Within Miniatürk, you can also explore the Victory Museum (Zafer Müzesi), a panoramic museum that vividly depicts the Turkish War of Independence. The museum features detailed models and immersive exhibits enhanced with sound and light effects. Additionally, there is a photo exhibition dedicated to Atatürk, the founding father of Turkey.
Another captivating attraction within Miniatürk is the Crystal Istanbul Museum (Kristal İstanbul). Here, you can marvel at intricate images of various architectural landmarks in Istanbul, intricately etched into crystal glass using advanced laser technology.
Which artifacts can I see in Miniatürk?
- Topkapi Palace
- Dolmabahçe Palace
- Beylerbeyi Palace
- Çırağan Palace
- Süleymaniye Mosque
- Eyüp Sultan Mosque
- Sultan Ahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque)
- Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Mosque
- Kaymak Mustafa Pasha Mosque
- Hagia Sophia
- Hagia Irene Church
- St. Anthony of Padua Church
- Ahmet III Fountain
- Mimar Sinan Tomb
- Sultan I. Ahmet Tomb
Fountains and Baths:
- III. Ahmet Fountain
- German Fountain
- Kırk Çeşmeler Water System
- Haseki Hürrem Bath
- Kabataş Boys’ High School
- Kuleli Military High School
- Pertevniyal High School
- Grand Post Office
- Anadoluhisarı (Anatolian Castle)
- Maiden’s Tower
- Northern Sea Area Command
- Hıdiv Kasrı
- Sadullah Pasha Mansion
Bridges, Train Stations, Harbors:
- 15 July Martyrs Bridge
- Haydarpaşa Train Station and Dock
- Atatürk Airport
- Topkapı Ferry
- Ertuğrul Frigate
- Baştarda 1657
Obelisks, Clock Towers, and Monuments:
- Egyptian Obelisk
- Serpent Column
- Column of Constantine Porphyrogenitus
- Dolmabahçe Clock Tower
- Taksim Republic Monument
- Temple of Zeus
- Malabadi Bridge
- Stone Bridge in Adana
- Atatürk Dam
- Ecyad Castle
- Mostar Bridge
- Dome of the Rock
- Atatürk’s House
- Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia
- Pamukkale Travertines
Parliament and Banks:
- Turkish Grand National Assembly Building (Parliament)
- T.C. Ziraat Bankası
Please note that this list represents the various landmarks and models displayed at Miniatürk, offering a comprehensive overview of Turkey’s historical and architectural heritage.