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Istanbul Archaeological Museums

From The Marmara Sisli
30 Min
1 hr 30 min
Address Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul
Phone (0212) 520 77 41

9 AM to 8 PM


With a collection of over one million archaeological specimens and artifacts, the Istanbul Archaeology Museums encompasses three institutions that collectively portray a vast span of human history and civilization. 

The Istanbul Archeology Museums encompass the main Archeology Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient, and the Museum of Islamic Art, also referred to as the Tiled Kiosk Museum due to its distinctive building. This remarkable compound houses a vast collection of artifacts, primarily curated by the renowned museum director Osman Hamdi Bey in the 19th century, although the Ottomans had been gathering various artifacts over time. 

The Istanbul Archeology Museums, renowned as the oldest in Turkey, are strategically situated in and around some of Istanbul's most notable structures, including the nearby Topkapi Palace. Their remarkable collection encompasses a wide array of objects, spanning from the ancient Alexander Sarcophagus dating back to the 4th century BC, to Babylonian artifacts and Roman floor tiles. These museums stand as a testament to the immense creativity and rich heritage of humanity, spanning countless millennia. 


Archeology Museum 

The magnificent main Archaeology Museum is located in a grand neoclassical building, constructed under the guidance of Osman Hamdi Bey. As the son of an Ottoman Grand Vizier, Hamdi Bey established the museum in 1881, drawing inspiration from the remarkable Alexander Sarcophagus. Not only was Hamdi Bey an esteemed archaeologist, but he also conducted numerous expeditions to ancient sites, personally contributing his own discoveries to enrich the museum's collection. 

In addition to the renowned Alexander Sarcophagus, the main building of the Istanbul Archeology Museums proudly exhibits a plethora of captivating artifacts. Among them are numerous Ancient Greek statues, a remarkable panel from the Babylonian Ishtar Gate, and an assortment of Byzantine sarcophagi, to name just a few. With a special emphasis on sarcophagi, the museum serves as the primary repository for relics from both Istanbul's Ottoman and Byzantine eras. 

Museum of the Ancient Orient 

Originally commissioned as a school of fine arts by Hamdi Bey, the building that currently accommodates the Museum of the Ancient Orient underwent conversion in 1917. Situated directly across the courtyard from the main Archeology Museum, it was deemed appropriate by the museum curators to establish a separate space for their Near East and Asian art and artifacts, distinct from the Byzantine and Ottoman collections housed in the main museum. Thus, the Museum of the Ancient Orient came into existence. The museum's collection includes statues and relics originating from various ancient civilizations such as the Sumerian, Mesopotamian, Akkadian, and more. 

Museum of Islamic Art 

The Museum of Islamic Art, housed in the iconic Tiled Kiosk, is renowned not only for its impressive collection but also for the historical significance of the building itself. The Tiled Kiosk, a pavilion situated in the outer gardens of Topkapi Palace, was constructed in 1472 under the patronage of Mehmed the Conqueror. In 1953, it was converted into a museum, preserving and showcasing the rich artistic heritage of Islamic art. 

The Tiled Kiosk, with its Persian-inspired architecture, is home to a remarkable collection of pottery, ceramics, and earthenware. It showcases the exquisite creations of the Seljuk, Anatolian, and Ottoman peoples, dating back to the 12th century. These masterpieces are among the most stunning examples of their kind worldwide. 

How to Visit 

The Istanbul Archeology Museums welcome visitors every day. You can conveniently purchase the tickets on-site at the museum. Additionally, if you prefer a guided tour of the museums, you can book one by visiting this link.

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quick FAQ

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