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Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

İstanbul Archaeology Museums

Istanbul Archaeology Museums

Istanbul Archaeology Museums

The Istanbul Archaeology Museums consists of three museums: the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Tiled Pavilion Museum or Museum of Islamic Art. The three museums houses over one million objects that represent almost all the eras and civilizations in world history.

The museums were initially founded by imperial decree as the Imperial Museum in 1891 and formed part of the Topkapı Palace outer gardens. An Ottoman Empire decree was enforced to protect cultural goods, and governors from the provinces were required to send artifacts to the Imperial Museum. This decree allowed the museum to amass a sizeable and impressive collection.

The Tiled Kiosk was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed II in 1472 and is one of the oldest structures in Istanbul featuring Ottoman architecture. It was a part of the Topkapı Palace outer gardens and was used as the Imperial Museum before the collection moved to the newly constructed main building. The construction of the main building in its present neo-Greek form was completed in 1908. It is one of the prominent structures built in the neoclassical style in Istanbul. The façade of the building was inspired by the Alexander Sarcophagus and Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women, both housed inside the Museum.

The Museum of the Ancient Orient was commissioned in 1883 as a fine arts school. Later it was reorganized as a museum, which opened in 1935. The Tiled Kiosk was opened to the public in 1953 as a museum of Turkish and Islāmic art and was later incorporated into the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

Highlights of the Istanbul Archaeology Museums

Visiting the Istanbul Archaeology Museums

The Archaeology Museum is located on the road leading up to Topkapı Palace just to the right of the entrance gate to Gülhane Park. The Istanbul archaeology museum hours are from Tuesday-Sunday but confirm with the museum website for the latest updates changes on operating days and hours.

The Archaeology Museum

The main building of the museum can easily be distinguished with its Neo-classical style and represents the first modern museums in Turkey.  The top floor of the building houses artifacts such as pottery, ancient statues, coins, rings, and medals. On another level is the home of masterpiece statues, the collection of ancient sarcophagi. On the bottom floor are historical royal coffins found and sculptures dating from ancient eras up to the Byzantine era.

Islāmic Art Museum or Tiled Kiosk Museum

The Ottoman Sultan Mehmet commissioned the Tiled Kiosk in 1472 is one of the oldest examples of Ottoman architecture in Istanbul. It was used as the Empire Museum between 1875-1891. After the transfer of non-Islamic art to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, it was opened the o public in 1953 with Turkish and Islamic works as the primary focus.

The Tiled Kiosk is a pavilion set within the outer walls of Topkapı Palace as a pleasure palace or kiosk. It is located in the outermost parts of the palace, next to Gülhane Park. The pavilion has many examples of İznik tiles and Seljuk pottery.

Ancient Orient Museum

The Ancient Orient Museum was founded in 1917 and is a single floor building, and the artifacts are categorized according to their origin and civilization. The collection includes pre-Islamic Arabian, ancient Egyptian, Babylonian,  pre-Greek Anatolia, Urartu, Mesopotamia, and Neo-Assyrian artifacts.

Historical sites near the Archaeological Museum

  • The Topkapi Palace
  • Hagia Eirene
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Blue Mosque.

Istanbul Archaeology Museums

  • Name:            The İstanbul Archaeology Museums
  • Established:   1891
  • Collection:     1+ million objects
  • Type:              Archaeology Museum
  • Location:        Osman Hamdi Bey Yokuşu Sokak, Gülhane, Istanbul, Turkey

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Photo Credit: 1) By VikiPicture (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons