About Istanbul Archaeological Museum

Visit Istanbul Archaeological Museum, also known as İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzeleri, and get a chance to explore three museums in one. These 3 museums are, The Archaeology Museum, the Museum of Ancient Orient and the Tiled Kiosk Museum. Istanbul Archaeological Museum consists of palace collections which were formed during the late 19th century by museum director, painter and archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey.

Additionally, the Istanbul Archaeological Museum is the first regular museum that appeared in the history of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey. It is also home to more than one million different artefacts from different cultures and eras. It is regarded as one of those rare structures that were constructed as a museum in the bygone eras of the Ottoman Empire, and boasts of a splendid display of traditional neoclassical architecture in Istanbul. You can also see an inscription written in Ottoman Turkish in one of the gates at the entrance of the museum, that says “Asar-ı Atika Müzesi '' or the Museum of Antiquities.

What not to miss at the Archaeology Museum

Istanbul Archaeological Museum
  • Visit Istanbul Archaeological Museum and get a chance to see the Treaty of Kadesh, which is known to be the oldest peace treaty in the whole world, written in the cuneiform script and signed in the year 1274
  • One of the things that you must not miss admiring at during your visit to the Istanbul Archaeological Museum is the oldest Love Poem from the Ancient Babylonian Era, dating back to the 8th century
  • Another one of the highlights of the museum is the Lycian Sarcophagus, which has scenes from Greek mythology, in addition to depictions of centaurs, sphinxes and griffons
  • You must also not miss out on seeing the Alexander Sarcophagus, which depicts a lot of scenes of Alexander the Great, but in reality, is believed to hold the king of Sidon, Abdalonymus
  • A major highlight of the museum is the Istanbul Through The Ages exhibition, which lets you gain deeper insight into the history of this beautiful but complex city, along with the Golden Horn from the Byzantine eras
  • Don’t forget to admire the magnificent Tile Mihrab which was taken from Karamanoğlu İbrahim Bey Imaret, or the public kitchen from 1432
  • You must definitely head over to see Sultan Murat III’s beautiful Fountain of Youth, which dates back to 1590 and is located in the wall of the final room within the museum


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Istanbul Archaeology Museums

The Museum of Ancient Orient
The Museum of Ancient Orient

Make sure to explore the Museum of Ancient Orient when you Visit Istanbul Archaeological Museum. Known to be the first academy of fine arts of the Ottoman Empire, this building was later renamed as the Museum of Ancient Orient. It is here where you can catch sights of age-old oriental works of art. Built by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1883, this section of the museum boasts of masterpieces like Mesopotamian tablets, a statue of Shalmaneser III, the tablet consisting of the oldest love poem, Babylonian Processional Street wall reliefs, and even contents from an ancient Egyptian grave.

The Tiled Kiosk Museum
The Tiled Kiosk Museum

Making up for another major highlight when you Visit Istanbul Archaeological Museum is the Tiled Kiosk Museum, which is also the oldest building in this complex, dating back to 1472. Built by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, this museum used to be a pleasure palace of kiosks, and was known as the Glazed Kiosk. Boasting of a typical Persian façade, along with polygonal pillars and brick-laden walls, the Tiled Kiosk Museum is also decorated with mosaic tiles and 14-colum marble arcade. It is here where you can find some of the most pristine examples of Turkish tiles and ceramics from the Ottoman and Selcuk periods.


Also Book: Istanbul Day Tour with Hagia Sophia & Topkapi Palace

History

Istanbul Archaeological Museum

According to the Istanbul Archaeological Museum History, the museum was first founded as a pleasure palace in 1472. It is during this time that the regional governors had sent in a lot of items and artefacts from their provinces to the city, thereby amassing a rather huge collection of antiquities. To display these artefacts and keep them safe, the construction of the museum building began in 1881, in the outer gardens of the Topkapi Palace Istanbul, with the museum being officially founded a decade later in 1891 by an Imperial Decree.

The Istanbul Archaeological Museum History also states that it first opened its gates to the public in the year 1953, as the Fatih Museum, which would display Turkish and Islamic Art, and was then incorporated into the Museum later on. On its 100th anniversary, in the year 1991, the Istanbul Archaeological Museum received the European Council Museum Award for its majestic renovations and beautiful new displays, consisting of a variety of Greek, Roman as well as Byzantine works.

Know Before You Go

Opening Hours
Address
Best time to Visit
Istanbul Archaeological Museum
  • Summer Period Hours
  • The Istanbul Archaeological Museum timings during the summer period from April 1st to October 31st is between 09:00 a.m. to 08:00 p.m.

    • Winter Period Hours
    • During the winter period between October 31st to April 1st, the Istanbul Archaeological Museum remains open between 09:00 a.m. to 06:30 p.m.

FAQs

Do you need to book in advance to visit the Istanbul Archaeological Museum?

    Yes, it is best to book your visit to the Istanbul Archaeological Museum in advance. By doing so, you can save several hours of waiting time at the lines near the ticket windows or the entry gates. Furthermore, by booking your visit online, in advance, you can also save a lot of energy and money since online tickets often include several discounts and deals.

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