Museums to visit in Istanbul
Here is the little guide to the must-see museums in Istanbul:
SAKIP SABANCI MUSEUM (SAKIP SABANCI MÜZESİ)
A private Museum of Fine Arts in Istanbul located in a beautiful park called Emirgan on the Bosphorus. The museum is dedicated to calligraphic art, religious and state records, and you will also find paintings from the Ottoman era. It was founded by Sakıp Sabancı (successful businessman and major philanthropist) and opened in June 2002. Besides the constant exhibitions, the museum also hosts temporary national and foreign exhibitions and organizes cultural events during the weekends. Recently, the museum has attracted worldwide attention by exposing the works of Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin.
The museum restaurant is charming with a very varied menu catering to all tastes.
Price: 30 TL, free on Wednesdays. Closed on Mondays, open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on the following days: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday; until 8:00 pm on Wednesday.
Address: Emirgan Mh., İstanbul
Website: Sakıp Sabancı Museum
Istanbul Modern opened in 2004 at the redeveloped old docks of the Tophane district. Istanbul Modern presents the works of Turkish contemporary artists. It also hosts temporary exhibitions. A museum not to be missed!
Price: 37 TL. Closed on Mondays, open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and until 8:00 pm on Thursday.
Address: İstanbul, Liman İşletmeleri Sahası Antrepo D:4, İstanbul
Website: Istanbul Modern
RAHMİ KOÇ INDUSTRIAL MUSEUM (RAHMİ KOÇ MÜZESİ)
This private museum is the Meisterwerk of Mr. Rahmi Koç, son of the founder and powerful industrialist, Mr.VehbiKoç. In a beautiful building that was a former anchor factory of the Ottoman Empire, you will find an impressive collection of artifacts telling the history of the industry, transport, and communications. You will also find the outdoor space ships, airplanes full size, including a submarine of 93 meters from 1944 that you can visit for an additional cost. There is an astounding collection of vintage cars, motorcycles, and trains.
A stunning museum that is perfect to spend half a day in with leisure.
Price: 21 TL. Closed on Mondays, open weekdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and on weekends from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Address: Rahmi M. Koç Museum Hasköy Cad. No: 5 Hasköy 34445 – İstanbul / Turkey
Website: Rahmi Koç Industrial Museum
THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF ISTANBUL (İSTANBUL ARKEOLOJİ MÜZEZİ)
The Istanbul Archaeological Museum is composed of three separate museums: the main Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient Works and the Enamelled Pavilion Museum. It houses more than a million objects that represent almost all eras and civilizations in the history of the world.
In the main museum on the first floor, you will find one of the largest collections in the world of ancient pieces such as pottery, terracotta statues, and an impressive collection of coins, medals, badges and a huge library of 70,000 books. In the lower room, you can see frescoes, tombs, sarcophagi and in particular that of Alexander the Great with a sarcophagus dating back to the 4th century BC. The most famous pieces are the two sarcophagus of Tabnitand that of Lycian and the mourners. You can also admire beautiful sculptures including the Adonis of Tabnit and the bust of Alexander.
The museum of the ancient Orient has a large collection from the ancient civilizations of Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt. It features among other things the Treaty of Kadesh between the Hittites and Egyptians in 1269 BC.
Price: 50 TL. Open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm in summer, and from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in winter, closed on Mondays.
Address: Cankurtaran Mh., Alemdar Cad, Fatih, İstanbul
Website: Archaeological Museum of Istanbul
Salt is a non-profit foundation heavily involved in the renovation and reconstructing the archives of the Ottoman Empire. Located in the beautiful building of the former Ottoman Bank, it is home to an exhibition, a library but also a section devoted to the Ottoman Bank Archives and a very good restaurant.
ISTANBUL MILITARY MUSEUM (ASKERİ MÜZESİ)
The Military Museum (Askeri Müzesi) is located in the Harbiye district in Istanbul. It opened in 1726 and is the oldest museum in Istanbul. Originally it was in the Church of St. Irene (AyaIrini) located inside the Topkapı Palace. The Military Museum houses more than 10,000 Turkish and foreign weapons, and other objects related to military armor. It is organized into 17 rooms, each with a theme: guns, tents, First World War, Atatürk and many others. Between 15 and 16 pm you can attend a concert of the Janissary Band with costumes and instruments from the Ottoman Empire.
ISTANBUL AVIATION MUSEUM (HAVACILIK MÜZESİ)
This museum tells the history of aviation in Turkey since 1912. The collection spreads over 15,000 m² it has an indoor section as well as an open section. In the outdoor section, you will find a wide collection of airliners and war helicopters, missiles, radars, anti-aircraft batteries, and more. The collection is very well preserved. The indoor section of the museum contains a large collection of historical paraphernalia of the Turkish army such as uniforms, medals, and pictures that give an idea of the evolution of the Turkish air forces through the ages. A section of the museum is devoted to Sabiha Gökçen (which gave its name to the airport on the Asian side of the city) who was the first Turkish female pilot.
ISTANBUL ENERGY MUSEUM (SANTRAL İSTANBUL)
Santral İstanbul is a complex part of the art campus of Bilgi University located in the north of the Golden Horn in the Eyüp district. The center includes a contemporary art museum, a museum of energy, an amphitheatre, a concert hall, and a library. The place is historically Ottoman Empire powerhouse hence the name “Santral Istanbul” (which translates to “Central Istanbul”).
The contemporary art museums and energy museum are not to be missed. In the contemporary art museum, you can admire the works of the famous Turkish painter Abidin Dino. In the Museum of energy, you can try out electric dam turbines and generators. It is very interactive. At the end of your visit, you can go for a drink or to Tamirci or Otto with the university students. A very cultural experience.
Price: 25 TL. Open all week from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Address: Eski Silahtarağa Elektrik Santrali,Kazım Karabekir Cad. No:2,Eyüp, İstanbul
Website: Istanbul Energy Museum
MUSEUM OF TURKISH AND ISLAMIC ARTS (TÜRK VE İSLAM ESERLERİ MÜZESİ)
The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is located inside the Ibrahim Pasha Palace near the ancient hippodrome in the historic Sultanahmet district. Ibrahim Pasha was the grand vizier of Suleiman the Magnificent who offered him the palace in appreciation of thirteen years of service.
The museum offers a huge collection of over 40,000 pieces of Islamic art from the eighth to the nineteenth century.
A large section of the museum is devoted to carpets, which date from the Seljuk period in Anatolia made between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries and several looms. Explanations are given on the manufacture of carpets, including plants used for dyeing. In the calligraphy section and, illuminated manuscripts and Korans from various regions of the Ottoman Empire are exposed. The ethnographic section is very interesting because it shows the changes in the lifestyles of Turkish tribes of the nineteenth century.
Finally, the museum has many objects in wood and metal as well as mosaics, glass, and earthenware.
Price: 25 TL. Open every day except Monday, from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm in summer (from April 1st to October 31st), and from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in winter (from October 31st to April 1st).
Address: Binbirdirek, Atmeydanı Cd. No:12, Fatih, İstanbul
Website: Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
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