Archeology Museum, Istanbul

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Cankurtaran Mh., Alemdar Cad +90 212 520 7741

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    sarcophagus of mourning women
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  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    The Archaeology Museum

    by IreneMcKay Updated Oct 2, 2014

    The Archaeology Museum in Istanbul is also in the Sultanahmet area. It is an amazing place to visit as Turkey is so rich in archaeological remains from Ancient Greek times. In fact the museum holds so many remains, many things that would be given prime location in any other museum are, or were, outside in the museum grounds as there is simply no room for them inside.

    The Archaeology Museum is really three museums located on what used to be part of Topkapı Palace's outer gardens.

    Construction of the museum's main building began in 1881 and the museum first opened ten years later in 1891. The architect for this project was Alexander Vallaury who also designed the Pera Palas Hotel. The first curator and founder of the museum was Osman Hamdi Bey. He also commissioned the museum's second building - The Museum of the Ancient Orient in 1883. The museum's third building is actually its oldest. It was originally built as The Tiled Kiosk by Mehmed the Conqueror in 1472 and was once part of Topkapi Palace. In 1953 it became The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, and later became part of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

    In 1991, on its one hundredth birthday, The Archaeology Museum received the European Council Museum Award.

    Exhibits in the museum include: The Alexander Sarcophagus - this dates from the fourth century BC and was found in Sidon, Lebanon in 1887. The Sarcophagus of the Crying Women which was also found in Sidon. This is a beautiful museum with many fantastic exhibits and is well worth visiting.

    The Archaeology Museum The Archaeology Museum The Archaeology Museum The Archaeology Museum The Archaeology Museum
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    • Museum Visits
    • Archeology

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  • magor65's Profile Photo

    Archeological Museum

    by magor65 Written Feb 24, 2014

    The exhibits displayed in the Archeological Museum belong to the most important in the world, although the collection was started only in the second half of the 19th century. The museum complex consists of three buildings: the Museum of Ancient Orient, the Archeological Museum and the Tiled Pavillion.
    In the Museum of Ancient Orient we can see interesting reliefs, sculptures, tools and weapons from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Arabia and Anatolia. One of the most precious exhibits is the Treaty of Kadesh - the oldest recorded peace treaty, signed in the 13th century B.C. between Ramses II and the Hittites. The Museum has also the tiled reliefs of lions, dragons and bulls from the Isthar Gate.

    The most important object of Archeological Museum is definitely the Alexander sarcophagus. It owes its name to the carved scenes on its sides presenting Alexander the Great either in battles or during hunts. Actually, it is most probably the sarcophagus of Abdolonymus, the king of Sidon. No matter who it belong to, the sarcophagus, which looks like a temple with its pitched roof, is a real masterpiece.
    Another exhibit which attracts the attention of most visitors is the sarcophagus of mourning women. It was excavated from Royal Necropolis at Sidon. The figures of women in different poses but undoubtedly in grief have a universal appeal.
    We haven't visited the third pavillion, only saw its interesting tiled facade from the outside.

    I'm sure the Archeological Museum is worth visiting, if only at least for these few exhibits mentioned above. Those interested in history will find there much more. It's also important that the artifacts are well-labeled, with the information both in Turkish and in English.
    You can enter the museum with the Museum pass. Otherwise the admission fee is 10 TL.
    Closed on Mondays.

    Alexander sarcophagus sarcophagus of mourning women tiled pavillion
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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Istanbul Archaeological Museum

    by Dabs Written Jul 21, 2013

    The Istanbul Archaeological Museum is housed in three buildings, the first part of the collection that we visited was the Museum of the Ancient Orient, the highlight of which was the glazed tile panels with lions, bulls and dragons. The main building houses the archaeology museum and the third building is the tiled pavilion.

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  • Raimix's Profile Photo

    Istanbul Archeology museum

    by Raimix Updated Feb 7, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Istanbul archeology museum is one of the most interesting my visited museums, as here much of famous ancient things are housed. Museum consists of three parts – Archeology museum, the museum of Ancient Orient and Tiled pavilion.

    Museum is in quite nice neoclassical building, looking Western, but also some buildings that are Oriental one. I could mention a few very famous items I found in museum: Kadesh peace treaty (the first peace treaty in the World), Alexander the Great sarcophagus, and also sarcophagus from the Royal Necropolis of Sidon.

    Price for an adult ticket was 10 liras.

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    ISTANBUL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

    by mtncorg Written Nov 15, 2011

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    Located outside the west side of the Topkapý Palace are the three museums which make up the Archaeological complex. Dating back to 1891, the Main Building houses magnificent artifacts from the many centuries of the various cultures that have made modern-day Turkey home. Sarcophagi, sculptures, special exhibits make this a place where you could easily spend an entire day or more though not on Mondays as the complex is closed.

    It was fascinating to see the Lycian tombs removed here from southwestern Turkey - see my tips from Kekova for the tombs in the real world.

    The magnificent Alexander Sarcophagus Imperial Constantinople Main Building of the Museum Painting of Constantinople and the Golden Chain Lycian tomb removed from its environment
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    • Historical Travel

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  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    Turkiye in a nutshell

    by Tijavi Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This is one of the highlights of my visit to Istanbul, spending the whole afternoon here exploring the wondrous treasures exhibited in its various halls. You shouldn't miss this one for three reasons:

    1) It's the country in a nutshell. As it's virtually impossible for regular travellers to visit every Turkish archeological site, the museum offers visitors a sample of what the country has to offer in terms of archeological treasures, from the prehistoric times to the Ottoman period. I really enjoyed the galleries of statues housing the classical sculptures that could rival those found in Italy and Greece.

    Turkiye's Islamic traditions and roots are also well-represented in a separate building, which is a special treat for lovers of Islamic art. The pre-historic artifacts, also housed in a separate building, are also worth visiting.

    2) It's a great place to interact with locals. The museum's relaxed environment, unlike those of the hurried pace in bazaars and in Istiklal, gives you a chance to chat with locals, and get to know more of the culture. In my case, I found myself learning a lot about Turkish football from art students who are just as keen to interact with the tourists and practice their English. Thanks to them (the students), now I know a lot more about Galatasaray, Besiktas, and Fenerbahce. The only hitch though, was I made the mistake of revealing that my favorite team was Galatasaray to a group of Fenerbahce die-hards!

    3) It's a great place to recharge batteries. Tucked downhill from tourist-magnet Topkapi Palace, it's shaded parks, relaxed ambiance and less crowded halls give visitors a chance to take things on a more leisurely pace. The tea garden outside the museum is a great place to sit down, recharge your batteries and scribble your thoughts on your travel diary.

    Mighty Zeus Artifact from the Hittite period Inside the sarcophagus hall Another artifact in the sarcophagus hall A Fenerbahce fan art student
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  • leics's Profile Photo

    A wonderful museum.....

    by leics Updated Apr 24, 2010

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    Exhibits are well-displayed, although the lighting is necesarily dim in some parts.

    Superb sculptures, sarcophagi and funerary monuments abound.

    The 'Istanbul through the ages' exhibition on the upper floor is also fascinating, and includes video of the excavation and lifting of 24 (24!!!) ancient boats and their cargo which were recently discovered during construction work at Yenikapi. The finds from those excavations are stored in hundreds and hundreds of plastic trays within the museum, obscuring some of the exhibits but awaiting proper cataloguing and storage...a monumental task.

    The basement has some lovely Byzantine artwork, sculptures and mosaics.

    An entirely unmissable museum, imo. If you only visit one museum in Istanbul this should be it.

    Toilets and cafe too.

    More photos here.

    Funerary sculpture Sarcophagi in the courtyard Thousands of finds still to catalogue..... Byzantine mosaic face Intricate and beautifully carved sarcophagus
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  • muratkorman's Profile Photo

    A museum not to be missed

    by muratkorman Written Apr 14, 2010

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    It's a shame that it took me so many years to visit Archeology Museum in Istanbul. Having visited Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern numerous times, I always missed out this great museum. Finally I had the chance to visit and enjoy it. The Archeology Museum has a large collection of Turkish, Hellenistic and Roman artifacts. It houses over one million objects that represent almost all of the eras and civilizations in world history. The Istanbul Archeology Museum consists of three seperate sections: Archeological Museum (main building), Museum of the Ancient Orient (the building on the left from the entrance) and the Museum of Islamic Art (Tiled Kiosk). The ornate Alexander Sarcophagus, once believed to be prepared for Alexander the Great, is among the most famous pieces of ancient art in the museum. You can easily spend 3-4 hours here. It is open from 9 am to 5 pm everyday except Mondays. Admission fee is 10 TL.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Archeology
    • Photography

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  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Statues Part 2

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 2, 2010

    If you turn right after entering the museum you'll walk through six galleries containing Greek and Roman statues. These include the colourful Tyche, the personification of happiness, Roman, second century BC from Bolu; various busts of Roman emperors such as Augustus, Tiberius, and Claudius; plus statues of Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, and other emperors.

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  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Statues Part 1

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 2, 2010

    If you turn right after entering the museum you'll walk through six galleries containing Greek and Roman statues. These include the colourful Tyche, the personification of happiness, Roman, second century BC from Bolu; various busts of Roman emperors such as Augustus, Tiberius, and Claudius; plus statues of Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, and other emperors.

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    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

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    Alexander Sarcophagus

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 2, 2010

    The Alexander Sarcophagus is a late 4th century BC stone sarcophagus adorned with bas-relief carvings of Alexander the Great. It is one of four massive carved sarcophagi, forming two pairs, that were discovered during the excavations conducted by Osman Hamdi Bey at the necropolis near Sidon, Lebanon in 1887. The carvings on one long side of the piece depict Alexander fighting the Persians at the Battle of Issus. There's a colour reconstruction of one of the short sides of the Sarcophagus to show how brightly painted it would've once looked.

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    Sidon Sarcophagus

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 2, 2010

    This is the first exhibit room you'll come to if you turn left after entering into the main building. The room exhibits sarcophagi from the Royal Necropolis of Sidon (Side in modern-day Lebanon) which were unearthed by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1887 and in 1891 he persuaded the sultan to build the museum to house them.

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  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    Istanbul Archaeological Museum

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 2, 2010

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    I have to say that this huge museum, located in the grounds of the Topkapi Palace, was one of the best archaeological museums I've ever visited. The building was started by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1881, attaining its present neo-Greek form in 1908. It houses over one million objects that represent almost all of the eras and civilizations in world history. Highlights include:

    Alexander Sarcophagus, found in the necropolis of Sidon.
    Sarcophagus of the Crying Women, also found in Sidon.
    Sarcophagi of Tabnit and the Satrap.
    The Lycian tomb, a monumental tomb.
    Statues from ancient antiquity until the end of the Roman Era, from Aphrodisias, Ephesus and Miletus.
    Statue of an Ephebos.
    Parts of statues from the Temple of Zeus found at Bergama.
    Snake's head from the Serpentine Column erected in the Hippodrome.
    Mother-Goddess Cybele and votive stelai.
    Busts of Alexander the Great and Zeus.
    Fragments from the temple of Athena at Assos.
    800.000 Ottoman coins, seals, decorations and medals.
    One of the three known tablets of the Treaty of Kadesh.

    I took over 70 photos from the museum and could've taken a lot more so I've included a few more tips just to display some of them.

    Open: 9am-5pm Tue-Sun. Admission: TL10 (which includes the Istanbul Archaeological Museum).

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  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Arkeoloji Müzesi

    by MM212 Updated Feb 23, 2010

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    Inaugurated in 1891 in a building designed by the Franco-Turkish architect, Alexandre Vallaury, the Istanbul Archaeology Museum contains one of the most impressive collections of ancient and classical treasures in the world. With the Ottoman Empire then covering much of the eastern Mediterranean and the Near East, the museum was able to secure the swift transfer of countless discoveries made in various areas, many of which are no longer part of modern Turkey. The most important transfer occurred in 1887 upon the discovery of the Royal Necropolis of Sidon, Lebanon, whose countless astonishing sarcophagi are the crown jewel of treasures at the museum. Foremost is the "Alexander Sarcophagus", so named not because it belonged to Alexander the Great, but rather because of the detailed bas-relief carvings on the sarcophagus of him in battle, and another is the "Mourning Women Sarcophagus", which inspired the design of the museum's Neoclassical façade. The museum is composed of three buildings, each focuses on different artefacts; the main Archaeology Museum exhibits mainly Graeco-Roman treasures, the Museum of the Ancient Orient (Eski Şark Eserleri Müzesi) is for Anatolia and pre-Classical Near East, and the exquisite 15th century Tiled Pavilion (Çinili Köşk) suitably displays antique Ottoman and Anatolian tiles along with other Islamic objects.

    The Archaeology Museum is located within the first court of Topkapı Palace. For photos, take a look at the travelogue: "Royal Necropolis of Sidon."

    Arkeoloji M��zesi - Jan 2010 Roman fragments in the museum courtyard - Jan 2010 ��inili K��şk (Tiled Pavilion) - Jan 2010 ��inili K��şk on a snowy day - Jan 2010 Lycian Sarcophagus (5th century BC)
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    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

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  • SurfaceTravel's Profile Photo

    Ýstanbul Archaeological Museum

    by SurfaceTravel Written Feb 3, 2010

    The web site link, which I suspect changes frequently, is too long to fit below, so click here.

    This is definitely worth visiting; this museum is in great shape and it's well kept. The exhibits are interesting and signposted in English as well as Turkish. There is a pleasant garden outside with dozens of ancient columns and carvings that you can just wander around and touch. I was especially interested in the 4th century BC Alexander Sarcophagus (so called because of carvings of Alexander the Great on its sides), where they have created a mock-up underneath showing how the colours would have appeared, bright and new. Our daughter even enjoyed herself here.

    Garden at Istanbul Archaeology Museum Alexander Sarcophagus, Istanbul Archaeology Museum Alexander Sarcophagus, Istanbul Archaeology Museum Istanbul Archaeology Museum
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    • Archeology

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