This museum is part of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum which is located in the grounds of the Topkapi Palace. It's the first building you come to on the left after passing through the entrance gate and is included in the admission price of the larger Istanbul Archaeological Museum. The museum itself was commissioned by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1883 as a Fine Arts School. Then it was re-organised as a museum and opened in 1935.
It displays some amazing Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Hittite exhibits such as some wonderful colourful tiled reliefs of horses, lions and some that look mythical in appearance from the complex at the Babylon Istar gate that are said to date from 575 BC. There's also some stone reliefs and statues, an Egyptian mummy and coffin, and pottery items.
Open: 9am-5pm Tue-Sun. Admission: TL10 (which includes the Istanbul Archaeological Museum).
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."
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.
Two visits were not enough to do justice to this museum, although in retrospect there were things I devoted too much time to. It's not simply the size of the museum: rather its the range of history covered, and the attendant risk of cultural indigestion.
I'm currently fascinated by the Byzantine empire, which is not very well served here. The problem isn't simply the tragically small amount that has survived (that's what happens if you make stuff from gold.....gets melted down). Its the fact that they separate all the culturally Byzantine stuff from Anatolia dating from between the fatal battle of Manzikert in the eleventh century and the final death-blow in 1453 from the stuff found in Byzantium itself. Which means that things that belong next to eachother are galleries apart. Effectively you have to follow the same timeline twice.
The gallery devoted to the many layers of Troy are splendid, and there is a great deal of interesting chunks of classical statuary amongst which the so-called Alexander Tomb is the star: it notably retains some of the paint finish which the Greeks applied to their statuary. None of it should be the natural stone as we tend to think of it.
This sounds like it might be a bit dull and nerdy, but not at all. I loved it and so did my 11 year old.
The quality and antiquity of the stuff just has to impress you!
It takes about half a day to get around it. It's right beside the Blue Mosque, Ayia Sofia & Topkapi so you can take in a couple of things in that day.
The cafe takes some beating as well - you are outside, surrounded by the artifacts they can't squeeze inside. Stuff which other museums would die for, just lying around in the yard...
These musea - there are three buildings here with at least five collections - not only have a wonderful collection, it is also very good presented. All texts are in Turkish and English, not too long, but neither too short. Here are some of the best pieces of Mediterranean / Near East artefacts I've ever seen, there are Sumerian exhibits, Hittites and even Egyptian. The so called Alexander Sarcophagus is worth the trip to Istanbul, ***** -
There is a fine collection of Islamic ceramics.
There are two interesting exhibition on Istanbul itself: one is thematic, the other is about the recent finds with the building of the new subway. Both are very informative about the history of the city and a must see for every traveller.
The museum has a (too) small self-service café in the court and the museum shop is also too small for this important museum. Bookshops in town have more and better books and guides.
While most people are trying to elbow their way into Topkapı Palace, few realize what a wonderful gem this museum is.
Surely the imperial jewels are spectacular in the Palace, but this museum has an outstanding collection of Anatolian/Near Eastern, classical Greek artifacts as well as a beautiful kiosk showing off Turkish tiles.
My favorite is the haut relief of the Alexander sarcophagus. I think it's more beautiful than the Elgin marbles!
The kiosk that has been made by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1472 is one of the oldest examples of Ottoman civil architecture in Istanbul. It has been used as Müze-i Hümayun (Empire Museum) in between 1875-1891. It was opened to public in 1953 with the name of Fatih Museum where Turkish and Islamic works of art were displayed and it was transferred to Istanbul Archaeology Museums due to its site.
You can watch my 4 min 30 sec HQ Video Istanbul Museum of Islamic Art Tiled Kiosk out of my Youtube channel with Arabic music – Sahabash - traditional.
The Museum of the Ancient Orient was commissioned by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1883 as a Fine Arts School. Then it was re-organised as a museum and opened in 1935. It was reopened in 1974 after restoration works on the interior.
On the upper floor of the two-storey building, Anatolian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Arabic works of art are displayed. Statue of Naramsin, the king of Akad, the Kades Agreement and Zincirli statue are the unique works of art in the museum.
You can watch my 3 min 02 sec HQ Video Istanbul Museum of the Ancient Orient out of my Youtube channel with the music by Baran – E Shadi - traditional.
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 watch my 4 min 46 sec HQ Video Istanbul Museum of the Sarcophagus out of my Youtube channel with the music by Baran – E Shadi – traditional (cont).
The Istanbul Archaeology Museum consists of three museums.
Archaeological Museum (main building),
Museum of the Ancient Orient and the
Museum of Islamic Art (Tiled Kiosk).
It is situated near Gülhane Park and Topkapý Palace.
The construction of the main building was started by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1881, attaining its present neo-Greek form in 1908.
The four storeys of the new building are arranged as exhibition saloons. There is an inscription “Istanbul for Ages” on the first floor of the building, “Anatolia and Troia for Ages” on the second floor and “Surrounding Cultures of Anatolia: Cyprus, Syria-Palestine” on the top floor.
You can watch my 3 min 58 sec HQ Video Istanbul Archaeological Museum part I out of my Youtube channel with the music by Par – E Parvaz – traditional.
You can watch my 4 min 01 sec HQ Video Istanbul Archaeological Museum part II out of my Youtube channel with the music by Yadestan - traditional.
The Archeology Museum is a must see. Actually it's a complex of three museums - main building, the Museum of Ancient Orient and Kiosk. The collection of this museum is outstanding -you can find the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great, sarcophagus of the Crying women, monumental Lycian tomb, treasures from Troya and many other things. The museum is also famous for its rich chronological collection of locally found artifacts.
The Museum was built in the 19th century by the initiative of the prominent Turkish archeaologist Osman Hamdi-bey.
Don't miss the oriental Kiosk - the mansion was originally built by Mehmet the Conqueror as a hunting pavilion. It's a really beautiful building with turquoise ceramic tiles.
Cats are another attraction of this museum. They are everywhere and it seems that they are eagerly waiting for caress.
Entrance fee is 10 Liras
The Archaeological Museum (Arkeoloji Muzesi in Turkish) is one of the two main archaeological museums in Turkey (the other is in Ankara). The Istanbul museum is spread out over three buildings adjacent to the Topkapi Palace. Don't skip the two smaller buildings (Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Cinili Pavillion) to save time, they contain some of the museum's best exhibits.
The Museum of the Ancient Orient contains exhibits from the Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, and other ancient middle-eastern civilizations. Highlights from that building include the Treaty of Kadesh (the oldest surviving written peace treaty) and decorative tiles from Babylon's Ishtar Gate.
The Cinili Pavillion is a beatiful little building whose rooms are decorated with ceramic tiles. The pavillion houses part of the museum's tile and ceramic collection. A highlight is a tile mihrab (decorative wall niche that indicates the direction of Mecca) from a mosque in Karaman.
The main building features hundreds of artifacts from the ongoing excavations at Troy, an outstanding sarcophogus collection (the highlight of which is the Alexander sarcohagus from Sidon, Lebanon), and the museum's collections of Byzantine art. There is also a small children's museum and an exhibition of artifacts from ongoing excavations at construction sites in Istanbul.
[photos to come]
I very much enjoyed the Istanbul Archeology museum. The museum houses many interesting pieces, and held my attention for several hours. It is a good opportunity to escape the heat during the summer months as well. You will enventually, and may already be tired of before you get to the museum, ancient sarcophogus' and statues and lamps and etc., however if you're bored of it just breeze through the boring parts in search of the things that interest you more. I would recommend that anyone in Istanbul go here, it
Not the best presented collection in the world but Istanbul's archaeological museum does contain some stupendous exhibits, with the entire collection comprising the Oriental Antiquities Museum and the Tiled Pavilion as well as the archaeological museum itself.
The range of exhibits includes artefacts from the great Empires that held sway in the region over the centuries, most notably the Romans and Persians. Among the items on display is a fabulous collection of jewellery found at Troy and a huge collection of Sarcophagi - including one reputed to have held the bones of Alexander the Great.