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.
If you are a local of a big city, touristic things become an "off the beaten path". A resident walks in Sultanahmet every day for years and does not even think to visit Hagia Sophia for example. I was quite lucky because I had a chance to visit important palaces and museums when I was a child. But a museum offers many informations to a person when he/she is older.
After we had visited an photograph exhibition in Darphane-i Amire, we decided to visit "Arkeoloji Muzesi". I knew that it is big, exciting and old but I did not expect this much. We strolled in it breathless.
This huge museum has three different buildings. One of them contains tiles. You can see the historical development of tile art in Turkish culture. The building has also historical importance. It is called Tiled Pavillion and decorated with wonderful tiles.
Other small building is The Museum of The Ancient Orient. It is at the entrance of Archeological Museum. The artifacts brought here from Egypt and Middle East.
The god Bes welcomes you at the entrance of he main building. This museum has a great collection of artifacts from Middle East, Anatolia, Cyprus and even from Istanbul itself.
In my opinion, to visit Archeological Museum is a must. I tried to finish it twice but I haven't reach the end, yet. I will tell you more about this incredible museum.
Archeology Museum is founded by Osman Hamdi Bey. He was also an important painter and a person I wanted to write about in VT several times and with several locations. When I'd saw the Museum I realized that I have to do it as soon as possible.
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
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.
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.
Istanbul's Archaeology Museum, built in the late 19th-century under Sultan Abdulhamit II, is a great museum. It's not on the scale of the British Museum and is not comparable to Ankara's Museum of Anatolian Civilizations if one wants to see Anatolian materials, but possesses an extensive collection of ancient artifacts nevertheless. Some of the Greek and Hellenistic pieces are among the finest pieces of deep relief I have ever seen, and it has some Anatolian and other artifacts as well.
Museum of the Ancient Orient is situated in a building just left of the entrance to the Archaeology Museum. In the colletions there are fýnds from Yemen and Egypt, from old Mesopotamia and the Hittite empire.
While you are in Istanbul, you should visit below stated places:
Under ground Byzantium cistern
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.
This building is the only example of Ottoman civil architecture built with a Seljuk impression to be found in Istanbul. The museum dates to about 1472. This was the home of the original Imperial Museum when it was founded in 1880. Those exhibits were moved to the Topkapý Palace and other museums in 1939. Since 1981, the building offers magnificent examples of Seljuk and Ottoman enameled ceramic tiles and pottery.
This museum displays artifacts from the Near Eastern lands that used to make up the Ottoman Empire – Egyptian mummies and the Kadesh Agreement are but a couple of almost 20,000 pieces within this collection. The building was originally a fine arts museum, but has served its present purpose since 1919.
At the time of my visit the Kadesh Agreement was part of a special exhibit within the Main Building, but normally you find it here.
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).
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 Tiled Kiosk was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed II in 1472 and is located in the grounds of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, near the Topkapi Palace. It is one of the oldest structures in Istanbul featuring Ottoman civil architecture and was a part of the Topkapi Palace outer gardens. It was used as the Imperial Museum between 1875 and 1891 before the collection moved to the newly constructed main building. Today, it contains many examples of Iznik tiles and Seljuk pottery and now houses the Museum of Islamic Art which is part of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.