Museums in Istanbul

the Basilica Cistern

Being the main capital of the greatest three Empires in the world, and being located at one of the most important spots connecting Europe with Asia made Istanbul city one of the richest cities in the world in terms of culture and historical sights. Thus, it is not surprising for such a city to be holding many museums to talk about what it witnessed through the past 2500 years.

In general, Istanbul itself holds 80 museums most of them are archaeological and history museums but there also art and cultural museums. All of them contain objects and items that tell stories about ancient civilizations and the sophisticated technology they used to serve themselves  or great architecture they had.


Whether you are a fan of history or not, Istanbul’s museums are places that is definitely going to attract you. So here are some of the most important museums in Istanbul:



1- Topkapi Palace:


A living example and proof of both great architecture, and the organized infrastructure that Ottoman’s had.

Topkapı Palace was built in 1453 by Mohamed the conqueror. This palace served as a residential place for sultans and administrative for the government, in addition to the facilities that it has for the public to use like mosques and baths.

Now, it contains luxurious items from the ottoman empire’s period and some items that belongs to Prophet Mohammad.

It is a great place to visit and see more about the ottoman period.


2- Istanbul Archaeology Museum:


Located at the heart of Istanbul city right next to Gulhane park. This museum is probably the biggest museum in Istanbul because it consists of three museums: the Tiled Kiosk Museum, the Ancient museum, and the Archaeology museum. This museum holds approximately a million objects and items from very old civilizations like Ottoman, Egyption, Mesopotamian, Greek, and many other civilizations. It also holds the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great. You can easily get there using T1 Tramway line and get off at Gulhane station.

It is better to enter this museum early because it is big and will take some time to finish it.


3- Istanbul Modern Art Museum:


While some museums take care of history and old civilizations, this museum take care of art in all its types and kinds.

If you are a fan of art, this museum is the best place for you. The museum contains paintings, photographs, sculptures and hosts different kinds of galleries, both educational and social programs, and international art exhibitions that offer really wonderful works such as Toney Crag’s sculpture “ Human Nature” in 2018. It is really one of the greatest places in Istanbul.

4- MiniaTurk Museum:


It is an open museum located in Eyup Sultan district right next to its beautiful lake. The museum displays small miniature models of the historical and most famous sights in Turkey, and considered one of the largest Miniature parks in the world because it covers sixty thousand square meters. It also contains small food kiosks to have a snack while walking between the items. It is really fun to spend time there but make sure to visit it during March or April, the weather is very good at these two months.


5- The Basilica Cistern:

Located right next to the famous Hagia Sophia museum, the Basilica Cistern is considered a proof of what developed technology that Roman Empire had. This cistern was built in the sixth century and still standing until the 21st century, and was constructed on 336 columns with Medusa head on two of them to protect the cistern. It has served istanbul as the main source of water for many centuries because it is able to hold up to 2.8 million cubic feet of water. Now, the cistern is used as a museum to show the sophisticated system that was used more than fifteen hundred years ago.


6- the Ottoman Bank Museum:


Located in Beyoglu district exactly in Salt Galata Cultural Center building, this museum holds bank notes from the Ottoman Empire’s period in English, French, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish in addition to the old ottoman coins that was used at that time.

The Ottoman bank museum is rich with old documents and bank notes that are really important.



Istanbul city has many other museums that holds very important and old items and objects to be displayed as a proof of Istanbul’s rich history and culture, and they are fun to visit.

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