The Hümayun Museum, which consists of archaeological artifacts collected until that day in the Hagia Eirene Church, formed the basis of the Istanbul Archeology Museum. While visiting Istanbul Archeological Museum you may also stop by Hagia Eirene Museum which has a special place for history. Saffet Pasha, the Minister of Education of the period, made personal efforts to bring works to the museum, and at the same time, one of the teachers of Galatasaray High School, Edward Goold, of English origin, was appointed as the museum director.

In 1872, the Minister of Education Ahmed Vefik Pasha re-established the Hümayun Museum, which had been abolished for a while, with the help of German Dr. Phillip Anton Dethier. As a result of Dr. Dethier's work, the Hagia Eirene Church was insufficient for the newly arrived works, but a new building could not be built due to financial difficulties. The "Tiny Pavilion", which was built during the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmet, was converted into a museum and added to the there in 1880.

It took time for the museum to become world-renowned. In 1881, Osman Hamdi Bey, the son of the grand vizier Edhem Pasha, became the director of museums, and the attempts to find artifacts to the museum gained momentum. However, he also participated in the search for artifacts.


Building Of The Istanbul Archeological museum

The Istanbul Archeology Museum’s building architecture belongs to Alexander Vallury. The building, was built with the need for a new museum building to exhibit magnificent works such as the Iskender Tomb, the Crying Women's Tomb, the Lycian Tomb, and the Tabnit Tomb, which were brought to Istanbul from the Sidon King Necropolis opened on 13 June 1891. 

June 13rd, when the museum is opened to visitors, is celebrated as the museum day in Turkey. With the addition of the north wing in 1903 and the south wing in 1907 to the Archeology Museum building, the museum gained its present appearance. Due to the need for new exhibition halls, an addition was made to the southeast adjacent to the Main Museum building between 1969 and 1983, and this section was named the Annex Building.

The building, which has witnessed an important part of history, is waiting to host you with its fascinating texture. By Istanbul Tourist Pass, you can visit Istanbul Archeological Museum with guided tours and without paying for entrance.

Artifacts in the istanbul archeological museum

This uniquely beautiful building, where you will step into the dusty pages of history as soon as you enter, is home to many ancient artifacts. There are approximately 1 million artifacts in the museum, which contains artifacts from all over the world, most of which are from Turkey. It is hardly possible not to admire the unique artifacts from Mesopotamia and Anatolia.

Especially the ancient Greek exhibition it contains will make you feel as if you are wandering among the ancient Greek gods, taking you away from today's world with its fascination.

Some of the famous artifacts in the museum are:

  • Statue of Hermes
  • Statue of Aphrodite
  • Archaic Temple Pediment from Assos
  • Ancient Greek Exhibition
  • Siloam Inscription
  • Virgin Mary Relief
  • Roman Emperor II. Valentinian's Statue
  • Mari Governor Puzur Ishtar
  • Sarcophagy Porphyry Stones of Byzantine Emperors
  • The original text of the Treaty of Kadesh, signed in BC 1258
  • Mesopotamian Statues
  • Babylon Reliefs
  • Palmyra Reliefs
  • Bust of Marcus Aurelius from Rome
  • A panel from the Ishtar Gate in Babylon
  • Kybele Statue from Bitínia
  • Nippur, the Ancient Egyptian Measure of Length
Orpheos statue

Orpheus, who appeared as a mythological character, became a school over time and was associated with Jesus in Christian art. In the root of this, Orpheus, who tamed all the animals with various musical instruments he played during his lifetime, lost his lover with the bite of a snake. Due to the deep sadness he experienced, he was given the chance to go to the underworld and bring his lover. But Orpheus, who lost his lover again in this unfortunate experience, devotes himself to preaching only to men. Because of this dedication, Orpheus, who is associated with Jesus, appears in some works with descriptions similar to Jesus the Good Shepherd.

Orpheus is depicted sitting and with an animal next to him, in the statue. The details of his dress are made with a few flush scratches rather than elaborate. The depiction was completed with the face and hair drawing, which was seen classically in Roman art in these centuries.

Alexander sarcophagus

The Sayda Sarcophagi are the sarcophagi of the kings' tombs in Sidon, unearthed by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1887. 7 of the 18 sarcophagi found in the necropolis were left in place, and the others were brought to Istanbul with a very meticulous study. The most important of the invaluable sarcophagi is the Alexander Sarcophagus, and the oldest is the Tabnit Sarcophagus. Apart from this, other important sarcophagi are the Sarcophagus of Crying Women, the Lycian Sarcophagus and the Sarcophagus of Satrap.

The Alexander Sarcophagus is considered the most important artifact in the Istanbul Archaeological Museums. According to some archaeologists, this priceless artifact is the symbol of Istanbul. You can enjoy seeing this and this kind of works that are exhibited in the Istanbul Archeology Museum

Frequently Asked Question

Why should I Visit The Istanbul Archaeological museum?
First of all, you can have the chance to see many of the works you read in the books in this wonderful museum, which provides a wonderful experience for history lovers.
Istanbul Archaeological Museum Opening Hours?
Istanbul Archaeological Museum, which is open every day, opens at 09:00 in the summer and closes at 19:30, while in the winter season it opens at 09:00 and closes at 17:30.
How many historical objects are there in Istanbul Archeology Museum?
In the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, you will find around one million artifacts from all over the world.
What is the role of museums in Archaeology?
In the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, some very important artifacts from the ancient world are preserved and investigated.