Managed with an approach quite different from the conventional concept of museum and museum-management, Istanbul Modern is a must see art center. It is as “modern” as its name. Located in the Warehouse 4 belonging to Maritime Enterprises in Karaköy, Istanbul Museum of Modern Arts aims at reaching a wide section of the society with its dynamic and varied ambience, which educates and endears modern art to visitors, as well as shaping the artistic agenda.


Opened on December 11, 2004, Istanbul Modern is the first private museum in Turkey dedicated to contemporary and modern art. In fact, its origin goes back to the 1st International Contemporary Arts Exhibition, which has become the International Istanbul Biennial. Istanbul Modern was first conceived of twenty years ago by Dr. Nejat Eczacıbaşı, who founded Istanbul Foundation of Culture and Arts (IKSV) and who was impressed by the dynamism the biennial brought to the artistic environment of Istanbul. In a nutshell, rather than continuing the classical concept of museums and museum-management, it was founded to advance artistic production, creativity, education in arts- building an international bridge among cultures, and approaching museum management with a fresh understanding as “a center of education and culture”.Hosting important exhibitions such as “Who Are You? Ahmet Polat”, “Fikret Mualla Retrospective”, “In the Light of the Republic: Photographs by Otmar Pferschy”, and “Turkey Through the Magnum Photographs”, Istanbul Modern was visited by 17,500 people in its first week and has been visited by more than one million up to the present.

Space And Tranquility

Thanks to its area of eight thousand square meters, nothing is piled up in the museum. The sense of spaciousness that embraces you from the moment you arrive at the museum fills you with tranquility. With its extremely wide and peaceful halls, its beautiful view of the Bosphorus, it is a museum to impress everyone, foreign and native alike.

What To See And Where To Go In Istanbul Modern?

The exhibition halls of Istanbul Modern are separated into two main areas. On the upper floor of the two-story museum, the permanent collections of the museum can be seen. This collection consists of the works of Turkish artists from the 20th century and the present and is exhibited in a thematic arrangement. In order to make the space more dynamic and to render it more interesting, the arrangement and themes, the connecting paths between the works are renewed every year. On the other hand, in the spacious gallery downstairs, in addition to periodical exhibitions every year, there is the photograph section that aims to reflect modern Turkish photography.

To the left on the ground floor is the museum shop whose range of products is surprisingly rich. The shop offers gifts bearing the logo of the museum, inspired by the collections in the museum: there are hundreds of options including posters, postcards, mugs, bags, t-shirts, hats, stationary, trinkets, picture frames, even candles. A branch of this shop can also be found in Kanyon Shopping Centre. Passing through the shop, you reach the museum’s cafe-bar, famous for its scenic view. Seated against the magnificent view of the Historical Peninsula and the Topkapı Palace, you can sip your coffee or enjoy a meal.

Downstairs, which give the impression of being suspended from chains, the first thing to strike the eye is the museum library that creates the illusion of a second ceiling with books dangling from the first. In the library that has 4000 books and 35 subscriptions to periodicals, in addition to the printed press, it is also possible to access the sources it contains via the Internet. To use the library, one can get a “Library Visitor Pass” and enter the museum without paying a fee. The cinema of the museum is also on the same floor. In this hall that accommodates 100 people, classics, experimental work, animation, documentaries and short films are shown. Through these presentation programs, which are renewed every month, it is possible to follow national and international productions. A ticket is 17 try, while the discounted ticket is 9 try.

Educational programs

The museum has remembered children too. With programs arranged for schools, primary and high school pupils receive special education prepared jointly by teachers and the museum instructors. The museum program also contains art education through games for children aged between 4-6.

Closed on Mondays, Istanbul Modern is open through Tuesday to Sunday, between 10.00–18.00. On Thursdays, it can be visited free of charge between 10.00–20.00. Located between Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and Tophane-i Amire, behind the nargile coffeehouses of the Tophane district, Istanbul Modern can be reached from Beşiktaş, along the road between Nusretiye Mosque and TR Maritime Enterprises.