Museum Pass Istanbul
The Museum Pass Istanbul is the magic card which will grant you access to the most iconic museums in Istanbul, no ticketing queues and discounts at other touristic related attractions.
Istanbul is a city full of history and culture. Known through the ages as Constantinople or Byzantium, the city was only founded 2.4 millenniums ago; however, its lands encompass areas where findings dating 9 millenniums ago have been discovered. No wonder why archaeological artifacts or ruins can be seen in almost every corner of the city. With such a rich history and things to see, you would need to invest quite a long time in order to visit the more than 80 museums located in the city.
The Museum Pass Istanbul will grant you access to 12 of the best museums under the control of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, one of the 2 government bodies in charge of the administration of museums and palaces in Turkey.
The Museum Pass Istanbul has a price of 85 Turkish Liras (TL), but it includes free access to 12 museums that would normally cost 170 TL at the ticket counters.
Should I buy the Museum Pass Istanbul?
If you’re interested in museums and want to visit 3 or more museums at the best price, the Museum Pass Istanbul is the right option for you. We recommend you to visit the 12 museums included in the Pass not only because you would get the best deal possible, but mainly because you would see interesting things that normally wouldn't have crossed your mind.
If you are not very sure, the ticket for the Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace Museums (excluding the Harem section of the palace) have a cost of 80 TL at the ticketing counters, let alone the fact that you have to wait in the line of each museum in order to buy the tickets.
If you are visiting Istanbul for 3 days or more, we suggest you to purchase the Istanbul Tourist Pass and the Museum Pass Istanbul together, so that you can get the most complete experience in Istanbul.
Where can I buy the Museum Pass Istanbul?
The card can be purchased online on the website of Istanbul Tourist Pass, or at the at the ticketing counter located in the entrance of the museums included in the card. However, if you want to avoid the hassles of waiting in the line to buy the card or realizing that you were late to buy it, we recommend you to buy it online.
What is included in the Museum Pass Istanbul?
Basically, access to 12 museums, no ticketing queues and discounts at selected places. The following is the list of museums included:
Hagia Sophia Museum
Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya, in Turkish) is one of the most important symbols of Istanbul, as well as a magnificent imperial artifact. The construction served as a museum for the past 77 years, and before that, it was the religious center of the city and of the whole world, for more than 1400 years. Being one of the most special masterpieces of the universal architecture, it is not a surprise that the marvelous Hagia Sophia was chosen to be a UNESCO World Heritage in 1985.
Hagia Sophia is included for free in the Museum Pass Istanbul.
Commissioned by Emperor Constantine the Great, right after the Hagia Sofia, St.Irene is the second largest and oldest church from the Byzantine era still standing in Istanbul.
It became the first museum of the Ottoman Empire, and has been used as such for quite a long time. Furthermore, it is the only church surviving today with an atrium (in other words, it is lit from above through small windows).
Hagia Irene is included for free in the Museum Pass Istanbul.
The Topkapı Palace served as the home to 25 sultans of the Ottoman Empire, during approximately 400 years and as the administrative center of the empire until the court was moved to the Dolmabahçe Palace in 1856 by Sultan Abdul Mecid I.
The palace was turned in to a museum by the Republic of Turkey in 1924 and nowadays hosts an impressive collection of artifacts used in the palace, jewlery, weaponry and religious relics.
The Topkapı Palace and the Harem section are included for free in the Museum Pass Istanbul.
The Archaeology Museum is located on the road leading up to Topkapı Palace just to the right of the entrance gate to Gülhane Park. It was first founded as the Müze-i Hümayun (The Imperial Museum) by the painter Osman Hamdi Bey in 1891.
The museum was founded with the goal of providing an exhibition space for artifacts from all of the civilizations that had existed within the borders of the Ottoman Empire.
The Archaeological Museum is included for free in the Museum Pass Istanbul.
Istanbul Mosaic Museum is located in a portico courtyard that belonged to the Byzantine Grand Palace, which lies just behind the Blue Mosque in the Arasta Bazaar.
The Mosaic Museum houses many valuable mosaics that were discovered during excavations at the Grand Palace during the beginning of the 20th century, along with other works taken from previously existing restorations.
The Istanbul Mosaics Museum is included for free in the Museum Pass Istanbul.
The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, which is home to the world’s most extensive collection of carpets, houses a total of forty thousand pieces in a very central area of Istanbul.
The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is included for free in the Museum Pass Istanbul.
Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam
The museum, located inside the Gülhane Park, close to the Archaeological Museum, in the place where the imperial stables were located. The museum has on display replicas of scientific artifacts utilized by Muslim scholars and teaches about the influence of the Islamic world in the development of sciences and technology.
The Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam is included for free in the Museum Pass Istanbul.
Originally a Byzantine Greek Ortodox church, Chora (Holy Saviour) Museum is located in the Historical Peninsula in the neighborhood of Edirnekapı. With its incredible mosaics and frescoes, dating from the later period of Byzantine pictorial art, the Chora is one of the most important museums in Istanbul.
Access is not very easy, but this masterpiece is worth seeing.
The Chora Museum is included for free in the Museum Pass Istanbul.
Galata Mevlevi House Museum
The Galata Mevlevi Housel Museum is included for free in the Museum Pass Istanbul.
Yıldız Palace is located inside a 500.000 square-meter woods between Beşiktaş and Ortaköy and it is one of the most interesting places to visit in Istanbul.
The Yıldız Palace Museum is included for free in the Museum Pass Istanbul.
Rumeli Hisarı Museum
The Rumeli Hisarı is one of the most important fortresses built by the order of Sultan Mehmet I as part of his master strategy to conquer Constantinople from the Byzantines.
The fortress was built along with another one in the Asian side in the narrowest section of the Bosphorus Strait and allowed the Ottomans to block the pass of ships, thus controlling one of the most important source of supplies in the area.
The Rumeli Hisarı Museum is included for free in the Museum Pass Istanbul.
Only 10 minutes away from the Chora Museum, Istanbul Fethiye Museum is another church, Pammakaristos Monastery, converted into a mosque after the conquest of Constantinople with astonishing and well-preserved frescoes.
The Fethiye Church Museum is included for free in the Museum Pass Istanbul.
The Museum Pass Istanbul also includes discounts at places like the Jurassic Land, Harbiye Military Museum, Maiden's Tower, The Museum of Innocence, Pera Museum, Rahmi Koç Museum, Sakip Sabancı Museum, long and short Bosphorus tours with Şehir Hatları and more.
What is not included in the Museum Pass Istanbul?
Access to the Dolmabahçe Palace and the Basilica Cistern among other museums is not included. The reason for this is that the museums not included are under the administration of a different branch of the government or private institutions.
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