10 Must-See Locations for Literature and Art Travelers in Istanbul

Biblical Istanbul, one of the centers of civilizations that shaped world history, is among today’s capitals of culture and art. We can define Istanbul, the hero of countless historical events and the subject of legends, as a living giant open-air museum. Istanbul has not got only full of majestic historical monuments but also full of options for those who want to meet different fields of art. You may find it challenging to choose among the biennials, art exhibitions, and museums waiting for those who love to live together with skill. Especially if you prefer to visit Istanbul in the footsteps of literature, you may need a guide. For this reason, we have prepared a list of places that literature and art travelers must-see.

1. Aşiyan Museum, Bebek

Aşiyan Museum

Aşiyan Museum, whose architectural drawings were made by Tevfik Fikret, is also the house where the famous poet lived. However, in this museum, besides Tevfik Fikret, it is possible to see the works of poets and writers of the Servet-i Fünun period. Aşiyan Museum also allows you to watch the Bosphorus from the most beautiful window in the world. Furthermore, the garden, which also contains the tomb of Tevfik Fikret, has different beauty with its centuries-old trees.

2. Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar Museum Library, Fatih

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar

The Tanpınar Museum Library, located in the Alay Mansion in Gülhane Park, turns into a meeting point with the events organized. Art events and conversations are held in the library, which has become a frequent destination for literature enthusiasts and writers. In the museum halls, apart from Tanpınar, there are sections belonging to literary figures such as Nazım Hikmet, Yahya Kemal, and Orhan Pamuk. In this mansion, which impresses with its architecture and exhibits, you can enjoy the silence and read your book in front of the view of Gülhane.

3. İstanbul Modern, Beyoğlu

İstanbul Modern

Hosting interdisciplinary events, Istanbul Modern is one of the most popular contemporary art museums. Opening its doors free of charge to all art lovers on Thursdays, Istanbul Modern awaits its visitors by emphasizing “Art is for everyone.” In addition, Istanbul Modern awaits art travelers with its contemporary collection and modern exhibitions.

4. Museum of Innocence, Beyoğlu


The Museum of Innocence bears the same name as the book by Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk. “Would it be a museum of dreams?” don’t say. The story set in the second half of the twentieth century becomes a reality in the museum. The things used, worn, heard, seen, accumulated, and imagined by the heroes described in the novel are displayed in carefully arranged boxes and showcases. It is unnecessary to read the book to visit this museum, where those who read the book will enjoy infused.

5. Borusan Contemporary, Rumeli Fortress

Rumeli Fortress

Borusan Holding, which supports every field of art, especially classical music, and visual arts, brings its Contemporary Art Collection to the public. Many works produced with various digital techniques such as video installation, neon-led, and photography are exhibited in Perili Köşk. It is possible to visit these works exhibited in Perili Köşk, accompanied by curators or with a digital exhibition guide.

6. Pera Museum, Beyoğlu


Pera Museum, a cultural heritage that adorns Tepebaşı, hosts fundamental works of world art. Pera Museum, which brings together the paintings in the Orientalist Painting Collection with art enthusiasts, offers a distinctive experience to its visitors. For example, visitors can join Osman Hamdi Bey’s fictional working environment and the Tortoise Trainer painting with virtual reality technology.

7. Sakip Sabanci Museum, Emirgan


Known as the Atlı Köşk, the residence belonging to Sakıp Sabancı was turned into a museum with its contents by the Sabancı Family. With the addition of a modern gallery, the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, which has reached international standards, exhibits outstanding collections worldwide. Thus, it is possible to participate in social and cultural activities at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, where the rare works of world-renowned painters are exhibited.

8. Elgiz Museum, Maslak

Elgiz Museum

Established as Turkey’s first contemporary art museum, Elgiz Museum oscillates like an oasis among Maslak business towers. Opening space for sculpture artists, exhibitions, and land art projects on its open-air terrace, Elgiz Museum offers a selection of collections in its permanent exhibition area. You can have the chance to see the works of artists working with different materials from different disciplines at the Elgiz Museum.

9. Orhan Kemal Museum, Cihangir

Orhan Kemal Müzesi

The house where the famous writer Orhan Kemal lived after his death was turned into a museum. In the museum, located at the end of one of the most beautiful slopes of Cihangir, special items such as Orhan Kemal’s typewriter are exhibited. In addition to the first book editions, Orhan Kemal’s photographs by Ara Güler are among the works worth seeing in the museum.

10. Pera Palace Hotel, Beyoglu

Pera Palace Hotel

Pera Place Hotel, the last stop of the Orient Express, is the only hotel where Agatha Christie stayed during her Istanbul travels. Staying in room 411 during each visit, Christie wrote her novel Murder on the Orient Express at Pera Palace Hotel. Today, Pera Palace Hotel continues to host literary travelers in room 411 dedicated to Agatha Christie. The hotel also has another space dedicated to the famous writer Ernest Hemingway. Pera Palace Hotel, which has hosted many famous names from the world of politics, literature, and art since its establishment, includes many names such as the Austrian King Franz Joseph, the King of England Edward, the famous spy Mata Hari, and the famous actress Greta Garbo. The most well-known guest of Pera Palace Hotel is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, room 101’s regular host that gave the hotel the status of a museum hotel.


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Top 10 Museums in Turkey with Their Magnificence and History

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