Top 8 Museums You Must Visit in Istanbul

Istanbul, which has been home to many important civilizations for centuries, is among the most important cultural capitals of the world due to its historical beauties. There are countless museums to visit in this beautiful city, some of which is an open-air museum. If you are wondering which of the most beautiful museums in Istanbul, continue reading our article! Here are eight museums you should visit in Istanbul.

  1. Topkapi Palace Museum

Topkapi Palace was built in 1478 and was used as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire as well as the residence of the sultans for 400 years. The palace has an impressive architecture and is located at the end of the Historic Peninsula between the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, and it is situated in Sarayburnu. Topkapi Palace Museum, which was turned into a museum in 1924 with the declaration of the Republic, is home to valuable works such as architectural buildings, collections, unique objects of the sultans, sacred relics, archival documents, the famous Kaşıkçı diamond.

  1. Hagia Sophia Museum


The Hagia Sophia Museum has an exceptional place in the history of world architecture with its size and fascinating architectural features. The building, which was built as a church in the past, is known to be the largest church built by the Eastern Roman Empire in Istanbul. The Emperor Justinian sent the message to all the provinces to make Hagia Sophia magnificent and spectacular, and ordered the collection of the most beautiful architectural pieces; Thus, the columns and marbles used were brought from the ruins of ancient cities such as Aspendos, Ephesus, Tarsus in Anatolia and Syria. The church was converted into a mosque with the conquest of Istanbul; In 1935, upon the order of Atatürk, it was turned into a museum and opened to visitors.

  1. Istanbul Archaeological Museum


The Istanbul Archeology Museums, which consist of three units, the Archeology Museum, the Museum of Ancient Oriental Art, the Tiled Pavilion Museum, were built by Alexandre Vallaury, the famous architect of the time. Opened in 1891 as the Imperial Museum, the museum contains artefacts from the Anatolia, North Africa, the Balkans, Mesopotamia and the Arabian Peninsula. The museum, which also hosts periodical exhibitions, also includes a tablet with the text of the first known treaty of the world, the Kadesh Treaty and the famous Sarcophagus of Alexander.

  1. Dolmabahce Palace Museum

Dolmabahçe Palace, which was built by the 31st Ottoman sultan Sultan Abdülmecid in 1856, was also used by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic between 1927-1938; Ataturk also died here. The palace, which was also partially open to protocol and touristic visits between 1926 and 1984, was opened to visitors as a museum in 1984. The different parts of the palace and Atatürk’s room are surely worth seeing.

  1. Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Istanbul Modern Art Museum is a museum that is home to significant cultural and artistic events to exhibit Turkey’s artistic creativity to the masses. Turkey’s first modern art museum was founded in 2004. In the museum; A multi-faceted service area is offered to visitors with periodical and continuous exhibition halls, photo gallery, educational and social programs, library, cinema, restaurant and store.

  1. Sakıp Sabancı Museum

The main building of the Sakıp Sabancı Museum was built by the famous Italian architect Edouard De Nari in 1925 by Prince Mehmed Ali Hasan of the Egyptian Hıdiv family. The building was used as a summer residence by the Hidiv family for many years and was purchased by Hacı Ömer Sabancı in 1951. Following the death of Sabancı, the mansion, which was used as a permanent residence by Sakıp Sabancı, was donated by the Sabancı family in 1998 to be converted into a museum with valuable collections and belongings. The Sakıp Sabancı Museum was opened to visitors in 2005 and today, with its magnificent location on the Bosphorus, it is a rich collection of Book Arts and Calligraphy Collection, Painting Collection, Furniture and Decorative Works Collection; It also hosts periodical exhibitions.

  1. Rahmi M. Koç Museum


This building, which was an old Ottoman lodge house in 1991 (where chains and anchors were thrown into the sea to secure ships), was purchased in 1991 by the Rahmi M. Koç Museum Foundation. After the restoration, it was opened to visitors in 1994 as Rahmi M. Koç Museum. The collection of Rahmi M. Koç Museum is divided into topics such as Atatürk Department, Highway Transportation, Railway Transportation, Maritime, Aviation, Letterpress Printing Workshop, Living History, Machines, Communication, Scientific Instruments, Models and Toys. The museum also organizes periodical exhibitions, workshops for children and adults and educational programs.

  1. SALT Galata / SALT Beyoğlu

SALT Beyoğlu

Opened in 2011, SALT welcomes visitors in two separate buildings in Istanbul. The museum is home to the old Ottoman Bank collection inside the building in Galata; In Beyoğlu, it hosts contemporary artworks and periodical exhibitions.

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