MUSEUMS

ISTANBUL ARCHEOLOGY MUSEUM

Istanbul Archeology Museum

Address: Osman Hamdi Bey Yokusu Gulhane - Istanbul
Tel: (212) 520 77 40
Fax: (212) 527 43 00

The Directorate of Istanbul Archeology Museums that is dependent on the General Directorate of Monuments and Museums of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Turkey is on the Osman Hamdi Bey Ascent that opens to the Topkapi Palace Museum from the right of the Gulhane Park Entry which is in the Sultanahmet district.

Istanbul Archeology Museums consist of three museums. Those are Archeology Museum, Old Eastern Works Museum and Enameled Kiosk Museum.

Istanbul Archeology Museums, which were established as Muze-i Humayun (Empire Museum) by the famous artist and museum director Osman Hamdi Bey at the end of the 19th century, were opened to public on June 13, 1891. Besides its importance as the “first Turkish museum”, it has an importance and specialty being one of the museum buildings that are constructed as a Museum in the World. Today, it still protects its outstanding place in the World’s biggest museums with its works more than a million belonging to various cultures.

In the museum collections, there are rich and very important works of art belonging to various civilizations from the regions from Balkans to Africa, from Anatolia and Mesopotamia to Arab Peninsula and Afghanistan that were in the borders of the Ottoman Empire.

The Archeology Museum consists of two separate buildings.

I) MAIN BUILDING (OLD BUILDING)

Its construction was started in 1881 by Osman Hamdi Bey and with the additions in 1902 and 1908 it gained its latest form. Its architect is Alexander Vallaury. The outer face of the building was made by inspiring from the Iskender Tomb and Crying Women tombs. It is a beautiful example of neoclassical buildings in Istanbul.

On the upper floor of the two-flat building there are small stone works, pots and pans, small terracotta statues, the Treasure Department and approximately 800.000 Ottoman coins, seals, decorations, medals and Non-Muslim and Muslim Coin Cabinets, in which coin moulds were kept, and a Library with approximately 70.000 books.

On the bottom floor saloons of the building, famous tombs are displayed such as Iskender Tomb, Crying Women Tomb, Satrap Tomb, Lykia Tomb, Tabnit Tomb that are in the Sayda king graveyard.

On the bottom floor, besides the display of tombs, there is Old Age Statuary display in which statues and relieves from important antic cities and regions take place. In this display, the development of the art of statuary from Archaic Period to the Byzantium Period is displayed in chronological order with outstanding examples.

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II) ADDITIONAL BUILDING (NEW BUILDING)

The additional building attached to the southeast of the main building is of 6 stories. There are depots in the two stories under the ground floor.

The four stories of the building are arranged as exhibition saloons. There is “Istanbul for Ages” on the first floor of the building, “Anatolia and Troia for Ages” on the second floor and “Surrounding Cultures of Anatolia: Cyprus, Syria-Palestine” on the top floor. There is Infant Museum and architectural works display on the first floor of the additional building. The Thrakia-Bithynia and Byzantium display saloon, which was opened in August 1998, can be visited on the floor under the first floor with the name of “Surrounding Cultures of Istanbul”.

The museum has received the European Council Museum Award in 1991, which is its 100. establishment anniversary, with the new arrangement made in the lower floor saloons and the Additional Building display.

OLD EASTERN WORKS MUSEUM

The building, which was made by Osman Hamdi bey in 1883 as Sanayi-i Nefise (Fine Arts School), was organized as a museum with the works made between 1917-1919 and 1932-1935. The building, which was closed to visit in 1963, was opened to visit again in 1974 with a new display by changing the inner parts.

On the upper floor of the two-flat building, Anatolian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Arabic works of art are displayed. Statue of Naramsin, the king of Akad, the Kades Agreement and Zincirli statue are the unique works of art in the museum.

Moreover, in this museum there is a “Tablet Archive” in which 75.000 documents with cuneiform writings are kept.

ENAMELED KIOSK MUSEUM

The kiosk that has been made by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1472 is one of the oldest examples of Ottoman civil architecture in Istanbul. It has been used as Muze-i Humayun (Empire Museum) between 1875-1891. It was opened to public in 1953 with the name of Fatih Museum where Turkish and Islamic works of art were displayed and it was transferred to Istanbul Archeology Museums due to its site.

The entrance façade of the kiosk is single-flat and the back façade is of two-stories. There is a marble porch of 14 columns in the entrance. The entrance exedra is decorated with mosaic enamels. Various chinaware and ceramics from the Seljuk and Ottoman period are displayed in the Kiosk that forms from 6 rooms and a middle saloon. There are approximately 2000 works of art in the museum and its depots.

TOPKAPI PALACE MUSEUM

TOPKAPI PALACE MUSEUM

Address: Topkapi - Istanbul
Tel : (0212) 522 44 22 / 512 04 80-5 lines
Fax : (0212) 528 59 91

It is located on the promontory of the historical peninsula in Istanbul which overlooks both the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus. The walls enclosing the palace grounds, the main gate on the land side and the first buildings were constructed during the time of Fatih Sultan Mehmet (the Conqueror) (1451 - 81). The palace has taken its present layout with the addition of new structures in the later centuries. Topkapi Palace was the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans, starting with Fatih Sultan Mehmet until 1856, when Abdülmecid moved to the Dolmabahce palace, functioned as the administrative center of the state. The Enderun section also gained importance as a school.

The main exterior gate of the Topkapi Palace is the Imperial Gate (Bab-i Humayun) which opens up to the Ayasofya Square. This gate leads to a garden known as the First Court. This court has the Aya Irene Church which was once used as an ammunition depot and behind the Church there is the mint. In the past various pavilions allocated to different services of the palace were located in the First Court. In later years these have been replaced with public buildings and schools. Some of these are still existing. At the end of the 19th century Archeology Museum and School of Fine Arts (now Oriental Works Museum) were built in the large garden which is to the northwest of the First Court. The oldest structure in this section is the Çinili Kosk built by Fatih, which is now used as the Museum of Turkish Tiles and Ceramics. On the walls of this outer garden facing Bab-i ali (the Imperial Gate), there is Alay Koskü (procession Pavilion) where the Sultans used to watch the marching ceremonies. A section of the outer garden was planned by the municipality at the beginning of the 20th century and opened to the public. Known today as the Gülhane Park, the enterance has one of the largest gates of the palace. After the First Court, there is the Second Court which contains the palace buildings. It is entered through a monumental gate called Bab'us-Selam or the Middle Gate. The buildings in this court form the outer section of the palace which is called Birun. On the right there are the instantly noticed palace kitchens with their domes and chimneys and the dormitories of those who worked there. The most important of the buildings on the left side of the court are the Kubbealti and the Inner Treasury. Behind Kubbealti rises the Justice Tower, which is one of the symbols of the Topkapi Palace. The Harem section, which comes all the way to the back of these buildings is entered from the Third Court. Third Court is entered through the gate called Bab'üs Sa'ade (Gate of the White Eunuchs). This section of the palace is called Enderun, and it is the section where the sultans live with their extended families. Hence it is specially protected. The barracks of the Akagalar, which guard Bab'üs Sa'ade are on both sides of the gate. There are two structures. The first which is immediately opposite the gate is the Throne Room or the Audience Hall. Here the sultans receive the ambassadors and high ranking state officials such as Grand Visier or the Visiers. Right behind the Throne Room there is the library built by Ahmet III (1703 - 30). On the right side of the Third Court, there is the barracks of the Enderun and the Privy Treasury which is also known as the Mehmet the Conqueror Pavilion. On the side facing the Fourth Court, there is the Larder Barracks of the Enderun, the Treasury Chamber and the Chamber of the Sacred Relics. The left side starts with the Harem. The harem which covers a large part of the Palace consists of about 60 spaces of varying sizes. The main structures which are located in front of the Harem, facing the Third Court are Akagalar Mosque, Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Barracks of the Sacred Relics Guards and Chambers of the Sacred Relics. Here, the sacred relics brought back by Sultan Yavuz Selim from Egypt in 1517 are kept. The Fourth Court is entered from a covered path going from both sides of the Treasury Room. Here the buildings are located in the first part of the court, which has two sections of different levels. On the left side of this section called Lala Garden or Lale Garden there is Mabeyn which is the beginning point of Harem's access to the garden, terrace for the ladies with removable glass enclosure, Circumcision Room, Sultan Ibrahim Patio and another one of the symbols of Topkapi palace, the Iftariye (or Kameriye) and Baghdad Pavilion. This pavilion was built by Murad IV in 1640 to commemorate the Baghdad Campaign. At the center of the first section of the Fourth Court, there is the Big Pool and Ravan Pavilion next to it. This pavilion was also built by Murad IV in 1629, to commemorate the Revan Campaign. The side facing the second section has Sofa Pavilion (Koca Mustafa Pasha Pavilion), Basbala Tower and Hekimbasi (Chief Physician) Room. The Sofa Mosque and Esvap Chamber and the latest built Mecidiye Pavilion are on the right hand side of the Fourth Court. Out of the pavillions built on the shore of the Marmara Sea, only Sepetciler Mansion has survived until the present.

During 18th. Century when the Topkapi palace took its final shape, it was sheltering a population of more than 10.000 in its outer (Birun) and inner (Enderun) and Harem sections. It shows no architectural unity as new parts were added in every period according to the needs. However, this enables us to follow the stages Ottoman Architecture went through from the 15th to the middle of the 19th century at the Topkapi Palace. The buildings of the 15th - 17th centuries are simpler and those of the 18th - 19th centuries, particularly in terms of exterior and interior ornamentation are more complex.

Topkapi Palace was converted to a museum in 1924. Parts of the Palace such as the Harem, Baghdad Pavilion, Revan Pavilion, Sofa Pavilion, and the Audience Chamber distinguish themselves with their architectural assets, while in other sections artifacts are displayed which reflect the palace life. The museum also has collections from various donations and a library.

KARIYE (CHORA) MUSEUM

Kariye Museum

Address: Edirnekapi - Istanbul
Tel: (212) 523 30 09

Kariye is located at Edirnekapi section of Istanbul. The dictionary meaning of Kariye (Chora) is "outside of the city", or "rural" in old Greek. The existence of a chapel outside the city walls in very old is mentioned in some sources. The first Chora Church was built on the site of this chapel by Justinian. The building which managed to survive until the times of the Commenos with various additions and repairs, gained importance when the Imperial Palace Blakhernia near the city walls was expanded. At the end of 11th century Maria Dukaina, the mother-in-law of Emperor Alexi I had it rebuild. The church has a ciborium shaped space whose dome is carried by four arches. During the Latin occupation of 1204 - 1261, both the monastery and the church became extremely run down. During the reign of Andronikos (1282 - 1326), one of the prominent names of the day, the writer, poet and the minister of treasury Theodore Methocite had the monastery and the church repaired towards 1313, and had an annex to the north of the building, an outer narthex to the west and a chapel (Parekklesion) to the south. These new additions were decorated with frescoes and mosaics. Parekklesion, which is a long single naved chapel going along the southern facade, is built above a basement floor. It is partially covered with a dome and the remaining sections are covered by vaults. It has a single abscissa. The outer narthex which runs along the full western facade forms the present facade. The northern wing is only an insignificant corridor. The central dome has a high drum. It is a Turkish period restoration and is made of wood. Outer facades are given plasticity and movement with round arches, half braces, niches and rows of stone and brick. The eastern facade is finished with abscissa extending to the exterior. The middle abscissa is supported with a half arched brace.

The building was used as a church after the conquest of Istanbul but was converted into a mosque in 1511 by the Vizier Grand Hadim Ali Pasha, who later added a school and a alms kitchen next to it. After the conversion, the mosaics and frescoes were covered, sometimes by wooden blinds and sometimes by whitewashing over them. All the mosaics and frescoes were uncovered with the work carried out by the American Institute of Byzantine Research between 1948 - 1958.

Chora mosaics and frescoes are the most beautiful examples of the last period of Byzantine art (14th century). They show a striking similarity. The monotonous background of the former period cannot be seen here. The concept of depth, recognition of the plasticity and movement of the figures and the elongation in the figures are the characteristic of this style. Scenes from life of Jesus are given on the outer narthex while the inner narthex has scenes from the life of Madonna. On the portal of the door joining the outer to the inner narthex, there is Christ the "Pantocrator". On the left the scenes depict the birth of Jesus, population census being carried out under the supervision of Governor Cyrinus, the angel telling Joseph to leave taking Mary with him, the multiplication of loaves of bread, water turning to wine and on the right side scenes such as messenger kings informing about the birth of Christ, healing of the stroke victims and the massacre of children.

The most beautiful mosaic on the inside is Diesis. There is Jesus in the center with Mary on the left, below Mary, Isaac Commenus and a nun on the right of Jesus. This woman is the daughter of the Mikhael Palaiologos VIII. She was married to the Mongolian Prince Abaka Khan and following her husband's death returned to Istanbul and became a member of a religious order. In this section, under the dome there is Jesus and his ancestors are shown in the segments. On the portal of the church proper, there is Christ in the middle and on the left Theodoros Metochites who has restored the church and adorned it with the mosaics presenting a model of the church.

The life story of Mary, which is not included in the Bible is taken from subjects based on the Apostles. At the inner narthex the scenes about Mary can be followed depicting her birth, her first steps, Gabriel telling her that she shall have a child, Mary buying wool for the tabernacle and others. Mosaic above the inner portal of the entrance to the main church depicts the death of the Virgin, Madonna bearing the child Jesus and a Saint. Parekklesion is totally decorated with frescoes. The Anastasia (rebirth) scene seen on the abscissa is a masterpiece. The last judgment above it is shown here in full. It is known that the niche on the right and left sides of the Parekklesion are graves. On the dome of the Parekklesion there is Mary and the child Jesus and 12 in the segments.


ISTANBUL CONTACT (Mr. Mustafa Çiplak)
Address: Ebusuud Cad. No:4, Gülhane, Istanbul, Turkey
Tel: +902125275454

Cell Phone: +05342060581

Fax: +90 2125275450
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