10 Must-See Museums in Turkey

Our country hosted many capitals of various cultures throughout the history, and there are tens of museums in our country that reflect this in the best way. In this article we present ten museums which we absolutely recommend for visiting. These museums are visited by countless tourists from every point of the world, and they present the important pieces from the civilizations that existed in our country’s geography for centuries. Here are the museums, the cultural mirrors of our country!

Hagia Sophia Museum

Hagia Sophia was built on the order of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in Istanbul in 532 AD as a cathedral and was started to be used as a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul in 1453 by Mehmet the Conqueror. It began to serve as a museum instead of being as a mosque in 1935 and today it receives thousands of domestic and foreign tourists each year. Tons of gold was used to create the mosaics, one of the most significant visual aspects of Hagia Sophia that deeply influences everyone. Hagia Sophia Museum has great importance both for the Christian and Muslim worlds and it is a must-see museum which has an architecture that reflects the history it witnessed in the best way.

Topkapı Palace

Topkapi Palace

Topkapı Palace was the home of the Ottoman Sultans and it is one of the buildings that reflect the long years it witnessed in the best way, with its tired appearance. Topkapı Palace had been the home of the Ottoman Emperors for 400 years at Sarayburnu, and was built on the order of Mehmet the Conqueror in 1478. The palace has been put into service as of 1924 as a museum and the area it covers today is approximately eighty thousand sqm. The palace has three different sections opened for the visitors and contains the items of Ottoman Sultans who were the rulers of the world once, in addition to many items with high historical value. Topkapı Palace is a place that must be visited to understand the deep Ottoman history.

Anatolian Civilizations Museum

The Anatolian Civilizations Museum is located within the Ankara Castle walls in Ankara’s Altındağ district. It contains many archeological artifacts found in Anatolia and is one of the recognized museums of the world. It is visited by thousands of domestic and foreign tourists each year. It presents the artifacts of Hittite period and many civilizations that existed afterwards, to the visitors.  The Anatolian Civilizations Museum contains many artifacts since Paleolithic Age and is a museum which must absolutely be seen especially to breathe its historical atmosphere.

Istanbul Museum of Archeology

Istanbul Museum of Archeology contains more than a million of artifacts from the history, and is the oldest building constructed as a museum in Turkey. It was opened for visitors in 1891 and it presents countless archeological artifacts from many geographies of the world including our own geography, to the visitors. Great interest is shown to Istanbul Museum of Archeology throughout the world thanks to the thousands of artifacts related to Greek mythology and it is one of the museums of our country that must absolutely be visited.

Hatay Museum of Archeology

Hatay Museum of Archeology (previous name: Antakya Museum of Archeology) contains thousands of artifacts from the Hittite period, Hellenistic period, Roman and Byzantine periods and as the world’s third biggest mosaic museum it presents its great splendor to the visitors. Its construction with such a capacity to deserve the title of being the world’s biggest mosaic museum as the result of the works on it that was started in 2011, was ended in 2014. The museum contains the artifacts discovered as the result of the excavations carried out between 1932 and 1939 years and has an atmosphere that must absolutely be seen.

Ankara Ethnography Museum

The museum is located at Ankara’s Altındağ district and it was built at the place called Namazgah Hill, which was the place where people performed Friday salaats during the War of Independence. It is a museum that contains many artifacts such as metal works, weaving works and Turkish art examples since Seljuq Empire. You must absolutely see Ankara Ethnography Museum if you want to travel in the history of Anatolian handicrafts.

Mevlana Museum

The museum is located in Konya and has been opened to the visitors as the dervish lodge of Rumi, who is world-famous in terms of sufism. It has survived until today without any damage as some of the Ottoman Sultans were part of the Mevlevi Order. The museum, which includes the tombs of Rumi and his followers, present the opportunity to see his items and life style. Rumi opened our country to the world in sufism and an atmosphere is created which must absolutely be experienced, which embraces domestic and foreign people at the museum.

Hagia Irene Museum

Hagia Irene is the biggest Byzantine Church which was not converted into a mosque in Istanbul, and it was made on the order of Constantine I at the beginning of 4. century according to some of the findings. It did not experience any important architectural modification as it was not transformed into a mosque. Hagia Irene is a church that is within the Sur-ı Sultani that surrounds the Topkapı Palace. It creates a different atmosphere for the visitors thanks to the old weapons and collections it contains. Having been one of the first places where museum works started in Turkey, Hagia Irene will make you have a different historical experience thanks to its architecture and the artifacts it presents.

Ataturk and War of Independence Museum

The museum consists of 4 sections and contains many belongings of Atatürk, the founder of our country and his fellow fighters. The first section contains the items used by Atatürk and the gifts given by the foreign states’ governments. The second section contains the panorama and the oil paintings that depict the Battle of Gallipoli, The Great Offensive and Sakarya Battle. In the third section an atmosphere was created where the war of independence and the revolutions were tried to be explained. The fourth section has the library of Atatürk, which contains 3123 books.

The Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum

The Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, of which construction was completed in 1913, was located at the Süleymaniye Mosque complex that is one of the important creations of Sinan the architect, and was moved to Ibrahim Pasha Palace in 1983. Ibrahim Pasha Palace is the only private palace other than the sultans’ palaces that survived until this day, and it presents many rare art works from various countries and the Islamic world, in its rooms and halls.

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