(Istanbul, Marmara, Turkey)
Istanbul has a rich and diverse cultural heritage, and comes with a number of quality museums. As it stands at the confluence between Asian and European cultures, you will find architecture, sculptures and various aspects of history that draw simultaneously on both hemispheres.
First among the city's museums is the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, where patrons can view the Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great alongside Hellenistic works of art and ancient artefacts from long-lost empires. Meanwhile, the City Museum narrows its scope to tell the specific story of Istanbul's interesting journey into the present.
Arkeoloji Muzesi (Archaeology Museum)
Address: Osman Hamdi Bey Yokusu, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey, TR
Tel: +90 212 520 7740
The city's proud Archaeology Museum is perhaps better known locally in Istanbul as the city's Arkeoloji Muzesi and certainly comes very highly recommended. Home to no less than 20 individual gallery spaces and a huge wealth of artefacts and treasure collected throughout Turkey and beyond, the Archaeology Museum boasts some gems dating back more than 5,000 years. This enormous complex is actually a collection of three museums, housed in what was once part of the Topkapi Palace. The complex is divided into the Archaeological Museum along with the Tiled Pavilion and the Museum of Oriental Antiquities. An absolute treasure trove of ancient relics, the Istanbul Archaeological Museum boasts ancient Greek sculptures, Mesopotamian artefacts and the highly prized sarcophagus of Alexander the Great. Also of interest are the displays relating to the Ottoman Empire, Egypt and Lebanon's famed Sidon Necropolis.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 09:30 to 17:00
Address: Barbaros Bulvari, Yildiz, Istanbul, Turkey, TR
Tel: +90 212 258 5344
The City Museum, found in the gardens of the Yildiz Palace, is a top priority for visitors eager to learn more about the city's culture and history. Exhibits chronicle the city's Ottoman takeover (and the subsequent renaming from Constantinople to Istanbul) and cover several centuries of development. On display are paintings, textiles, porcelain, calligraphy and a host of everyday implements from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 09:00 to 16:30
Address: Halaskargazi Caddesi No. 250, Sisli, Istanbul, Turkey, TR
Tel: +90 212 240 6319
This is the house where Ataturk, the founder of modern day Turkey, resided and worked in the early 20th century leading up to the Turkish War of Independence. His guards and officers lived on the bottom floor while he on the floor above and his sister and mother on the uppermost level. Photographs of the revolutionary, his paintings and personal effects are on display.
Open hours: Monday to Wednesday and Friday and Saturday - 09:30 to 16:00
Museum of Turkish Carpets
Address: Hippodrome Square, Istanbul, Turkey, TR
Tel: +90 212 245 6876
Situated close to the Ibrahim Pasha Palace and within the city's Sultanahmet district, the Museum of Turkish Carpets is perfect for tourists, who widely associate the country of Turkey with its beautifully crafted, hand-made rugs and carpets. This attraction provides a real insight into how this craft has been passed through the generations and an exhibition of antique carpets is on hand to show some of the very earliest designs. A shop is on hand should you wish to purchase an authentic rug to take back home with you.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 17:00
Address: 141 Mesrutiyet Caddesi, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey, TR
Tel: +90 212 334 9900
Located within Istanbul's European-style Beyoglu district, the five-storey Pera Museum contains a vast private collection, donated by the wealthy local entrepreneur Rahmi Koc. Highlights include many valuable handwritten books from the Ottoman Empire, along with a priceless painting by acclaimed Turkish artist Osman Hamdi Bey (1842 to 1910), who lived in the city for much of his life and founded the present day Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts. The building itself is extremely beautiful and dates from 1893, serving as a hotel for many years.
Open hours: Tuesday to Saturday - 10:00 to 19:00, Sunday - 12:00 to 18:00