Istanbul Museums You Must Visit
  • 02.07.2020
  • İstanbul

Istanbul Museums You Must Visit

Istanbul, Nova Roma, Constantinople… Istanbul is one of theoldest cities in the world and the capital of many important empires throughouthistory, hosts a wide variety of cultural structures and historical textures.  It is still possible to see the traces ofpast Empires and people in the city, which has a history of three hundredthousand years. Witnessing the past in museums of the city, you can feel thespirit of Istanbul and see unique examples of culture and art. Today we willtalk about Istanbul museums to witness the cultural and artistic traces leftbehind by thousands years of history.

Istanbul ArcheologyMuseums

Istanbul Archeology Museums are one of the most importantmuseums in the world, as they include nearly a million works. They are calledIstanbul Archeology Museums because they consist three main units such as ArchaeologicalMuseum, Museum of the Ancient Orient and Museum of Islamic Art. The person whobrought the Istanbul Archeology Museum back to its original importance wasOsman Hamdi Bey. He brought the world-famous sarcophagi back to Istanbul withthe excavations he organized in various places between 1887-88 and made animportant contribution to the historical texture of the city.

Archaeological Museum, which is a magnificent example ofNeo-Classical architecture in Istanbul, has artifacts from various cultures. Inaddition to the world famous İskender Tomb works such as Crying Women Tomb, youcan also see the statues of the goddesses such as Kibele and Aphrodite. You canalso browse examples of Turkish tiles and ceramics by visiting the Tiled Kiosk,the oldest building in the Istanbul Archaeological Museums complex.

IstanbulArchaeological Museums Visiting Hours:

Summer Period (April 1 - October 31): Opening Time: 09:00 -Closing Time: 19:00

Winter Period (October 31 - April 1): Opening Time: 09:00 -Closing Time: 18:00

The museum is closed to visitors on Mondays.

Hagia Sophia Museum

Church, mosque and museum… Hagia Sophia, which contains allthree in its soul, is the oldest cathedral in the world. It was built byEmperor Justinianus in 532 as a church was the fastest completed cathedral asits construction wasfinished approximately in 5 years. After the Ottoman conquered Istanbul, itcontinued its existence as a mosque and supportive minarets were added by MimarSinan. In 1935, it was converted into a museum by the decision of the Councilof Ministers. Hagia Sophia, which has both mosque and church features in itsarchitecture, it is really a unique structure.Itis definitely worth seeingwith its fascinating beauty of ceiling mosaics of the 6th century and the 8thcentury Hz. Mary, the Prophet. Gabriel and Hz. Michael mosaics.

Hagia Sophia Museum Visiting Hours:

SummerPeriod (April 1 - October 31): Opening Time: 09:00 - Closing Time: 19:00

WinterPeriod (October 31 - April 1): Opening Time: 09:00 - Closing Time: 18:00

The museumis closed to visitors on Mondays.

Topkapi Palace Museum

TopkapıPalace, the construction of which started in 1465 and ended in 1478 after FatihSultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul, has been the heart of the Ottoman Empire forapproximately 380 years. Nowadays, Topkapı Palace, one of the most popularmuseums in Istanbul, hosts many rare works such as the Spoonmaker's Diamond. Theparts of the palace, such as the Harem and Divan Room, are opened to visitorsand attract a lot of attention. We also recommend that you see the Hagia Irenechurch located inside of the palace. It is one of the oldest Byzantine churchesin Istanbul and for a period it was used as a weapons store for janissaries. TopkapıPalace, which is the first museum of the Republic, is one of the world'sleading palace-museums. Anyone who comes to Istanbul at least once should seethis museum, which is an important part of Istanbul's history.

Topkapi Palace Visiting Hours:

Opening Time:09:00 - Closing Time: 16.30

The museumis closed to visitors on Tuesdays.

Basilica Cistern

One of theplaces that should definitely be seen in the Historic Peninsula is the BasilicaCistern. The Basilica Cistern located in the southwest of Hagia Sophia wasbuilt by the Byzantine Emperor Justinianus. The building, which has 336 columnsof 9 meters in height, was built in order to meet the water needs of theemperor and the inhabitants of the region. The cistern was discovered only by aDutch traveler in the 16th century, because the Ottomans did not prefer stagnantwater due to cleaning. The most striking parts of the cistern are the Medusaheads, which are located under the two columns as a base. According to thelegend, Medusa, the head of a snake, has the ability to turn anyone who looks ather into a stone. For this reason, the head of Medusa in Byzantium was placedopposite to the bases. We definitely recommend you to see the Basilica Cistern,one of the most diverse and magnificent structures of Istanbul, with its dimlights, mystical atmosphere and stories based on mythology.

Basilica Cistern Visiting Hours:

OpeningTime: 09:00 - Closing Time: 17:30

The museumis opened to visitors every day.


Turkey'sshowcase Miniaturk is a perfect place for those who want to tour Turkey in ashort time. There is rich architecture of hundreds of historical monuments inour country, which has hosted many civilizations from Antiquity to Rome, fromSeljuk to Ottoman times. Miniaturk hosts miniature models of 135 of theseworks. In the construction of the museum 62 works from Istanbul, 60 works fromAnatolia and the remaining 13 works from abroad were selected from the Ottomangeography. İf you also want to walk around Turkey for a couple of hours, youshould visit Miniaturk.

Miniaturk Museum Visiting Hours:

OpeningTime: 09:00 - Closing Time: 18:00

The museumis opened to visitors every day.

Istanbul Toy Museum

The onlyAnatolian Side museum from the list is Istanbul Toy Museum. The museum, whichwas established in 2005 by Sunay Akın, became the first toy museum in Turkey. IstanbulToy Museum, which tells the history of the world in a fun way, appeals toeveryone from 7 to 70. Perhaps this is what makes the museum special: the wholefamily can visit it without getting bored. The toys in a 5-storey historicalmansion are separated by themes. In the collection there are such toy sectionsas space toys and toys describing the Second World War. If you want to have afun and instructive day, you should definitely see Istanbul Toy Museum. Youwill both take a journey towards your childhood and see the history through theeyes of the toys.

Istanbul Toy Museum Visiting Hours:

OpeningTime: 09:30 - Closing Time: 18:00

The museumis closed to visitors on Mondays.

Rahmi M. Koc Museum

Rahmi M.Koc Museum, which is very impressive for those people who are interested in suchsubjects as industry and engineering, aims to inform people about the historyof industry. Founded in 1994, the museum consists of 3 main sections:Historical Lengerhane Building, Historical Haskoy Shipyard and OutdoorExhibition Area. You can see examples of a wide range of communication andtransportation spheres in the museum collection. Everything is available inthis museum: from the Wright brothers' glider model to SultanAbdulhamit's Sultanate Wagon, from Kadıkoy Moda Tram to classic cars. Samplesspecific to various spheres such as maritime, aviation and rail transportationawait both children and adults at the Rahmi Koc Museum.

Rahmi M. Koc MuseumVisiting Hours:

Summer Period (April 1 - September 30): Opening Time: 09:30- Closing Time: 19:00

Winter Period (October 1 - March 31): Opening Time: 09:30 -Closing Time: 17:00

The museum is closed to visitors on Mondays.

Istanbul Modern ArtMuseum

Turkey's first museum of modern and contemporary artIstanbul Modern, located on the edge of Bosphorus in Karaköy, was establishedin 2004. With its permanent and constant exhibition halls, Istanbul Modern isone of the most visited museums in Istanbul. The museum also offers itsvisitors such options as library, cinema, restaurant and store. In the terms ofmodern art Turkey's most important museum, Istanbul Modern,  manages to further color and develop theculture with contemporary art. 

Istanbul Modern ArtMuseum Visiting Hours:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: Opening Time: 10.00 -Closing Time: 18.00

Thursday: Opening Time: 10.00 - Closing Time: 20.00

Sunday: Opening Time: 11.00 - Closing Time: 18.00

The museum is closed to visitors on Mondays.

Pera Museum

This museum, which was launched in 2005 by Suna and İnanKıraç Foundation, is one of the most important culture and art centers inIstanbul. Among the ongoing exhibitions at the Pera Museum there are OrientalistPainting Collection, Kutahya Tile and Ceramics Collection, and the AnatolianWeights and Measures Collection. There are more than 300 works in theOrientalist Painting Collection and there are special works such as the TurtleTrainer, the important work of Osman Hamdi Bey. In addition, the museum hasbrought the works of world famous artists such as Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picassoand Akira Kurosawa to its visitors. In terms of culture and arts as one ofTurkey's leading museums Pera Museum, located in Beyoğlu, the most vibrantpoint of the city, awaits new visitors.

Pera Museum VisitingHours

Tuesday-Saturday: Opening Time: 11:00 - Closing Time: 18:00

Sunday: Opening Time: 12:00 - Closing Time: 18:00

The museum is closed to visitors on Mondays.

The Madame Tussaudswax museum

The world-famous museum which exists in countless cities ofthe world was opened in London 250 years ago by Marie Tussaud, trained byPhilippe Curtius, one of the most important wax artists. The museum becamefamous over time; scientists, musicians, actors began to display waxsculptures, so the name Madame Tussauds spread all over the world. The museum openedin Istanbul in 2016, is known as its 21st branch. There are 5 categories suchas music, sports, science and culture, VIP party, history and leaders in themuseum. Here you can see important names of our history such as Atatürk,Mevlâna and Yaşar Kemal, as well as the sculptures of world-famous stars suchas Rihanna, Madonna and Beyonce. The reason Madame Tussauds sculptures draw somuch attention is that the sculptures are very similar to the reality. For thisreason, you can see many stars by visiting the museum, which is flooded byvisitors.

Madame Tussauds MuseumVisiting Hours

Opening Time: 10:00 - Closing Time: 20:00

The museum is opened to visitors every day.