Archaeological Museum

Istanbul Archaeological Museums

The Archaeological Museum is a set of 3 museums, located in the Eminönü district of Istanbul, near the Topkapi Palace. It is formed by :

  • Archaeological Museum (in the main building)
  • Museum of the Ancient East
  • Museum of Islamic Art (in the tile kiosk).

The whole complex contains more than one million objects that represent almost all eras and civilizations of history.

Archaeological Museum This magnificent complex was formed as a result of the modernization efforts of the Ottoman Empire, as the people ruling the Empire were exposed to a new form of education. It was then that the idea of creating a museum came up, mainly due to the influences of the Louvre in Paris on the government. The first effort failed but the second one was a success and was carried out by the Minister of Education Ahmet Vefik Pasa, Dr. Phillip Anton Dethier and the archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey.

The construction of these magnificent buildings started at different times and years, but they are now one. The place where the museums are built is in accordance with the former outer garden of the Topkapi Palace. The museum was founded by decree as an imperial museum in 1891, it was built to contain and protect the country’s cultural assets, the government of the time also asked the regional governments to send the best of the local collections.

The construction of the main building began in 1881 and the facade was designed based on the Sarcophagus of Alexander and the Sarcophagus of Mourning Women.

The Museum of the Ancient East was established in 1883 as a school of fine arts. 50 years later, it was reorganized and opened as a museum.

The earthenware kiosk was built in 1472 as part of the outdoor gardens of the Topkapi Palace. Later, in 1875, the building was incorporated into the archaeological museum complex.


Here are some of the most famous artifacts contained in this amazing complex.

  • Sarcophagus of Alexander, found in the necropolis of Sidon.
  • Sarcophagus of the Weeping Women, also found in Sidon.
  • Sarcophagus of Tabnit and of the Satrape.
  • The Lycian tomb, a monumental tomb.
  • Glazed tile images of the Gate of Ishtar in Babylon.
  • Statues from ancient times to the end of the Roman era, from Aphrodisias, Ephesus and Miletus. Statue of an ephebos.
  • Parts of statues from the temple of Zeus found in Bergama.
  • Statue of a lion, the only piece saved from the hands of British archaeologists in the Mausoleum of Maussollos.
  • Snake head of the serpentine column erected in the Hippodrome of Constantinople.
  • Mother goddess Cybele and votive steles.
  • Bust of Alexander the Great and Zeus.

How to get to the museum

Open every day from 9 am to 8 pm.

Ticket price: 100 TL (5.4 €)

Alemdar Caddesi,Osman Hamdi Bey Yokuşu,Gülhane Turkey

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