Istanbul Mosaic Museum
Great Palace Mosaic Museum Entrance Fee and Opening Hours
A fascinating museum that showcases and celebrates the rich history of the Roman and Byzantine empires, the Museum of Great Palace Mosaics is one of the most popular attractions in Istanbul.
Located within the Arasta Bazaar in the compound of the Blue Mosque, this museum contains a unique mosaic pavement, which remains partially intact. Situated in a picturesque yard, the Museum of Great Palace Mosaics forms part of the famous Hagia Sophia Museum.
A brief history of the Great Palace of Roman Emperors
Also known as the Istanbul Mosaics Museum, the Museum of Great Palace Mosaics contains magnificent mosaics that date back to AD 450-550.
The Great Palace of Constantinople was built by the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great and later extended and renovated by Justinian I, an emperor during the Byzantine era who was responsible for the construction of the Hagia Sophia.
Originally, the palace was a sprawling complex, which boasted churches, a stadium and libraries, but its function changed during the roles of different leaders. Having been restored following the conquest of the city, the palace was briefly used a prison.
The museum shines a spotlight on a mosaic pavement, which was commissioned by Justinian I, that forms part of an original tile tapestry that was believed to have spanned over 3,500 metres. Around 250 square metres of the spectacular structure has been preserved.
The Great Palace Mosaic Museum was incorporated into the Archaeology Museums of Istanbul in 1953, while it has been is an organizational unit of the administration of Hagia Sophia Museum.
Constantinople in 6th Century
You may see the Hippodrome of Constantinople in the center of the picture. The Great Palace is the complex of buildings on the right side of the Hippodrome. The Palace of Roman (and Byzantine) emperors was connected to the Hippodrome so that emperors could watch the chariot races from their special lodge (kathisma) Hagia Sophia can be also seen on the back side of the Hippodrome.
Visiting the Mosaic Museum: What to expect
This museum contains some of the most impressive mosaics on display in Istanbul. The mosaics, which were recovered from the palace during excavations, form a beautiful, coloured blanket of tiles, which depicts scenes from nature and mythological tales.
The mosaics do not have any religious connotations or influences, and they celebrate landscapes, folklore, animals, hunting scenes and pictures of daily life. Examples include: a child feeding a donkey, bears eating apples, a hunter fighting a tiger.
Visitors to the Museum of Great Palace Mosaics can expect to be greeted with a dazzling display of vivid tiles that resemble a giant jigsaw puzzle.
Although the tiles date back centuries, they have been lovingly restored and preserved, so the colours and the intricate details are still hugely impressive.
Palace Mosaics from Byzantine Era
Great Palace Mosaic Museum Entrance Fee 2020
The entrance fee to the Great Palace Mosaics Museum is 24 Turkish Liras as of 2020. Admission is free for children under 8 years. Museum Pass Istanbul is valid at the entrance to the Istanbul Mosaic Museum.
Istanbul Mosaic Museum Opening Hours 2020
The Istanbul Mosaic Museum is open to visitors between 09:00 in the morning and 19:00 in the summer season from 1 April to 31 October. It closes at 17:00 in the evening between November 1 and April 1, which is considered the winter season. The museum is open to visitors every day of the week.
Visiting times of museums in Istanbul may change due to events and renovations. Before going to the museum, I recommend you to visit the official website of the Great Palace Mosaics Museum and review the latest situation.
Where is Istanbul Mosaic Museum and How to Get There?
The Museum of Great Palace Mosaics is located in the Blue Mosque (locally known as Sultanahmet Camii) compound. To reach the museum, you can take the Tram T1 Line to Sultanahmet Tram Station. You’ll find the museum behind the Blue Mosque within the Arasta Bazaar.
Other Istanbul Museums on Istanbul Clues Blog
- Topkapi Palace
- Hagia Sophia
- Basilica Cistern
- Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum
- Istanbul Archaeology Museums