Museum of The History of Science and Technology in Islam is located in Sultanahmet, one of the most touristic districts of Istanbul. The museum is located within walking distance from Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia.
Those who visit Topkapi Palace usually visit the palace courtyards, harem and archeology museum. However, the Science and Technology Museum in Islam is often overlooked. However, you can visit this museum while taking a pleasant walk in Gulhane Park inside the palace walls.
In this article, you can find information about the entrance fee and visiting hours of the Museum of Science and Technology in Islam. However, in order to better understand the artifacts you will see inside the museum, it would be useful to talk a little bit about the history of Islam.
Development of Science in the World
Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and China were the most productive civilizations in Ancient times. The old world fell under the hegemony of Roman Empire towards the end of Ancient times. The rise of the Rome started with Julius Caesar and continued in Emperor Augustus reign. It reached the climax during the reign of the leaders such as Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius (aka Five Good Emperors). Roman legions got the control of all ancient centers other than the Far East.
Inheriting knowledge in philosophy, medicine and astronomy from Ancient Greece and other civilizations, Romans added significant achievements in the fields of administration, law and architecture. The development of science in the world was quite rapid in ancient times. However, European Civilization, which was the locomotive of late ancient era, was plunged into deep darkness after the collapse of Western Roman Empire in 476.
The year 395, in which Roman Empire was divided into as West and East, was the beginning of the Middle Age according to many historians. While Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476 because of endless barbaric raids, Eastern Roman Empire, also called as Byzantine Empire, survived until 1453.
Experiencing a social disorder after the collapse of Western Roman Empire, Europe went into Scholastic Period and found the salvation in Pope, bishop of Rome, who was seen as a fatherly figure. This period lasted nearly one thousand years in which the Pope and the clergymen had the impact whereas science was disregarded. Scientists like Galileo Galilei, Nicolaus Copernicus and Isaac Newton started the Renaissance period, putting an end to the period of stagnation of Western civilization.
The Rise of Islam in the History
While Western Roman Empire already collapsed and East Roman Empire was struggling with the problem of theological dissidences such as Arianism and Monophysitism, Prophet Muhammad came into the play in Mecca. The Islamic doctrine he preached was so influential that it evoked the Arabic tribes that had been living unobtrusively for centuries.
United under a single flag thanks to Prophet Muhammad, Arabs conquered lands like Egypt and Mesopotamia, which held the legacy of Ancient times. Furthermore, they marched to inlands of Asia and founded a sphere of influence that reached to India. They captured the northern part of African continent and South of Spain (called as Andalucia) during Umayyad Caliphate. Thus, an Islamic zone incorporating Iberian Peninsula to Indonesia was formed.
Islamic scholars took over the wisdom of Ancient times as Europe entered this dark period. They realized the works of Ancient Greek philosophers and advanced technology of Ancient Egypt in astronomy which led to foundations of universities and advancement in science.
During the rise of Islam in history, modern university terms such as rector and dean were used for the first time in Islamic universities. (Source: A History of Christianity by Diarmaid MacCulloch). Baghdad was one of the most civilized and developed cities of the world under the rule of Abbasid Caliphate.
Byzantine Emperors were worried about continuous defeats of their armies against the armies of Islam at southern front. They thought God had left them and they tried to figure out what their mistake was. Church was the scapegoat that they were looking for.
In the 8th century, icons that worshipped in churches meant heathenism for Byzantine Emperors. Leo III the Isaurian who linked defeats and disasters with idol-worshipping ordered all icons, mosaics and frescos in churches be torn down. Geometrical figures were drawn instead, as in mosques. These events during the Iconoclasm led already-divided-Christian-world to a civil war.
Philosophers such as Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Al-Ghazali, Ibn Khaldun and Rumi came in sight in the rising years of Islam, leading huge progress in the fields of physics, chemistry, astronomy, navigation and architecture. Museum of The History of Science and Technology in Islam is a display of works that Islam brought to humanity.
Museum of The History of Science in Islam Price
The ticket price of the Museum of The History of Science in Islam is 18 Turkish Liras as of 2021. Admission is free for children under 8 years. Museum Pass Istanbul is valid at the entrance to the museum.
Museum of The History of Science in Islam Hours
The opening hours of the Museum of The History of Science in Islam are between 09:00 in the morning and 17:30 in the evening. 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 Museum and review the latest situation.
How to Get to The Museum?
In order to go to Museum of The History of Science in Islam, you first need to come to Sultanahmet district. If you walk downhill from Sultanahmet Tram Station, you can see the monumental entrance door of Topkapi Palace that opens to Gulhane Park after you turn the corner.
In order to reach the museum in this way, you need to walk towards Gulhane Tram Stop, which is the previous tram stop from Sultanahmet Tram Station. Thus, the monumental door will remain on your right.
After passing the gate, turn left and walk through the park, and you’ll see the Museum of The History of Science and Technology in Islam. If you own an Istanbul Museum Pass and would like to visit other museums around, you can reach to Istanbul Archaeological Museum and Topkapi Palace by passing through the Park.
Written by Serhat Engul