Istanbul Military Museum
Istanbul Military Museum Entrance Fee and Opening Hours
Weapons have been one of the most important elements in determining powers of countries throughout history. Changes in weapon technology explains many of the radical changes in history, as well.
For instance, it is argued that, with the advancement of cannonballs that can demolish huge walls, Ottomans was able to capture Constantinople and played a big role in entering a different period in history. Consequently, one must know military history to be able to understand world history.
Located in Harbiye in Sisli district, Istanbul Military Museum hosts a substantial collection consisting of weapons manufactured from 15th century to recent history. If you are interested in military history, you should definitely visit this museum.
About Istanbul Military Museum
Istanbul Military Museum serves under Military Museum and Cultural Center Command. Hosting a collection of weapons that have been used since Ottoman Empire, Military Museum appears as one of the most prominent military museums of world in terms of substantiality of its collection.
The Museum includes 5000 pieces that was manufactured in different timelines ranging from 1400s onwards to recent history. Although weapons are the essential pieces of the museum, the museum also exhibits holsters, armors, shields, helmets, tents, banners and different objects about military history.
History of The Military Museum
Istanbul Military Museum is situated in the building of Mekteb-i Harbiye (Military Academy) which constructed by Sultan Abdulhamid II in 1862. However, the history of the museum dates back a long time ago.
After Turks captured Constantinople, Hagia Irene Church was turned into an armory called “Cebehane”. Valuable weapons and warfare equipment were stocked in this place. Cebehane was regulated as Dâr-ul-Esliha (House of Weapons) in accordance with military reforms under Sultan Ahmed III period. Dâr-ul-Esliha was not just an armory, weapons were also exhibited. The inscription made by Ahmed III can still be seen in Hagia Irene Museum.
It was 1846 when Dâr-ul-Esliha became a proper museum. Ahmet Fethi Pasha, field Marshall of Artillery, transformed Hagia Irene into an exhibition center and the collection stationed there was called as Muze-i Humayun (Imperial Museum).
Military Museum continued its operation from 1846 to 1940 in Hagia Irene but the collection was moved to Anatolia in World War II so as not to get damaged. After the war, the collection was moved back to Istanbul from Macka Armory in 1949.
However, Gymnasium of Military Academy, used as an exhibition center until 1959, was insufficient for the collection. Therefore, it was decided that the building of Mekteb-i Harbiye (Military Academy) to serve only as a museum.
The building was restored by Prof. Dr. Nezih Eldem, one of the most important architects of Turkey. The museum opened on February 10th, 1993 after its restoration.
Harbiye Askeri Muzesi in Istanbul
Sections of The Museum
There are 27 showrooms in Istanbul Military Museum (Locally known as Harbiye Askeri Muzesi). While many of showrooms includes historical collections, there are specific showrooms that were designed for important historical events such as World War I, Battle of Gallipoli and Turkish War of Independence.
On the other hand, there is a showroom that exhibits works used in military correspondence such as edicts, warrants and enrollments. Yet, in accordance with the concept of the museum, it is good to mention the sections about “military history”.
Before taking a look at other showrooms, it would be better to spend some time in Entrance and Introduction rooms. In Entrance Room, you can see a model of the museum building and sample objects picked from the collection. Visuals about the history of the museum and informative articles are situated in Introduction Room.
In Shooting Weapons Room, you can see works about arrows and archery. In this section, there are generally arrows, bows, targets, equipment of bow-drawing manufactured between 17th – 19th centuries.
Works of horse-breeding and horse-riding are exhibited in Riding Room. You can see explore cavalry equipment manufactured in 19th and 20th centuries. German and British saddles – in a great demand at those times- have a place in this section.
You can take a look Fatih and Yavuz (the Conqueror and the Stern) Corner to see the Capture of the Constantinople in a realistic illustration. There are equestrians of Mehmed II and Sultan Selim I the Stern in this section. Also, there is a picture window model showing ships moving to the Golden Horn by land, an important event of the Capture of the Constantinople.
Weapons from Middle Age and New Age are exhibited in Edged Weapons and Defense Room. You can see weapons such as swords and spears, manufactured in Europe, in this section. In Defense Room, there are different equipment such as helmets, shelters and shields which were manufactured mostly in Middle-Age Europe. These weapons are mostly coming from between 14th– 16th centuries.
Firearms and Cannon Models Rooms host rifles and cannonballs manufactured between 15th– 20th centuries. Rifles, pistols, detonators and rifle equipment, manufactured in Ottoman Empire and Europe, are exhibited in Firearms Room. Wood and metal cannon models of Ottoman Empire are displayed in Cannon Models Room.
Equipment such as banners, uniforms, decorations that Turkish soldiers used in places like Kosovo, Bosnia and Somali to establish peace are shown in Somali-Bosnia-Kosovo Room.
If you are interested in Ottoman history, you should take a close look at Military Uniforms Room. As a matter of fact, changes of military uniforms take an important place in modernization process of Ottoman Empire. You can see the clothes of Ottoman soldiers from the foundation of Guild of Janisseries to 20th century and helmets that they used to distinguish themselves from public in peacetime, and from enemy in wartime.
You can see military tents, tent equipment and pieces that have been used since 17th century in Tents Room. Military banners of Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic are situated in Flags and Banners Room.
Flags of Seljuk Turks
Istanbul Military Museum Janissary Band
Mehter music concerts are held in Ataturk Hall, in the museum, from 15:00 to 16:00 for 1 hour. You can listen Janissary army band and watch 20-minutes-long cinevision about the history of Mehter every day.
Istanbul Military Museum Entrance Fee 2020
Istanbul Military Museum entrance fee is 6 Turkish Lira as of 2020. If you have a student ID, you can visit the museum for free. Istanbul Museum Pass is not valid for this museum.
Istanbul Military Museum Opening Hours
Istanbul Military Museum is open from 09:00 O’clock in the morning to 17:00 in the evening. The museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday. Also, it is closed on the first days of religious holidays and the first day of the new year.
Where is The Museum and How to go there?
You can visit the museum with a short walk after you get off on Findikli Tram Station in Bagcilar-Kabatas Tram T1 Line. Similarly, after you get off on Taksim station in funicular railway or metro, you need to walk towards Sisli in the way next to Gezi Parki and you can find Harbiye Askeri Muzesi (The name of the museum in Turkish).
Istanbul Military Museum Entrance Fee/Hours by Serhat Engül