Naval sector has always been an important endeavor for Turks since the early stages of Ottoman Empire. Istanbul Naval Museum, located in Besiktas district, is worth to see because it gives you a chance to witness all the changes and improvements throughout history by examining military and civil marine equipments. As hosting more than 20.000 pieces about military and civil marine, it is a unique place that sheds light on Turkish naval history.
The Naval Museum serves under Istanbul Naval Forces Command. The exhibition building of the museum has three floors and located in an area of 1500m2. Saloons in exhibition area are named after wind directions. More than 20.000 pieces of imperial caiques, ship models, paintings, riggings and triremes are exhibited in exhibition building and yard.
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History of Istanbul Naval Museum
The history of the Istanbul Naval Museum goes back to the 19th century. At first, the museum was opened in 1897 by order of Hasan Husnu Pasha, first lord of the admiralty. One of the buildings located in Shipyard of Ottoman State was turned into a museum as a result of the efforts made by Lieutenant Suleyman Nutku and Colonel Hikmet Bey.
The museum was redesigned in 1914 by order of Cemal Pasha. Ali Sami Boyar, a lieutenant and a painter, became the head of restoration group and the museum was designed as a modern building.
At the beginning of the World War II, pieces of the museum were transferred to Anatolia for protection and they were moved to their original places one year later after the war ended. In 1961, the museum was moved from Kasimpasa to Besiktas Square where it serves today.
The Effect of the Navy in Modernization
The classical period of the Ottoman Empire lasted between the 15th and 18th centuries. However, after the 1700s, the empire experienced a rapid westernization process with the influence of reformist sultans such as Mahmud II.
The Janissaries (elite infantry unit), who were very successful during the rise of the Ottoman Empire, were now outdated and reorganized. During this period, the navy also underwent a great change.
The navy had a great influence in the modernization process of the Ottoman Empire. Because the navy played a key role in Ottoman relations with the Europe. Navy officers were the Ottoman soldiers who interacted most with the outside world.
Istanbul Naval Museum Collection
Istanbul Naval Museum collection promises a fascinating experience to history lovers. Although the museum is about maritime in general, it also has pieces that illuminate many other historical processes. If you want to get general information about Ottoman and Turkish history, you should definitely visit this museum.
1. Belongings of Ataturk
In the section of Belongings of Ataturk, there are some belongings that he used in yachts called Ertugrul and Savarona. In addition to this, you can see correspondences and objects about the studies in the field of maritime by the order of Ataturk.
Mustafa Kemal was a lieutenant colonel in the Ottoman army during WWI. The young officer, who attracted attention with his successes especially on the Gallipoli campaign, became a general towards the end of the war.
Mustafa Kemal started and led the Turkish war of independence after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Mustafa Kemal, who founded Modern Turkey, was honored by the parliament with the surname Ataturk, which means “father of the Turks”.
2. Historical Caiques
In the section of Historical Caiques, you can see caiques that once upon a time was used as a transportation vehicles between two sides of Bosphorus. Especially, imperial caiques of sultans and notable people of the palace stand out. Different caique models such as triremes, lifeboats and pinnacles are exhibited in this collection.
3. Textile and Weaving Works
In the section of Textile and Weaving Works, uniforms that mariners used are exhibited. In the same section, you can see banners, flags and rugs used in ships. If you are interested in military history, you should definitely take a look at this section.
4. Metal Works
In the section of Metal Works, there are guns, navigation instruments, lights, watches and thermometers. You can see original coins and banknotes in this section, as well.
5. Paper Works
In the section of Paper Works, there are warrants, imperial orders and handwritten papers about maritime. In addition to these archival documents, you can see photographs and certificates.
Istanbul Naval Museum Entrance Fee 2024
Istanbul Naval Museum entrance fee is 200 Turkish Liras for adults as of 2024. This museum has a special status as it is affiliated with the Turkish Navy and Istanbul Museum Pass is not valid here. The information on the ticket price was last updated on December 2, 2023.
Istanbul Naval Museum Opening Hours 2024
Istanbul Maritime Museum opening hours are between 09:00 in the morning and 17:00 in the evening on weekdays. The museum can be visited from 10:00 to 18:00 on weekends. Please also note that the museum is closed on Mondays. Information on visiting hours was last updated on December 2, 2023.
Vitising 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 Istanbul Naval Museum?
In order to get to Istanbul Naval Museum, you have to go to Besiktas. Since Besiktas is one of the transportation hubs of Istanbul, it is very easy to reach here by bus and ferry.
You can use the Tram T1 to go to Istanbul Naval Museum from Sultanahmet. After getting off at Kabatas, the last stop of the tram, you can reach the square where the museum is located in 5-10 minutes by taking a bus in the direction of Besiktas. You can go from Kabatas to Besiktas in 20 minutes on foot.
You can go to Istanbul Naval Museum from Taksim Square by bus or dolmush (shared taxi). Carrying 7 passengers, Dolmush leaves near Ataturk Cultural Center and takes you to Besiktas in 10 minutes. Another alternative is to take the Funicular F1 to Kabatas and walk to the museum from the seaside.
Those coming from the Asian Side can take the ferry either from Kadikoy or Uskudar to Besiktas. The ferry offers a pleasant journey with the Bosphorus view and takes you to Besiktas in 15 or 20 minutes. The museum is only 5 minutes from the ferry piers.
Istanbul Naval Museum is a hidden treasure for those interested in maritime history and the development of naval vessels. For this reason, it is among the best museums in Istanbul.
If you want to see other museums that will complement your experience in this museum, you can also visit the Istanbul Military Museum. If you are interested in Ottoman history, it may be enjoyable for you to visit the Panorama 1453 Museum too.
If you want to learn more about the museums in Istanbul, you can find dozens of similar articles in the Museums of Istanbul category of this site. Nearly 40 museums are introduced under this category.
Written by Serhat Engul