Top 5 Museums In Istanbul Old City


Top 5 Museums Of  Istanbul With Entrance Fees, Opening Hours 2018

You may see many important mosques, churches and museums in Istanbul Old City. This article gives you further information about the top five best museums. Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, Chora Church (Kariye Museum), Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum and Istanbul Archeological Museums.

Photo Of Hagia Sophia Museum

Photo Of Hagia Sophia Museum

Hagia Sophia Museum 2018

Although it sounds too hard to pronounce for foreign visitors, it is basically pronounced as Ayasofya. If you ask an ordinary Turkish citizen the question of “Where is Hagia Sophia?” by emphasizing the letter “g”, they will most probably not understand what you are talking about. With a bit of luck, they may understand it by the word “Sophia” though.

This incredible temple was begun to be constructed in 532 and was completed in 537. It was commissioned by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian to two of the important architects of the century. Named Anthemios and Isidoros, these architects not only built the biggest structure of humanity but charmed the city folk as well. The enthusiasm and curiosity generated by Hagia Sophia went on for centuries and it served as the biggest religious building until the 16th century when St. Peter’s Basilica was built.

The reason why Hagia Sophia was built as a new and wonderful structure is that the previous church was demolished by people during a riot. The name of the riot which occurred during the reign of the greatest Emperor of Byzantium, Justinian, was Nika. During the Nika Riots, the city was razed to the ground by more than 40,000 insurgents and the church named Megale Ekklesia which preceded Hagia Sophia was also damaged. The ancient columns and remnants which you can see on your left side when you enter the garden belong to this era. Answering the call of Justinian, the famous general Belisarius occupied Hippodrome and killed 30,000 people ending the riot in a very bloody way. Justinian started to build the city anew and commissioned the magnificent Hagia Sophia which overshadowed even the Temple of Solomon, known as the biggest temple until then.

I definitely advise you to hire a private tour guide for your tour of Hagia Sophia so that you can accurately understand all the details of this great temple which was built over 5 years by 11,000 people who worked day and night. Otherwise you may miss highly important details which even people who visited it many times don’t have an idea of. Having served over 900 years as a church, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque by Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror after 1453 and it remained as a mosque for 500 years. Currently it is the most important museum of the city.

Opening Hours For Hagia Sophia 2018

  • Hagia Sophia Museum is open everyday during the high season.

Between the 15th of April and 25th of October considered as high (summer) season. The Museum is open from 09:00 O’clock in the morning until 19:00 in the evening.

  • Hagia Sophia Museum is closed on Monday during the low season.

Between 25th of October and 15th of April considered as low (winter) season. The Museum open from 09:00 O’clock in the morning until 17:00 in the evening.

Hagia Sophia Admission Cost 2018

Admission Fee is 40 Turkish Lira for Hagia Sophia Museum. You can consider Museum Pass if you plan to visit several museums in the Istanbul Old City.

Photo Of Topkapi Palace Museum
Topkapı Palace Museum & Fountain of Ahmed III

Entrance to Topkapı Palace Museum & Fountain of Ahmed III © Serhat Engul

Topkapi Palace Museum 2018

Mehmet the Conqueror is the Ottoman Sultan who managed to seize Constantinople in 1453, finally fulfilling the lifelong dream for the majority of Muslim and Turkish people. Within the Eastern point of view, the conquest is a great success, even the greatest one of the Islamic history. Within the Western point of view, it is a tragedy and the fall of the last city of the Eastern Roman Empire. When we look at the maps of the time, we see that one of the longest running states, the Byzantine Empire, was diminished to a small city. Because Byzantine (also known as the Eastern Roman Empire) was separated from the Western Roman Empire in 395 and went on to exist for a thousand years before entering into a period of downfall.

It is rumored that Ottoman Sultan felt a great disappointment when he first entered the city. Although severely damaged during the Latin invasion (1204-1261), the city had not been renovated and therefore was in a ramshackle state. With the occupation and cost of the war, once an advanced and modern city of Constantinople was turned into an ordinary town. Having seen the harrowing state of the world-famous Big Palace and the adjacent Hippodrome, Sultan Mehmed felt grief and decided to order Topkapı Palace to be built. And he chose Seraglio Point as the building site where the Greek Byzas established the first settlement centuries ago. Built on the most beautiful hill of the city and the southern entrance of Bosphorus, this incredible palace served to 25 sultans for about 400 years. These sultans included the most successful ones such as Mehmed the Conqueror, Yavuz Sultan Selim and Suleiman the Magnificent. If you can imagine this rich empire stretched upon Silk Road and Spice Trade Routes and exporting to Europe from Istanbul harbors, you can guess how gorgeous and monumental structure Topkapı Palace is.

Working Days For Topkapi Palace 2018

You can visit the Topkapi Palace and Harem Rooms everyday except for Tuesday.

Opening Hours For Topkapı Palace 2018

High Season: Museum is open until 18:30 in the high season – 15th of April to 30th of October

Low Season: Museum is open until 16:30 in the low season – 30th of October to 15th of April

Topkapi Palace Admission Cost 2018

Topkapı Palace standart ticket costs 40 Turkish Lira. If you would like to see the Harem Rooms additional ticket costs 25 Turkish Lira. Museum Pass is valid for this museum.

Photo Of Chora Church Museum
Chora Church Dome

Incredible Mosaics Of Chora Church

Chora Church (Kariye) Museum 2018

The most beautiful Byzantine mosaics of Istanbul, once the capital of Byzantine Empire, and arguably the world can be seen in this small monastery. Unfortunately many travelers leave Istanbul without visiting this small church. Organized city tours focus on Sultanahmet area and ignore this beautiful place. However there are great mosaics on the inner and outer halls of the church telling the story of Mary and Jesus. The story of the church itself is touching. As a matter of fact, the history of Byzantine Empire is similar to Game of Thrones series and includes tons of plots, victories and tragedies. Theodore Metokhites, the patron of this church and financier of the spectacular mosaics in it, had its share of such games of throne and was sent to an exile while he was a top level bureaucrat. After many years, he returned to the church, took it as his home, spent his last years there and was buried on the Parekklesion section. This structure is regarded as the second most important Byzantine monument in the city after Hagia Sophia.

Working Days For Chora Church 2018

Chora Church is open everyday except for Wednesday.

Opening Hours For Chora Church 2018

Chora Church is open from 09:00 O’clock in the morning until 16:30 in the evening.

Chora Church Entrance (Admission) Fee 2018

Chora Church entrance costs 25 Turkish Lira per person. Museum Pass is valid for this museum.

Photo Of Turkish And Islamic Arts Museum
Turkish and Islamic Art Museum

Turkish and Islamic Art Museum © Serhat Engul

Turkish And Islamic Arts Museum 2018

Ottoman history is not different from the Byzantine history in terms of plots and throne disputes. During the history of Ottoman Empire which ruled on three continents, many Sultans fell prey to such disputes. However the fate of Grand Viziers were even worse. Some due to military failure, some due to bribe or corruption scandals and most of them due to falling from grace were executed. The building adjacent to the Hippodrome originally belonged to Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha, a top level bureaucrat. Once married to the sister of Suleiman the Magnificent and called Makbul (the Favorite) Ibrahim Pasha as a close friend to the Sultan, he suddenly fell from grace and was executed. The building built for him now serves today as the Turkish – Islamic Arts Museum.

Important artifacts from the times of the Caliphates, Great Seljuks and Ottoman Empire are exhibited inside the museum. Those visitors who are asking “Well, where did the Turks come from?” while listening to 2700 years old Istanbul history can find an answer to this question during their visit to the museum. Because the footprints of the Turks who emigrated from the Central Asia to these lands can be found within Turkish – Islamic Arts Museum.

Working Days Turkish And Islamic Arts Museum 2018

Turkish And Islamic Arts Museum is open everyday.

Opening Hours Turkish And Islamic Arts Museum 2018

Turkish And Islamic Arts Museum is open from 09:00 O’clock in the morning until 17:00 in the evening.

Turkish And Islamic Arts Museum Entrance (Admission) Fee 2018

Turkish And Islamic Art Museum Entrance costs 25 Turkish Lira per person for the entrance of the museum. Museum Pass is valid for this museum.

Photo Of Istanbul Archaeological Museum
archaeological museum istanbul

Istanbul Archaeological Museums

Istanbul Archaeological Museums 2018

The main building of the Archeological Museum is a Neo-Classical structure built between 1897 and 1901 by the French architect Alexander Vallaury who contributed to the modern look of Istanbul with the buildings he made. Since it takes three hours to visit Topkapı Palace, most of the visitors leave the palace from the first garden without visiting this museum which is next to Darphane (State Mint), just on the way to Gulhane Park. This late-Ottoman building has one of the largest archeological collections in the world including the Egyptian–Hittite Peace Treaty (Kadesh Tablet) which is accepted as the oldest written treaty, Alexander Sarcophagus and ancient Greek sculptures.

The richness of the collections in the museum can truly be understood only when the fact that Ottoman Empire was stretched upon three continents is taken into consideration. If you like to take a magical journey throughout the long history of Anatolia and Mesopotamia, regarded as the cradle of civilization, I would definitely advise you to add this museum to your itinerary. One of the buildings in the museum complex is Tiled Kiosk which dates back to 1471 and is regarded as one of the first Ottoman buildings in the city.

Working Days Istanbul Archaeological Museum 2018

Archaeological Museum is open everyday except for Mondays.

Opening Hours Istanbul Archaeological Museum 2018

Archaeological Museum is open from 09:00 O’clock in the morning until 17:00 in the evening.

Istanbul Archaeology Museum Entrance (Admission) Fee 2018

Istanbul Archaeology Museum entrance costs 20 Turkish Lira per person for the entrance of the museum. Musuem card is valid for this museum.

Map Of Main Attractions In Istanbul Old City (Sultanahmet)

Things To Do In Sultanahmet Old City (Click On The Map For High Resolution)

Private Istanbul Tours Accompanied By Local Tour Guides

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© Istanbul Museums Opening (Visiting) Hours & Entrance (Admission) Fees 2018

Top 5 Museums In Istanbul Old City was last modified: October 19th, 2017 by Serhat Engül
  • safaktozar


    It was a great article.:)

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