The Museum of Innocence is named after the novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk. The museum, organized according to the plot in the novel, received the European Museum of the Year award in 2014. There is a nostalgic atmosphere in the museum, which reflects the Istanbul of the 70s and 80s.
Although the Museum of Innocence is in essence a romance novel, it actually describes the change Istanbul has gone through over time. Orhan Pamuk has collected all the items used by the fictional characters in the novel and is now exhibiting them in the museum.
The museum, which was established with the restoration of a historical building, is located in Cihangir, one of the coolest districts of Istanbul. Located on Cukurcuma Street, famous for its antique shops in Cihangir, the museum is also very close to Aga Hamami, the oldest bathhouse in Istanbul.
History of the Museum of Innocence
The history of the Museum of Innocence goes back to 2012. After scouting districts such as Galata and Sultanahmet for the museum, Orhan Pamuk chose Cukurcuma and bought a building called as “Brukner Apartment” dating from 19th century.
Building was designed by Ihsan Bilgin, Cem Yucel and Gregor Sunder-Plassman in 2003. Pamuk also founded Innocence Foundation in 2009. Financial support was granted by European Capital of Culture Agency in 2010 and museum was opened in 2012.
The Museum of Innocence is not just a museum, but also a time tunnel. When you visit this museum, you will find yourself in the fiction of a novel, witnessing the last 50 years of Istanbul. Activities, conferences and conversations are held from time to time in the museum.
There is a strong connection between the novel and the collection exhibited in the museum. While writing the parts of the novel, Orhan Pamuk was purchasing the objects mentioned in the novel. He collected the belongings of the main characters, newspaper reports remaining from the times that the novel covers, show cards, photographs and different objects in 20 years.
In other words, when Orhan Pamuk was writing his novel, he had already begun to make plans for the museum he would establish in the future. In the opening, Orhan Pamuk stated that he wrote his novel by looking the objects he purchased. Arrangement of the objects was exhibited in the exact order of the book.
For instance, there are 83 boxes in which objects are exhibited in the museum. These boxes represent 83 chapters in the novel and each box contains objects that belong to the same number of the chapter in the book.
Museum of Innocence Entrance Fee 2021
Museum of Innocence entrance fee is 50 Turkish Liras for adults as of 2021. The discounted ticket price for students is 35 TL. Museum Pass Istanbul is not valid at the entrance of the museum. For a better museum experience you can hire audio guide for 5 Lira.
You can visit the museum for free just for once if you have the novel. On the 574th page of the novel, you can find a free entry ticket for the museum and a map showing where the museum is. By making that page stamped, you can get an invitation and visit the museum for free.
I do not know if there are museum tickets in the old editions of the book. However, I recommend that you bring the book with you to the museum just in case. Even if you have the old book, they will probably help you at the entrance to the museum.
Museum of Innocence Opening Hours 2021
Museum of Innocence opening hours are between 10:00 in the morning and 18:00 in the evening. The museum stays open until 21:00 on Fridays. Please also note that the museum is closed on Mondays.
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 Museum of Innocence?
In order to get to the Museum of Innocence, you must first come to Beyoglu. Beyoglu is one of Istanbul’s tourist districts and is home to iconic landmarks such as Taksim Square, Istiklal Street and Galata Tower.
You can walk to the museum from Karakoy, Galata, Istiklal Street and Taksim Square. You can get to the museum by taxi, bus and metro from other touristic centers such as Besiktas, Sisli and Sultanahmet.
In order to get to the Museum of Innocence from Sultanahmet, you can take the T1 tram to the Tophane stop and from there you can walk up the slope to the Cihangir district. If you do not want to walk uphill, you can reach Taksim Square from Kabatas with the T1 Tram – F1 Funicular connection and you can walk to the museum in 15 minutes.
Those coming from the Asian Side can reach Karakoy or Kabatas by ferry. It will take only 15-20 minutes to walk from Karakoy to Cihangir, where the museum is located. From Kabatas, you can reach Taksim Square with the F1 Funicular connection and reach the museum via Istiklal Street.
Things to Do in Cihangir
Things to do in Cihangir include trying Turkish breakfast, drinking coffee in boutique cafes, shopping for antiques, and visiting Istanbul’s oldest Turkish bath. For this reason, do not forget to take extra time to enjoy the surroundings after visiting the museum.
Some of the best breakfast places in Istanbul are located in Cihangir. Van Kahvalti Evi and Kahve 6 are among the recommended breakfast places. For a coffee after breakfast, you can try the 3rd wave coffee shop Kronotrop.
Also Cukurcuma antique shops right next to the museum will compliment the nostalgic atmosphere you will experience in the museum. The street of antique shops in Cukurcuma is very interesting for those who want to take pictures of the objects.
The Aga Hamam, dated to 1454, is among the Top 10 Turkish Baths in Istanbul. In addition to all these, Cihangir has Istanbul’s best pizzerias, concept restaurants and bars.
Cihangir has long been known as the district of writers, directors and illustrators. Although the place that stands out with these features in recent years is the Moda district on the Asian side, Cihangir is still an intellectual center.
Written by Serhat Engul