Istanbul is a great city with a lot of places to visit. Of course, it is not a surprise, that this city offers a huge diversity of museums. But which ones are a must-see, to find out we suggest reading our article about Best Museums in Istanbul Which You Must Visit.
- 1. Arter
- 2. Panorama 1453 History Museum
- 3. Great Palace Mosaics Museum
- 4. Borusan Contemporary (Haunted House)
- 5. Museum of Innocence
- 6. Elgiz Museum
- 7. Madame Tussauds Museum Istanbul
- 8. Istanbul Archaeology Museums
- 9. Istanbul Modern Art Museum
- 10. Istanbul Toy Museum
- 11. Pera Museum
- 12. Sakıp Sabancı Museum
- 13. Dialogue in the Dark
Since its establishment in 2007, it has been hosting its guests with a collection of contemporary artworks. The museum is interested in artistic production, it is concentrated i and the surrounding region. It attaches importance to revealing the similarities and differences in form, content, and expressions produced in the same geographies at different times. It exhibits various forms of expression of contemporary art since the 1960s. These forms of expression include painting, sculpture, photography, video, film, installation, sound, and light. Arter also stands out in the modern cultural life of Istanbul with the performances in the performing arts.
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2. Panorama 1453 History Museum
Fatih Sultan Mehmet saw Istanbul and said: “Either I will conquer Istanbul or Istanbul will take over me“. It was an expression of love. From that moment on, Fatih had set his mind to conquer Istanbul. Panorama 1453 history museum is the expression of this love. It describes the historical events that took place during the conquest of Istanbul, the state of Istanbul at that time, and what changes happened after the conquest. Don’t forget to go to Merkezefendi at the exit of the museum and eat meatballs.
3. Great Palace Mosaics Museum
It is located in the Arasta Bazaar in the complex of the Blue Mosque. The artifacts in it are dated between 450 and 550 AD. Mosaic topics do not handle religious content. Concepts such as daily life, nature, and mythology are described. Among the most striking mosaics in the museum are the griffon eating a lizard, the struggle of an elephant and a lion, a mare suckling a foal, herding children, and the man milking a goat. The mosaics feature 150 human and animal figures and 90 different themes.
4. Borusan Contemporary (Haunted House)
Yusuf Ziya Pasha Mansion, which was started to be built in 1910, is a building that was stopped due to the First World War. Due to its empty floors and unfinished construction, it was known as a “haunted mansion” in the surrounding area. The mansion was sold in 1993. Its construction was completed between 1995 and 2000, preserving the original architecture. While the outer appearance was preserved with its old architecture, the interior spaces were given a more spacious and modern atmosphere. The 10-storey building is magnificent with its view overlooking the Black Sea on one side and the Marmara Sea on the other. The building, leased by Borusan Holding, hosts the works in the Borusan Contemporary Collection. There are 800 pieces in the Borusan Contemporary Collection.
5. Museum of Innocence
Orhan Pamuk, one of the most famous writers in Türkiye. He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 2006. The Museum of Innocence is also the name of a novel by Orhan Pamuk. While writing the novel, he dreamed of establishing the museum and started negotiations for the museum. The museum was established a few years after the book was published. You don’t need to read the novel to visit the museum, but if you read it, you can enjoy the details more. In the museum, there are things that the heroes depicted in the novel use, wear, hear, see, collect and imagine. The Museum of Innocence, which provides micro information from Istanbul’s socio-cultural life between 1950 and 2000, is worth seeing. The Museum of Innocence, which received the 2014 Museum of the Year award in Europe, is located in one of the oldest regions of Istanbul.
6. Elgiz Museum
Elgiz Museum was established as Türkiye’s first contemporary art museum in 2001. It acts with the mission of ensuring the development of contemporary art. Elgiz Museum, with its international identity, welcomes its visitors in an area of 2000 m². Elgiz Museum, as a “private collection museum”, hosts exhibitions of sculptors and land art projects on a temporary outdoor terrace. In the museum, which Tripadvisor calls “hidden treasure”, the most beautiful pieces of contemporary art are on display.
7. Madame Tussauds Museum Istanbul
The name may look familiar as Madame Tussauds has a branch in every metropolitan area you can imagine. This superb attraction is a real crowd-puller due to its incredibly lifelike wax celebrities! It took its place among the best museums in Istanbul in 2020. Located in Taksim, it’s split into different sections; famous singers, athletes, actors/actresses, and scientists. Children between 0 – 12 years can enter for free, and for over 12’s there are different ticket options: Flexible Ticket, Single Entry Ticket, Family Package or Madame Tussauds and Sea Life Istanbul 2 Attractions Ticket. Online tickets (last for 90 or 120 days) It’s open every day from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.
8. Istanbul Archaeology Museums
This stunning place consists of 3 museums in one; The Archaeology Museum, The Museum of Oriental Works, and The Tiled Kiosk Museum. Dating back to the 19th century when it was established by the famous artist and museologist Osman Hamdi, the downstairs of the main building of the Archaeology Museum boasts sculptures, reliefs, tombs and artifacts; and the upstairs is home to ceramics, medallions and ancient coins. The second museum includes the ancient and mysterious artifacts from Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Old Egypt, and Arabia, along with important historical ruins. Last but not least is The Tiled Pavilion Museum, where you can see the ceramics and tiles in the style of Seljuk and Ottoman architecture. Bringing the traces of the history to 2020 with its abundant and rich exhibitions, Istanbul Archeology Museums are one of the best museums in Istanbul. Opening hours are 9.00 am – 6.00 pm from 30th October – 31st March and 9.00 am – 7.00 pm from 1st April – 30th October.
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9. Istanbul Modern Art Museum
Istanbul Modern Museum is Türkiye’s first museum of modern and contemporary art. It is a pioneer in contemporary art and one of the best museums in Istanbul. This emporium of modern art demonstrates the vast array of artistic ideas in Istanbul. The museum is set in a 5-story building which was formerly a maritime warehouse. On the 4th floor, there are photography exhibitions from Türkiye, on the 2nd and 3rd you can see the museum’s diuturnal art collections. Ond on the 1st and -1 floor, you’ll find temporary contemporary and modern art exhibitions. Indeed the whole museum is based on the philosophy of these two art forms. There are paintings and artifacts not only from Türkiye but also from foreign artists in this fascinating place. Tours are available.
Open Hours: 10:00 – 18:00, Thursdays: 10:00 – 20:00, Sundays: 11:00 – 19:00 Closed on Mondays
Location: View on Google Maps
Phone Number: (0212) 334 73 00
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10. Istanbul Toy Museum
Are you ready to go back to your childhood?! Then, this museum is the right place for you. Set in a former toy-shop, the Istanbul Toy Museum showcases old-fashioned toys and miniatures dating back 200 years, which will fill you with nostalgia and bring out your inner child. Don’t be deceived into thinking this museum is just for children; it is appealing to all ages. The museum was founded by the poet and author, Sunay Akın, and opened on April 23, a national holiday in Türkiye for children initially granted by the great leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The museum has taken its place among the best museums in Istanbul in 2020. This 5-story building is located in Kadikoy and opens between 09:30 am – 6:00 pm. There is free entry for children under 3, students, teachers, and people over 65.
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11. Pera Museum
Its name is unique and exciting – like the museum itself! At the time of the Ottoman Empire, people used to call Beyoğlu neighborhood as “Pera”. The building was the brainchild of architect Achille Manoussos in 1893, who built it to be the Bristol Hotel and later turned it into a museum. A celebration of oriental style painting, the exhibition consists of oriental-inspired art from across the continent. It has three permanent exhibitions, which are Orientalist Paintings, Anatolian Weights and Measures, and Kütahya Tiles and Ceramics. Besides, having international projects with international museums and galleries. Due to its innovative exhibitions, audio-visual events, and academic works, Pera Museum has its place among the best museums in Istanbul still in 2020.
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12. Sakıp Sabancı Museum
It’s an excellent place for a peaceful day in the city. The paintings, along with the rest of the art, are unique and celebrate the beauty of the natural landscape. The building is known as The Equestrian Villa and often hosts concerts, seminars, and conferences. Today in 2020, Sakıp Sabancı Museum presents a versatile and innovative exhibitions with its rich permanent collection, the comprehensive temporary exhibitions, and the various concerts held there. Recently, Sakıp Sabancı Museum hosted the worldwide known exhibition Marina Abramović + MAI, which attracted many art-lovers from Istanbul and Türkiye. The museum is one of the best museums in Istanbul still in 2020.
13. Dialogue in the Dark
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be blind? This interactive museum will help you to understand what it’s like to trust people based on speech and touch. You’ll learn empathy as well as gaining a bit more faith in your own senses. A unique yet touching experience for all located near the Gayrettepe Metro. Tickets can only be bought online from their site. It is an unforgettable experience that you should try out, one of the best activities to do in Istanbul.
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