Museums in Istanbul

Museums info in Istanbul for travellers.
The Basailica of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), now called the Ayasofya Museum, is unquestionably one of the finest buildings of all time. Built by Constantine the Great and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, its immense dome rises fifty five meters above the ground and its diameter spans 33 meters. Linger here to admire the building’s majestic serenity as well as the fine Byzantine mosaics. The Archaeological Museums are found just inside the first court of the Topkapi Palace. Included among its treasures of antiquity are the celebrated Alexander Sarcophagus and the facade of the Temple to Athena from Assos. The Museum of the Ancient Orient displays artifacts from the Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Hatti and Hittite civilizations (Open every day except Monday). Originally built in the 15th hundred years as a kosk, or pavilion, by Mehmet the Conqueror, the Cinili Kosk, which houses the Museum of Turkish Ceramics, contains beautiful 16th-century specimens from Iznik and fine examples of Seljuk and Ottoman pottery and tiles (Open every day except Monday). Like the Ayasofya Museum, St Irene Museum was originally a church. It ranks, in fact, as the first church built in Istanbul. Constantine commissioned it in the fourth century and Justinian later had the church restored. The building reputedly stands on the site of a pre-Cristian temple (Open every day except Monday, but requires special permission for admission).


The dark stone building that houses the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art was built in 1524 by the Grand Vizier to Suleyman the Magnificent, Ibrahim Pasa, as his residance. It was the grandest private residence ever built in the Ottoman Empire. Today it holds a superb collection of ceramics, metalwork, miniatures calligraphy, textiles and woodwork as well as some of the oldest carpets in the world (Open every day except Monday). Across the road from the Ibrahim Pasa residence may be the Museum of Turkish Carpets which contains exquisite antique carpets and kilims gathered from all over Turkey (Open every day except Sunday and Monday). Near Hagia Sophia may be the sixth-century Byzantine cistern known as the Yerebatan Cistern. Three hundred and thirty-six massive Corinthian columns support the immense chamber’s fine brick vaulting (Open every day). The Mosaic Museum preserves in situ exceptionally fine fifth and sixth-century mosaic pavements from the Grand Palace of the Byzantine emperors (Open every day except Tuesday).The Kariye Museum, the 11th-century curch of “St. Savior” in the Chora complex, is after Hagia Sophia, the most important Byzantine monument in Istanbul. Unremarkable in its architecture, inside the walls are decorated with superb 14th-century mosaics.

Illustrating scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary, these brilliantly colored paintings embody the vigor of Byzantine art. In restored wooden houses in the area surrounding the church you can enjoy tea and coffee in a relaxed atmosphere far removed from the city’s hestic pace (Open every day except Wednesday). The Aviation Museum in Yesilkoy traces the development of flight in Turkey (Open every day except Monday). In the Military Museum the great field tents used by the Ottoman armies on campaigns are on display. Other exhibits include Ottoman weapons and the accoutrements of war. The Mehter Takimi (Ottoman Military Band) can be heard performing Ottoman martial music between 3:00 and 4:00 pm. (Open every day except Monday and Tuesday).

Ataturk’s former residence in Sisli now serves as the Ataturk Museum and displays his personal effects (Open every day except Saturday and Sunday). The grand imperial caiques used by the sultans to cross the Strait are among the many other interesting exhibits of Ottoman naval history that can be seen at the Naval Museum located in the Besiktas district (Open every day except Monday and Thursday). Also in Besiktas is the Museum of Fine Arts that houses Turkish paintings and sculptures from the end of the 19th century to the present (Open every day except Monday and Tuesday). The City Museum, located within the gardens of the Yildiz Palace, preserves and documents the history of Istanbul since the Ottoman conquest (Open every day except Thursay). Also within the gardens are the Yildiz Palace Theatre and the Museum of Historical Stage Costumes, with its richly decorated scenery and stage, and its exquisite costumes (Open every day except Tuesday). The Rahmi Koc Industry Museum, in the suburb of Haskoy on the coast of the Golden Horn, was an Ottoman-period building, formerly called Lengerhane, for iron and steel works. Today it houses exhibites on industrial development (Open every Monday).

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

In the center of Istanbul, not far from tram station ‘Tophane’, you can find Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. It’s one of most popular museums to visit in Istanbul, because each day there held a lot of exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. Located directly on the shores of the Bosporus, the museum amazes both for its size – more than 8,000 square meters, and exhibits that are presented in it.

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul collects, carefully keeps and makes available a pieces of modern art for connoisseurs. As part of its commitment to the exchange and promote the works of modern art of Turkey in the international art world, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art is involved in a wide range of inter-state activities. In addition to the permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, photo exhibitions, art-classrooms for education and social programs, the museum offers visitors to spend time in the modern-art-cinema, restaurant made in a modern style, store, or find a book in the extensive library.

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Expositions in Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul has two main exhibition halls. The permanent collection of the museum is located on the first floor. In the large hall, the works of outstanding artists are exhibited in chronological order, here you can get acquainted with the exhibits demonstrating the development of art of Turkey since its inception and up to the present day.

In the exhibition hall, you can feel the development dynamics of the various art forms of Turkey that reflect the social, cultural, economic and political components of society. The collection includes a wide range of exhibits, ranging from painting and sculpture, and ending with the media installations, mostly video.

On the second floor simultaneously held several temporary exhibitions and photo located a photo gallery. It hosts conceptual shows and retrospectives, presenting examples of art in modern Turkey.

Often showplaces are used for large-scale international exhibitions. In the photo gallery you can see the reflection of development of modern art in the world, mainly in Turkey. In addition, the gallery hosts exhibitions of famous photographers from Turkey and abroad. For modern sculpture genre, Modern Istanbul assigned different hall.

In addition, Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul conducts a lot exhibitions in architecture, design, video and new media fields.

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Library of the Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul

The ever-growing collection of the library contains more than 9,000 books and various science magazines. Main represented themes are the history of Turkish art and national artists, the publications about theory and practice of art, as well as the art of photography. All information about the Library collection of the Museum of Modern Art is available through the online catalogs of the automated library system, which facilitates the search of the desired book. Many publications are presented in electronic form. Visitors often surprised with unusual design of the library of the museum, where a lot of paper books are hanging from the ceiling.

Museum shop

The shop of the Museum of Modern Art offers a wide collection of gifts, ranging from art books to the original souvenirs, gifts and accessories, which will remind you about your visit to museum for long years.
Colorful catalogs and reproductions of paintings will give the chance to share your memories with your friends. In addition, the shop sells jewelry, stationery and accessories from world famous designers. Visitors of the museum can claim 10% discount to the value of the selected goods.

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Excursions in the Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul

Free guided tours by organized groups are available on Thursdays and Sundays at 5:00 pm. Groups include 4 to 12 people. Tours must be reserved in advance. To reserve first call to: 0212 334 73 41.

Forty-five-minute long paid excursions can be bought for individuals or for groups of 4 to 12 people on Mondays. Languages: Turkish or English. Cost 10TL per person.

Audio guides on Turkish or English are available for 10TL and are designed for a 45-minute self-guided tours at the Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul

The restaurant in the Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul

The unique view of the Bosporus and the old town, a spacious outdoor terrace, large windows of the main hall, stylish décor and a varied menu – what else is needed to create the ideal conditions for rest and a leisurely enjoying of delicious dishes and desserts?

If you decide to take a break from visiting the museum, a quick snack or prefer a leisurely meal, surfing on the Internet, thanks to the free WiFi, then a restaurant in Istanbul Museum of Modern Art will be probably the best choice.

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

The cost of visiting the Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul

Adult ticket price to museum is 17TL, for groups (minimum 10 people) – 14TL, for students – 9TL but only on Thursdays, children under the twelfth years may enter for free. For citizens of Turkey the entrance is free each Thursday. The museum is closed on January 1 and every first day of any religious holiday.

Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul is located near the mosque Nusretiye. You can reach the museum by bus or tram T1, coming on Tophane stop. In addition, the museum has its own paid parking for cars from 5 to 20 TL (hours/day).

Flower Passage – Çiçek Pasaji – in Istanbul

Flower Passage - Çiçek Pasaji – in Istanbul

‘Flower passage’ (Cicek Pasaji) is a historical sight in Beyoğlu district. Partially restored and reconstructed, the passage liked by the tourists and owners of several restaurants.

In the early 19th century on the territory, where a modern building is placed, was a fully wooden theater of Michel Naum and Joseph Naum brothers. After a fire in 1831 the building was completely destroyed.

In 1846, Bartolomeo Bosco sponsoring the construction of new theatre on the place of burned Naum’s brothers Theater. Giovanni Bartolomeo Bosco – famous magician from Italy, who was always a welcome guest in Istanbul. Later, the grateful people of Istanbul began to call new theater – “Bosco Theatre”. The architecture of the new building follows the basic principles of Italian Opera. The theater had three tiers with a total capacity of 1,500 seats.

Flower Passage - Çiçek Pasaji – in Istanbul

In 1870, the “Bosco Theatre” again completely destroyed in a fire. The land where theater was placed was sold to Christakis Zografos – one of the most respectable banker of Ottoman Empire. Christakis Zografos decided to build a big trading center – passage, as he has seen in Europe. He asked Kleanthis Zannos, architect from France, to design and build passage. Only after 6 long years building of passage was finished. And Christakis Zografos named passage – Cité de Péra.

On the first opening, Cité de Péra had 24 shops and 18 dwellings (apartments). Not a surprise, that the most popular shops were in Cité de Péra passage. Bakery Maison Parret & Vallaury, Japanese shop Nakumara, tobacco shop Acemyan, flower shop Natural Dulas, and others.

After small time, Istanbul residents started to call Cité de Péra simply – Christakis Passage. In the aisles between shops all places filled with flower sellers. Passage was the best place in Istanbul to find various flowers. Thanks to flowers seller, very soon Cité de Péra also known as Christakis Passage people renamed to Flower Passage – Çiçek Pasaji.

Flower Passage - Çiçek Pasaji – in Istanbul

In mid of 20th century all flower seller moved to the bigger Egyptian Bazaar. But, the name of Flower Passage is left, and now, everyone knows that building as Flower Passage – Çiçek Pasaji.

After the World War II the Flower Passage is gradually gets empty and becomes unusable, however, like many other buildings built along the Istiklal Avenue.

But, in 2005, the Çiçek Pasaji, after a long renovation once again opened its doors to the public.

Today, on the first floor there are several restaurants, loved by a tourists. Having a dinner, tourists may consider non-traditional for the Istanbul architecture, vaguely reminiscent of passages, for example of France. Also, surely visit the nearby “European passage” – a sample of the exquisite French-style passages.