Last Updated on September 26, 2020
The Istanbul Archaeology Museums, also known as Istanbul Archaeological Museum, are one of the richest archaeology museums in the world, in the Sultanahmet neighborhood of Fatih district, along the Osman Hamdi Bey ramp, on the site close to Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Istanbul Archaeology Museums consist of three separate museums on the site that include the Archaeology Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Tiled Pavilion. That’s why it’s called plural.
Dating back to 1869, the Istanbul Archaeology Museums was first founded as the Imperial Museum with the archaeological items collected from the nearby Hagia Irene Church.
Afterwards, as the museum building was inadequate to display the remnants during the excavation works and diggings on the site of the newly revealed Necropolis of Sydon in 1887-1888, the museum moved to the main building (the Archaeology Museum) that was designed by the renowned architect Alexandre Vallaury, and took it’s today’s form with the construction of the auxiliary units that were built in 1903 and 1907.
And all those developments administrated by Osman Hamdi Bey, manager of the Imperial Museum and a renowned painter well known for its “Tortoise Trainer” painting which is exhibited at the Pera Museum today.
The Museum of the Ancient Orient building was also designed by the renowned architect Alexandre Vallaury, again by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1883.
And the third museum of the complex, the Tiled Pavilion was constructed by the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmed, in 1472. It has a Seljucks style architecture which is the only one in Istanbul.
What to See?
Istanbul Archaeology Museums houses over one million immense collection from various civilizations such as Assyrian, Hittite, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman civilizations that had deep effect throughout the history.
Istanbul Archaeology Museums are also listed on the top 10 museums in the world that was designed, established and serving as a museum building, as well as the first one in Turkey. The site of the Istanbul Archaeology Museums has very peaceful and beautiful courtyard and gardens. The museums’ buildings and architectures are also very impressive.
The Archaeology Museum
The Archaeology Museum houses very impressive pieces from the excavation of Necropolis of Sydon such as the Sarcophagies of Alexander the Great and King Tabnit, the Lycian Sarcophagus and the Mourning Women Sarcophagus are amongst the most valuable pieces in the museum. The exhibition of “Istanbul Through the Ages” is also worth a see.
The Museum of the Ancient Orient
The Museum of the Ancient Orient great pieces from the pre-Islamic Arabian Peninsula, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Anatolia. The Treaty of Kadesh, (signed in 1274), which is the oldest peace treaty in the world that is revealed in Hattusa, the Hittite capital; and a Love Poem from the 8th century ancient Babylonian era, are one of the most popular pieces at the museum.
The Tiled Pavilion
The Tiled Pavilion, also known as “Islamic Art Museum”, houses about 2,000 pieces belonging to Seljucks and Ottomans era.
Visiting Hours & Admissions
Open every day except Mondays between 09:00-20:00 (from 01 April to 01 October), 09:00-18:00 (from 01 October to 01 April).
Closed on Mondays.
Hours of Ticket Sale
Ticket counters close 1 hour before the museum closing time.
* 50 TL at ticket window on location
Where to Buy Tickets
You can buy them at ticket windows but it will cost you about at least 1 hour waiting in the line. And this will effect your future sightseeing calendar.
We recommend you buy your tickets online. This is by far the easiest and cheapest way to get tickets to Istanbul Archaeology Museums.
We put the links to the official buying channels below. Just pick your date and time and skip the lines.
Ticket Options and Prices
There are several options:
- Buy directly at the ticket window on location.
- Buy Istanbul Museum Pass.
How to Get There
The most practical way to get to Sultanahmet is via Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line).
- The closest tram stop is Sultanahmet.
- Sultanahmet Square and most of the connecting roads are closed for vehicle traffic except tram and tour buses.
- From Taksim, take the funicular to Kabatas (from taksim Square) or funicular to Karakoy (from Tunel square) and than take the tram.
- If you stay at the Sultanahmet hotels, than you easily walk to the museum.
Check our Sultanahmet page to see how to get to Sultanahmet in details.
Address: Alemdar Str., Osman Hamdi Bey ramp, Gulhane, Istanbul
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