The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is an impressive museum combining the Turkish and Islamic works. It is situated at the Ibrahim Pasha Palace (one of the most important buildings of 16th century Ottoman civil architecture) in Sultanahmet. The museum is the last one that was opened during the Ottomans era and displays very unique, more than over 40,000 items at its carpet, manuscript, wood, glass-metal-ceramic and ethnography sections.
General Info & History
The museum was first opened in the Imaret building (Alms house) inside the Sulemaniye Mosque Complex in 1914. However, there was a big theft problem from the many mosques, masjids, monasteries and lodges in Istanbul on that period.
As the thefts continued despite all the precautions; variety of works gathered together from many mosques, masjids and tombs with the management of 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), and a new museum was founded with the name Museum of Islamic Foundations in the same place.
Upon the declaration of the Turkish Republic, it was renamed to “the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts”.
And in 1983, the museum was moved to its location today, in the Ibrahim Pasha Palace (renovated by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1520) located at the Sultanahmet Square (Hippodrome), just across the the Blue Mosque.
What to See Inside
You’ll see variety of great collections from the early period of Islamic art to 20th century that are exhibited at the carpet, manuscript, wood, glass-metal-ceramic and ethnography sections of the museum. Collections include:
- Manuscripts and Written Works
- Carpets and Kilims
- Metal, Glass and Ceramics
- Sacred Relics
Collections belongs to the the Umayyad, Abbasid, North African (Moorish), Andalusian, Fatimid, Seljuk, Ayyubid, Ilkhanid, Mamluk, Timurid and Safavid dynasties, the beylik and Ottoman periods and from various Caucasus countries.
The 1,700 pieces of the carpet collection of the museum, from the Seljuks, Ottomans, Anatolia from the 15th to 17th centuries, Iran, the Caucasus and renowned Usak carpets, is the most unique in the world. Due to the richness of the carpets, the museum also has been called as “Carpet Museum”.
Metal, Glass & Ceramic Works
The metal, glass and ceramic works from the 12th, 13th century and late Ottoman era; the ceramics and gypsum plaster reliefs from Seljuk and Ottoman buildings, the wall paintings rescued from Abbasid palaces and stoneware from Raqqa, the woodwork, the stonework from the early Islamic, Seljuk and Ottoman periods, are other unique and very valuable items exhibited at the museum.
There are also temporary exhibitions and events held at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts.
Visiting Hours & Admissions
Open every day except Mondays from:
- 09:00-19:00 (from 15 April to 30 October)
- 09:00-17:00 (from 31 October to 14 April)
Ticket counters close 30 minutes before the museum closing time.
Closed on Mondays.
Museum is closed on the day before and first day of religious holidays (Ramadan and Sacrifice feast), as well as December 31st and January 1st. See Turkey’s public holidays
How to Get to the Museum
You’ll find the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in the heart of the Sultanahmet Square (Hippodrome), in Sultanahmet. When you turn your face to the Blue Mosque, while you stand at the Sultanahmet Square, you’ll find the museum on your back. See the location map.
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: Atmeydanı Sk. No: 12, Sultanahmet, Fatih, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 518 18 05 / 06