The Great Palace Mosaics Museum, also known as Istanbul Mosaic Museum, is an impressive mosaics museum situated in the Arasta Bazaar within the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque) complex. Being one of the organizational units of the directorate of Hagia Sophia Museum, the museum hosts the most beautiful mosaics in the world, preserved from the Great Palace of Constantinople, during the East Roman period from 610 until 641 A.C.. Especially the ones dated to AD 450-550.
General Info & History
During the East Roman period, artists who have come from the various regions of the country have made a huge mosaic with 40,000 pieces to the ground that covers 1,870 square meters. And afterwards, during the 7th and 8th century, when the painting was forbidden, the ground mosaics have been covered with huge marble panels and they were forgotten untl they were revealed in 1921. And that also shows the reason that why those mosaics are in good condition today.
During the era of the Ottoman Empire, due the possible danger that may come from the sea, the Ottoman palaces were moved to Golden Horn region and a residential district were established over the area of the mosaics (having no idea that they were there), with the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the conqueror of Istanbul.
And after a big fire on this Ottoman residential area, those hidden mosaics have showed up. Diggings and excavation works started in the year 1921 and and continued in between 1935-1951, and finally the mosaics and the remnants of the Byzantium palaces have been revealed. And so the site was declared as Great Palace Mosaics Museum in 1997.
The mosaic stones at the museum consist of limestone, earthenware and colored stones, and the portrayals are placed in between the marble pieces. The mosaics at the museum has themes from daily life, nature and mythology like; a lizard eating gryphon, the fight of the elephant and lion, achild feeding his donkey, a young girl carrying a pot, lactation of mare, a goat milking man, a goose herding children, apple eating bears, the fight of the hunter and tiger and more…
Open every day from 09:00-19:00 (from 15 April to 25 October), 09:00-17:00 (from 25 October to 15 April)
Ticket counters close 30 mins. before the museum closing time.
Not available for visiting in the first days of Ramadan and Sacrifice Festivals for half time.
20 TL (Muzekart+ is valid).
How to Get There?
The Great Palace Mosaics Museum is situated situated in the Arasta Bazaar within the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque) complex, in the Sultanahmet neighborhood of Fatih district. Getting to Great Palace Mosaics Museum is very easy and there are several trasnportation options.
- For the ones who stay in the Sultanahmet hotels, they can get to Great Palace Mosaics Museum by walking.
- From Taksim, you may take the Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line) from the Kabatas stop or the other stops along the Galata Bridge. To get to tram stops; from the Taksim Square, you may take the Taksim-Kabatas funicular (F1 line), get to Kabatas tram stop and take the tram for Sultanahmet. And from the end of the Istiklal Avenue, on the Tunel Square, you may walk downwards or take the Tunel-Karakoy funicular (F2 line) to get to Karakoy tram stop and take the tram for Sultanahmet.
- From Kadikoy or Uskudar, on the Asian side, you may take the ferries operating to Kabatas, Karakoy or Eminonu and from there you may take the Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line) for Sultanahmet.
- Check the Istanbul Railway Network Map for the Tram stops and Istanbul Ferry Lines Map for ferries.
- Also note that the Sultanahmet Square and most of the connecting roads are closed for vehicle traffic except tram and tour busses. Getting to Sultanahmet by your private car is not recommended. You’ll need to leave your car far away.
Address: Arasta Bazaar, Sultanahmet, Fatih, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 518 12 05
Fax: +90 212 512 54 74