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The Istanbul Archaeology Museums

Coordinate: 41º00’41.05’’K 28º58’43.51’’D Height: 67 m


The path going right up the hill at the entrance of Gülhane Park leads you to the Archaeology Museums. The museum can also be reached from the First Courtyard of Topkapi Palace for this path being opened to the courtyard. Istanbul Archaeology Museum is located in three separate buildings. These are Archaeological Museum, Museum of the Ancient Orient, and Museum of Islamic Art (Tiled Kiosk).

Founder and director of the museum Osman Hamdi Bey discovered precious sarcophagus at excavations in King Necropolis in Sidon in 1887. A new museum building was designed by French architect Alexander Vallaury across the Tiled Kiosk for existing building was small for these sarcophagus and it opened in June 13, 1891. Museum building was expanded with additional structures later on.

The most important collections of the main building are sarcophagus and grave steles in the ground floor. The most important of these that Osman Hamdi Bey discovered in the excavation of Sidon are the Alexander Sarcophagus (4th century B.C.), Sarcophagus of the Crying Women (4th century B.C.) and Sarcophagi of Tabnit (around 500 B.C.). The Sarcophagus of the Sidamara (3rd century A.D.) located in Konya fascinates the visitors with its huge size and reliefs. Yet, ancient sculptures from various cities are exhibited in this floor. Upstairs lounge has a very rich collection of coins.

In the first floor of the new building additional to the old building “Istanbul Through the Ages”, in the second floor “Anatolia and Troy Through the Ages” and in the top floor “Neighbor Cultures of Anatolia; Cyprus, Syria and Palestine” are exhibited in chronological order. Byzantine Hall exhibiting works of Byzantine era is in the new building.

In the Museum of the Ancient Orient located across the main building Anatolian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Arabic works are exhibited. Glazed, bricked Lion Glyphs belonging to the ceremony road in Babylon, two copies of the Treaty of Kadesh (604-562 B.C.) the world’s first known written treaty signed in 1270 B.C., and various grave steles are important exhibition works.

Other building across the main building is the Tiled Kiosk built in 1472. In the Tiled Kiosk which is the first structure belonging to Topkapi Palace examples of Turkish tile art from 13th century to 19th century are exhibited.