Turkey is a country filled with the histories of many civilizations and it offers the remains of these civilizations in many museums. While almost all of its cities have museums to showcase their unique history and cultural legacy, some of them stand out and get the most of the visitors. Here are the top 10 museums that were filled with visitors in Turkey.
Topkapı Palace was built after taking over the Istanbul by Ottoman Empire and was used as the main place of residence and ruling starting from 15th century to 19th century. After the end of monarchy, the palace was turned into a museum. Today, Topkapı Palace Museum leaves visitors fascinated with its enigmatic and vibrant history. It was the most visited museum with 3.004.620 visitors in 2018.
A part of Topkapi Palace Museum, Harem is visited with a separate ticket. Harem is the part where Ottoman Emperor lived with his family. It consists of 300 rooms, nine bathhouses, a hospital and two mosques. It was built in a way that would keep the world and curious eyes away, which makes the atmosphere even more enigmatic and enchanting.
An architectural masterpiece that witnessed the history of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia was first built by Byzantine Emperor Constantius in 4th century. After burning down two times, the Hagia Sophia we know today was completed in 537, in just 5 years. After Ottoman Empire took over Istanbul, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque. During the first years of Turkey, it has started to be used as a museum. It is the second most visited museums in Turkey with 2.922.037 visitors in 2018.
Konya Mevlana Museum was a lush garden that was gifted to Mevlana Rumi to reside. Making this place into a dervish lodge, Mevlana left an incredible legacy to Konya. Former home to whirling dervishes and Mevlana Rumi, the museum attracts a lot of foreign and local tourists, showing them a glimpse of the mystical world of the dervishes. Konya Mevlana museum was the 3rd most visited museum in 2018 with 2.817.386 people coming to visit.
This museum can be included in Cappadocia trips since it is in the north of Cappadocia, a short drive away. Hacıbektaş museum is a former dervish lodge, and the heart of bektaşi sect. The sect was found by Hacı Bektaş-i Veli in the 13th century. Today, more than 400,000 people visit this museum and learn about the traditions and order of the sect in this amazing place.
This museum consists of three parts: Museum of the Ancient Orient, Archaeology Museum and Tiled Pavilion. The first museum of Ottoman Empire, Archaeology Museum was founded in 1891 by Osman Hamdi Bey who was a archaeologist, painter and curator. The museum is mostly filled with artifacts from imperial times. It should be noted that the ticket office closes and hour before the museum itself.
St Nicholas Church and Museum is one of the main places of visit and a pilgrimage site for travelers. When St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) died in year 343, he was buried on this grounds. In 1043, the church was renovated and was reconstructed as a basilica. Since St. Nicholas is the patron saint of Russia, Tsar Nicholas I funded the restorations for this place in 1862. Nowadays, Turkish archaeologist are working on ways to keep it from deteriorating. One of the biggest events here is the St. Nick’s feast day on December 6th, especially celebrated by Russian tourists.
Ankara Republic Museum was built as the second parliament building of Turkey. After the independence war was won, this new building’s construction began. The parliement started using the building in 1924 and kept using till 1960. Today, this museum is filled with artifacts from the early years of Turkey and personal belongings of Atatürk.
Gaziantep is home to largest and most impressive mosaic museum in the world. With 1450 square meters of mosaic, Zeugma Mosaic Museum has lots to see. One of the most famous pieces is the mosaic of the Gypsy Girl. If you’d like to catch a glimpse of the ancient city of Zeugma, this is the museum for you.
Museum of Anatolian civilizations is a great place to see the ancient past of Anatolia. You can find artifacts from Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, as well as Assyrian, Hittite, Urartian and Lydian periods. The findings are presented in chronological order in the anti clockwise direction. There are items from one of the most important ancient sites Çatalhöyük. It is a great place to visit for anyone interested in archaeology and history.
Turkish and Islamic Art Museum opened in the soup kitchen building inside the Suleymaniye Mosque. In 1983, the museum moved from the soup kitchen building to Ibrahim Pasha Palace. This amazing palace is a very important part of Istanbul’s architectural and historical scene. It was presented to the Sultan Suleiman by Ibrahim Paşa, and named after the pasha. It was a place of important events such as weddings and feasts, but it also witnessed rebellions and it was even used as a prison for a while.
The museum today has an incredible collection, with forty thousand pieces of art work from almost all periods of Islamic art. There is a carpet section that holds the biggest carpet selection in the world. There are also Koran-ı Kerims from different geographies Islam has spread. The other parts include section of of wooden works, stone art section and ethnography section.