Istanbul is a crossroad for many civilizations and people from all nations. Serving as the bridge between Asia and Europe for centuries it accumulated a lot to exhibit, today most important relics are displayed in most astonishing monuments of city. In this article we will present you most impressive museums of Istanbul with collections from all around Anatolia, Middle East, Europe and Balkan countries. Serving as capital not only for Byzantine but also for Ottoman it was the treasure chest of two thousand years for a crowd of emperors, sultans and elegant people.
With more than 55 museums there is a long list of museums in Istanbul to visit however here we give you basic information regarding only the most popular ones. In our following article we will present a full list of Istanbul museums to visitors.
Hagia Sophia Museum is the most well known symbol of Istanbul, serving as church for more than a thousand years and mosque approximately six hundred years after conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by Sultan Mehmet II. It’d been the building with the largest dome built with order of emperor and adorned with mosaics desribing scenes from Christian history, it was home of believers as home of God. Hagia Sophia is the most visited museum of Istanbul by locals and foreigners, please remember that it’s closed to visit on Mondays.
Topkapi Palace Museum was built after conquest of Istanbul as a sign of new empire and symbol of power of Ottoman. Expansion of the building kept going for centuries according to the needs of Sultan and palace community. Serving as the administrative government house and residence of Sultan family. Contaning various pavillions, rooms, gardens and courtyards it’s around 600,000 m’ and named as New Palace previously, then as Topkapi meaning ‘Cannon Gate’ however most known part of palace is Harem which was inhabited by female members of Sultan family. Sacred Relics are the most important part of palace for Muslim visitors for pilgrimage purposes. Please remember that it’s closed to visit on Tuesdays.
Dolmabahce Palace Museum was the second imperial residence of Ottoman family and house of reign built for purposes of Ottoman Renaissance as symbol of renewal by the Bosphorus Strait. Architect family of Balyan was responsible for the construction of the modern palace. It’s believed that 35 tonnes of gold was spent for the construction (equal to 1,5 billion USD today). After collapse of Ottoman empire palace was listed as a heritage of new Turkish Republic and served as presidential residence. Ataturk spent his last days and died in this palace on November 10, 1938 so every year this day is extremely crowded to visit palace. Please remember that it’s closed to visit on Mondays.
Basilica Cistern Museum is situated just next to Hagia Sophia Museum in historical peninsula and built by order of Emperor Justinian as water storage for citizens of Byzantine capital. Total size of cistern is about 10,000 m³ and 336 columns hold the ceiling built by water resisting cement. Source of water was Belgrad Forest and brought through Valens Aquaduct. Today the most well known part of cistern is Medusa Head which was believed to be protector of water from evils.
Apart from museums there are many important monuments describing Istanbul such as Blue Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar. These are domes of Istanbul city apart from Istanbul museums however these can be described as open air musuems in Istanbul because these are built for the ordinary people of city which served to the Sultan and contributed to wealth of reign to built palaces, mosques and churches which named after them. Today you can see Blue Mosque constructed as a rival to Hagia Sophia, or visit Suleymaniye Mosque as symbol of strongest sultan onto the highest hill of city to make him immortal.
Your tour guide in Istanbul can explain you all these monuments in detail as they are all expert in their field with constant researches. Please feel free to contact our team for assistance in your next trip to Istanbul.