Archaeological Museum of Istanbul

Ottoman Sultan had decreed to open an Imperial Archaeological Museum.  When it opened to the public in 1891, it was the first one to feature Turkish art. Imperial decree protecting cultural goods in the Ottoman Empire enforced. Therefore many governors from the different provinces had sent in found arte-facts to the capital city. In that way the museum was able collect a great collection. Upon its 100th anniversary in 1991, the Museum received the European Council Museum Award.

The ornate Alexander Sarcophagus, once believed to be prepared for Alexander the Great. It is among the most famous pieces of ancient art in the museum. The Kadesh Treaty (1258 BC), signed between Ramses II of Egypt and Hattusili III of the Hittite Empire. It is another favorite of the visitors to see in the museum. It is the oldest known peace treaty in the world, and a giant poster of this tablet (treaty) is on the wall of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The Archaeological museum has a large collection of Turkish, Hellenistic and Roman artifacts.

The Archaeological Museums of Istanbul are the group of three buildings in the same courtyard of Topkapi Palace. It has over 1 million objects which represent almost all of the eras and civilization in Asia Minor and Middle East History. It consists of three Museums;

  • Ancient Orient and pre-Islamic period of Middle-East

It is the first building on the left after getting in to courtyard. It has quite valuable objects. Especially earliest written agreement between Egyptians and Hittites, Kadesh Treaty is in this building. Also it is possible to see the figures from Babylon Grand Gate and This building has a large collection of cuneiform from different periods of ancient time.

  • Islamic Art Museum.

Here is the second building on the left in the courtyard of Archaeological Museum. It is Tile Pavillion from 16th century. It is possible to see the finest quartz tiles from 12th to 18th centuries from Seljuk and Ottoman period. You can see the dance of sunlight on friezes and turquoise blue tiles on the walls, stain glassed windows.

  • Archaeological Museum

It is the main building in U shaped. It was the decree of Royal family as an Imperial Archaeological Museum. Most famous piece of this building is “Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great”