At the Topkapi Palace, we don’t have to queue for tickets as we hold the Museum Tickets. At the gate we need to queue for our bags to be scan by the machine and search by guards. Once through the gates we decided not to visit Topkapi Palace first due to lot of tourists headed there.
We headed to the Instanbul Archaeological Museum. This superb museum showcase archaeological and artistic treasures from the Topkapi collections. Housed in 3 buildings, it exhibits include ancient artifacts, classical statures and exhibition of Istanbul’s history. The main museum which are three levels high and it is still under construction.
The complex has three main parts the Archaeology Museum, The Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Tiled Pavilion. These museums house the palace collections formed during the late 19th century by museum director, artist and archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey.
Museum of the Ancient Orient
This 1883 building has a collection of pre islamic collections from the Ottoman Empire. Series of large blue and yellow glazed brick panels once lined the processional street of Ishtar gate of ancient Babylon.
The neoclassical building housing extensive collection of classical statue and a sprawling exhibit documenting Istanbul history. The main draws are two dimly lit rooms contain the museum’s major treasures – sarcophagi from the Royal Necropolis of Sidon and surrounding area. the Alexander Sarcophagus and Mourning Women sarcophagus are truly extraordinary work of arts.It also contain Lycian monuments and Anatolan architecture from antiquity.
The last museum buildings is the beautiful pavilion, constructed in 1472 by Mehmet the Conqueror. The portico with its 14 marble columns, was constructed during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid (1774 -89).
The display are Seljuk, Anatollan and Ottoman tiles and ceramics dating from the end of 12th century and beginning of 20th century. The collections includes Iznik tiles from mid 14th and 17th centuries when the city produced the finest colored tiles in the world.
We spend about 3 hours at these museum as I am interested in the sculptures and there are English and Turkish notes on each piece or relic. Even with the ongoing construction works on the museums and was awe by the vast collections of historical collections stored in here.
I will totally recommend this place is a must see if you happen to be at Topkapi Palace, if you do not posses the Museum Card the entrance fee is 12 Lira which is a good value for money.