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Istanbul Archaeological MuseumTop 10

The Archaeological Museum in Istanbul is one of the most important museums in the city. The museum was founded in 1896 by the painter and archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey and Sultan Abdülhamid II. The museum is located in the Gülhane Park, within the walls of the Topkapi Palace just behind the Hagia Sofia.

History and exhibitions

The museum, built in neoclassical style, houses finds mainly from the present-day area of Turkey and the Near East. There are numerous pieces from different cultures.

The Archaeological Museum is divided into three parts: There is the Archaeological Museum proper, the Museum of Ancient Oriental Art and the Museum of Islamic Art.

Among the showpieces of the extensive collections in Istanbul is the Alexander Sarcophagus. The museum’s founder Osman Hamdi Bey found the piece during excavations in 1887, and when the museum building was constructed, the shape and structure of the sarcophagus were incorporated into the design of the exterior façade. However, the sarcophagus does not contain the remains of Alexander the Great but is only called so because of the multiple depictions of Alexander. In addition, the Sarcophagus of the Weeping Women is on display.

Different antique statues complete the extensive exhibition of the museum. When exhibiting the pieces, the chronological sequence of the sculpture art has been taken into account. Thus, pieces from the archaic to the Byzantine period can be found.

As part of the UNESCO World Documentary Heritage, the museum also houses Hittite cuneiform tablets from Bogazkale, including the Egyptian-Hittite peace treaty signed after the Battle of Kadesh. The treaty signed between the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II and the Hittite King Hattusili III is considered the oldest known peace treaty. The museum is open daily between 9am and 5pm, with Mondays being a day of rest. Tickets can be purchased up to one hour before closing time. The entrance fee is around 5 euros per person. Foreign children up to the age of 12 are admitted free of charge.


  • Monday: 09:00-19:00 h
  • Tuesday: 09:00-19:00 h
  • Wednesday: 09:00-19:00 h
  • Thursday: 09:00-19:00 h
  • Friday: 09:00-19:00 h
  • Saturday: 09:00-19:00 h
  • Sunday: 09:00-19:00 h

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