Istanbul Archaeology Museum (Turkish: İstanbul
established in 1881, is one of the largest and most famous
of its kind in the world. The museum houses over one million
archaeological objects that represent almost all of the eras and
civilizations in world history, i.e., the Mediterranean basin, the Balkans, the
Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.
The extremely ornate
Alexander Sarcophagus, believed to be prepared for Alexander the
Great, is among the most famous pieces of ancient art in the museum.
The Kadesh Peace Treaty (1258 BCE), signed between Ramesses II of
Egypt and Hattusili III of the Hittite Empire, is another favourite
of the visitors. 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 of
Istanbul is located in the Eminönü district of Istanbul, Turkey,
near Gülhane Park and Topkapı Palace. The Istanbul Archaeology
Museum actually consists of three museums:
- the main Archaeology
- the Old Eastern Works
- the Enameled Kiosk
The construction of the Main building was
started by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1881, attaining its present form in 1908. The
architect was Alexander Vallaury. The façade of the building was inspired by the
Alexander Sarcophagus and Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women, both housed inside
the Museum. It is one of the prominent structures built in the neoclassical
style in Istanbul.
The Ancient Eastern Works Museum was
commissioned by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1883 as a Fine Arts School. Then it was
re-organized as a museum and opened in 1935. It was closed to visitors in 1963,
and reopened in 1974 after restoration works on the interior.
The Enameled Kiosk Museum was commissioned by
Mehmed II the Conqueror in 1472. It is one of the oldest structures in Istanbul
featuring Ottoman civil architecture. It was used as the Imperial Museum between
1875 and 1891. It was opened to public in 1953 as a museum of Turkish and
Islamic art, and was later incorporated into the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.
When the Museum opened to the public in 1891,
it was the first Museum to feature Turkish art. The first curator was Osman
Hamdi Bey, who was also the founder of the museum. It was among the 10 important
buildings in the world in the late 19th century. Upon its 100th anniversary in
1991, the Museum received the European Council Museum Award, particularly for
the renovations made to the lower floor halls in the Main Building and the new
displays in the other buildings.
Archaeology Museum Photos
The museum has a fantastic collection of
Greek, Hellenistic and Roman artifacts, including the famed Alexander
Sarcophagus. The most prominent artifacts exhibited in the museum include:
- Alexander Sarcophagus,
found in the the necropolis of Sidon.
- Sarcophagus of the
Crying Women, also found in Sidon.
- Sarcophagi of Tabnit
and the Satrap.
- The Lycian tomb, a
- Statues from ancient
times until the end of the Roman era, from Aphrodisias, Ephesus and Miletus.
- Statue of an Ephebos.
- Parts of statues from
the Temple of Zeus found at Bergama.
- Statue of a lion, the
only piece saved from the hands of British archaeologists in the Mausoleum
- Snake's head from the
Serpentine Column erected in the Hippodrome.
- Mother-Goddess Cybele
and votive stelai.
- Busts of Alexander the
Great and Zeus.
- Fragments from the
temple of Athena at Assos.
- The Troy exhibit.
- 800.000 Ottoman coins,
seals, decorations and medals.
- One of the three known
tablets of the Treaty of Kadesh.
- The obelisk of the
Assyrian king Adad-nirari III.
- Tablet archive
containing some 75.000 documents with cuneiform inscriptions.
- Artifacts from the
early civilizations of Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Arabia and Egypt.
- Siloam inscription