Museums in Istanbul: Breathtaking Spaces of History

Fascinating with every feature it has, Istanbul is also a city of culture and art. The museums in Istanbul do not just open the dusty pages of history. It also offers us contemporary and unique works of art.

1) Harbiye Military Museum

Museums in Istanbul: Breathtaking Spaces of History

We start our list of museums in Istanbul with the Harbiye Military Museum. This place is in Istanbul Sisli. It serves under the Military Museum and Cultural Site Command.

The exhibits here have survived since the 1400s. It also contains more than 5000 objects such as weapons, shields, armor and helmets.

There are also halls in the Harbiye Military Museum designed to exhibit important events in Turkish history such as the First World War, the Dardanelles War and the War of Independence.

There is also an “Atatürk Hall” here. Here you can watch the performance of the Military Band of the Military Museum!

Entry fee: 6 TL / Free for students

Visiting hours: 09:00 – 16:30

Days closed to visitors: Monday and Tuesday

Entrance with Müzekart: NONE.

2) Hagia Sophia

Museums in Istanbul: Breathtaking Spaces of History

Hagia Sophia was first built as a church in 916. Later, in 1453, it was converted into a mosque by Fatih Sultan Mehmed with the conquest of Istanbul. It was used as a mosque for 482 years.

With the order of Atatürk and the decision of the Council of Ministers, it started to serve the public as a museum in 1935. However, in 2020, it was converted into a mosque again with the decision of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and opened to the worship of Muslims.

Entry Fee: 72 TL / Free for students, young people under 18, people over 65, disabled, soldiers and veterans

Visiting hours: 09:00 – 19:00

Days when it is closed to visitors: It is closed until 13:00 on the first day of religious holidays.

Entrance with Müzekart: EXISTS.

3) Beylerbeyi Palace

Museums in Istanbul: Breathtaking Spaces of History

It was built at the request of Sultan Abdulaziz. It was conceived as a state guesthouse to host foreign heads of state or monarchs.

The construction of Beylerbeyi Palace started in 1863 and lasted until 1865.

In addition, sea and ship themes were embroidered into some frames and cartridges on the ceilings of the palace, due to Sultan Abdulaziz’s passion for the sea, who had the Beylerbeyi Palace built.

There are additional buildings in Beylerbeyi Palace. These are: Sea Mansions, Set Gardens, Marble Mansion, Yellow Mansion and Has Ahır Mansion.

Entry Fee: Full 40 TL / Discounted 20 TL

Visiting hours: 09:00 – 17:00

Day when it is closed to visitors: Monday

Entrance with Müzekart: NONE.

4) Dolmabahce Palace

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It is established on an area of approximately 110,000 square meters. The construction of Dolmabahçe Palace, which was built by Sultan Abdülmecid, started in 1843. Its opening year is 1856. Dolmabahçe Palace hosted a total of six sultans and the last Ottoman Caliph Abdülmecid Efendi from 1856 to 1924.

After the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, it was used as the Presidency between 1927-1949. In addition, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk used this place in his works in Istanbul between 1927-1938 and died here on November 10, 1938.

Since 1984, it has been opened to visitors as a museum and palace.

Dolmabahçe Palace consists of the Selamlik Section, the Room where Atatürk died, the Muayede Hall and the Harem.

Entrance fee: Harem full ticket 40 TL / Selamlık full ticket 50 TL (Harem + Selamlık full ticket 80 TL)

Visiting hours: 09:00 – 18:00

Day when it is closed to visitors: Monday

Entrance with Müzekart: EXISTS. (Only valid in the Harem section of Dolmabahçe.)

5) Galata Mevlevi Lodge

museums in Istanbul

We continue our list of museums in Istanbul with one of the most beautiful baroque architecture, Galata Mevlevihanesi.

Galata Mevlevihanesi, in 1765 II. It was destroyed in the Tophane fire during the Mustafa period and was rebuilt within a year and put into service. Afterwards, Sultan III. Selim, II. It underwent major repairs during the reigns of Mahmud and Sultan Abdulmecid.

Galata Mevlevihanesi, which was used as a primary school and lodging for a while after the closure of lodges and zaviyes in 1925, started to be used as a museum with the arrangement that took place in 1967-1975.

It has been serving as a museum since 1975.

Calligraphy plates of the period, musical instruments and items belonging to Mevlevi culture are exhibited in the museum. In addition, Sema performances are held around 17:00 on the last Sunday evening of every month.

Entry fee: 25 TL

Visiting hours: Summer (1 April – 1 October) 09:00 – 19:30 / Winter (1 October – 1 April) 09:00 – 17:30

Day when it is closed to visitors: Monday

6) Topkapi Palace Museum

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Topkapi Palace, which comes to mind first when it comes to museums in Istanbul, was built between 1440 and 1478 by the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmed. During this time, it was used as the residence of the sultans for 350 years. It was converted into a museum in 1924 after the founding of the Republic of Turkey.

It contains the best examples of sacred relics, treasures, seals, book binding, jewelery and box craftsmanship, as well as inscriptions.

There are three main gates in Topkapi Palace: the Imperial Gate, the Greeting Gate and the Happiness Gate.

Entry Fee: Topkapi Palace + Hagia Irene 60 TL / Harem 40 TL (Topkapi Palace + Hagia Eirene + Harem 90 TL)

Visiting hours: 09:00 – 18:00

Day when it is closed to visitors: Tuesday

Entrance with Müzekart: EXISTS. (But not in Hagia Irene and Harem.)

7) Miniaturk Museum

museums in Istanbul


It is an open-air museum where miniature models of important works and works of cities and countries are exhibited. Established on an area of 60,000 square meters, this museum holds the title of the world’s largest miniature museum.

It is home to many works such as the Çanakkale Victory Monument, Safranbolu Houses, Mostar Bridge, and Sultanahmet. There are also two small museums called Istanbul Kristal and Panorama Victory Museum.

Entry fee: Full 10 TL / Student – teacher – military personnel 5 TL

Visiting hours: 09:00 – 19:00

Day when it is closed to visitors: First day of religious holidays

Entrance with Müzekart: EXISTS.

8) Basilica Cistern

Museums in Istanbul: Breathtaking Spaces of History

It is a museum located near the Sultanahmet square. It was built for the underground water tank for the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.

After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, the cistern was used for a while to meet the water needs of the Topkapı Palace gardens. Later, when the need was no longer needed, the cistern tended to be forgotten.

The cistern was rediscovered and unearthed by a traveler doing research on Byzantine ruins.

Museums in Istanbul: Breathtaking Spaces of History

An example of the aforementioned Medusa heads

There are many rumors about the heads of Medusa in the cistern. For example, according to a rumor, since everyone who looks at Medusa turns into stone, the heads of Medusa in the Cistern stand against the column bases.

Entry fee: 15 TL for local visitors – 5 TL for students and teachers / 30 TL for foreign visitors

Visiting hours: 09:00 – 18:30

Days when it is closed to visitors: It is closed on public holidays and the first days of religious holidays.

Entry with Müzekart: NONE.

9) Rahmi M. Koç Museum

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Located on the shores of the Golden Horn, this museum, which is a part of the Rahmi M. Foundation; It is dedicated to the history of transport, industry and communication. It also consists of three main sections, namely the Open Air Exhibition Area, the Historical Hasköy Shipyard and the Mustafa V. Koç Building.

Many life-size transportation vehicles are exhibited in the museum. The main works you can see are: Atatürk collection, road transport, aviation, communication tools, scientific instruments, aviation and more.

Entrance fee: 28 TL full / student 12 TL (Submarine full 14 TL / student 10 TL, boat tour full 14 TL / student 10 TL)

Visiting hours: Wednesday – Friday: 10:00 – 17:30, Saturday – Sunday: 10:00 – 19:00

Days closed to visitors: Monday. It is also closed on the eve and first days of religious holidays. In addition, it is closed to visitors on 31 December and 1 January every year.

10) Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

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We conclude our list of museums in Istanbul with a modern museum.

It was established in 2004 as Turkey’s first contemporary and modern art museum. In the main collection and temporary exhibitions at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Arts, there are beautiful and different works that have shaped Turkish modern art from the beginning of the 20th century to the present.

It should also be noted: The majority of the works exhibited in the museum consist of the private collection of the Eczacıbaşı family, the founder of the museum.

Entry Fee: 36 TL Full / 21 TL Discounted (30 TL for groups of 10 or more) plus 72 TL for international visitors

Visiting hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 – 18:00, Sunday: 11:00 – 18:00

Days closed to visitors: Monday. It is also closed on the first day of religious holidays and the first day of the new year.


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Kategoriler: Culture, History

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