Istanbul Archaeology Museum

Istanbul Archaeology Museum

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The Istanbul Archaeology Museums is a group of three archeological museums located in the Eminönü
Eminönü
Eminönü is a former district of Istanbul in Turkey, now a neighbourhood of Fatih district. This is the heart of the walled city of Constantine, the focus of a history of incredible richness. Eminönü covers the point on which the Byzantine capital was built. The Galata Bridge crosses the Golden Horn...

 district of Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, near Gülhane Park
Gülhane Park
Gülhane Park is a historical urban park in the Eminönü district of Istanbul, Turkey, located adjacent to and on the grounds of the Topkapı Palace; the south entrance of the park sports one of the larger gates of the palace...

 and Topkapı Palace
Topkapi Palace
The Topkapı Palace is a large palace in Istanbul, Turkey, that was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years of their 624-year reign....

.

The Istanbul Archaeology Museums consists of three museums.
  1. Archaeological Museum (in the main building)
  2. Museum of the Ancient Orient
  3. Museum of Islamic Art (in the Tiled Kiosk
    Tiled Kiosk
    The Tiled Kiosk is a pavilion set within the outer walls of Topkapı Palace and dates from 1473. It was built by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II as a pleasure palace or kiosk. It is located in the most outer parts of the palace, next to Gülhane Park...

    ).


It houses over one million objects that represent almost all of the eras and civilizations in world history.

Background


In the 19th century efforts were in place to modernize the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, as many of the leading statesmen were exposed to Westernizing ideas through education and travel. The proposal to have an imperial museum came about because of the familiarity of several key players in the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 political scene with the Louvre
Louvre
The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. The decision to establish an imperial
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

 museum under the Education Ministry came in 1869 with the appointment of a new director, but the idea of a museum was dropped with his resignation and because of budget restraints.

As education minister in 1872, Ahmet Vefik Paşa set up a museum directorship for the second time and hired the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 historian, archaeologist, epigraphist and painter, Dr. Phillip Anton Dethier. He proved to be so successful at collecting materials that the idea of a purpose-built museum gained traction.

When Dethier died in 1881, painter
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 and archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey
Osman Hamdi Bey
Osman Hamdi Bey was an Ottoman statesman, intellectual, art expert and also a prominent and pioneering Turkish painter. He was also an accomplished archaeologist, and is considered as the pioneer of the museum curator's profession in Turkey...

 was appointed to the position that same year.

History


The site of the museums belonged to the Topkapı Palace
Topkapi Palace
The Topkapı Palace is a large palace in Istanbul, Turkey, that was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years of their 624-year reign....

 outer gardens. The museum was founded by decree as the Imperial Museum (İmparatorluk Müzesi) in 1891. It was the first museum to feature Turkish
Culture of Turkey
The culture of Turkey combines a largely diverse and heterogeneous set of elements that are derived from the Ottoman, European, Middle Eastern and Central Asian traditions...

 art . The first curator
Curator
A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution is a content specialist responsible for an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material...

 and founder of the museum was Osman Hamdi Bey
Osman Hamdi Bey
Osman Hamdi Bey was an Ottoman statesman, intellectual, art expert and also a prominent and pioneering Turkish painter. He was also an accomplished archaeologist, and is considered as the pioneer of the museum curator's profession in Turkey...

. Since an imperial decree protecting cultural goods in the Ottoman empire was enforced, many governors from the provinces would send in found artefacts to the capital city. In that way the museum was able to amass a great collection. Upon its 100th anniversary in 1991, the museum received the European Council
European Council
The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

 Museum Award, particularly for the renovations made to the lower floor halls in the main building and the new displays in the other buildings.

The construction of the main building was started by Osman Hamdi Bey
Osman Hamdi Bey
Osman Hamdi Bey was an Ottoman statesman, intellectual, art expert and also a prominent and pioneering Turkish painter. He was also an accomplished archaeologist, and is considered as the pioneer of the museum curator's profession in Turkey...

 in 1881, attaining its present neo-Greek form in 1908. The architect was Alexander Vallaury
Alexander Vallaury
Alexander Vallaury was a French-Ottoman architect, who founded architectural education and lectured in the School of Fine Arts in Constantinople , Ottoman Empire....

 (who also designed the Pera Palas Hotel in Istanbul). The facade of the building was inspired by the Alexander Sarcophagus
Alexander Sarcophagus
The Alexander Sarcophagus is a late 4th century BC stone sarcophagus adorned with bas-relief carvings of Alexander the Great. The work is remarkably well preserved and has been celebrated for its high aesthetic achievement...

 and Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women, both housed inside the Museum. It is one of the prominent structures built in the neoclassical
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

 style in Istanbul.

The Museum of the Ancient Orient was commissioned by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1883 as a fine arts school. Then it was reorganised as a museum, which opened in 1935. It was closed to visitors in 1963, and reopened in 1974 after restoration works on the interior.

The Tiled Kiosk
Tiled Kiosk
The Tiled Kiosk is a pavilion set within the outer walls of Topkapı Palace and dates from 1473. It was built by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II as a pleasure palace or kiosk. It is located in the most outer parts of the palace, next to Gülhane Park...

was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed II
Mehmed II
Mehmed II , was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from...

 in 1472. It is one of the oldest structures in Istanbul featuring Ottoman civil architecture, and was a part of the Topkapı Palace outer gardens. It was used as the Imperial Museum between 1875 and 1891 before the collection moved to the newly constructed main building. It was opened to public in 1953 as a museum of Turkish and Islamic art, and was later incorporated into the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

Hours of operation, admittance fee


The museum is open to the public from 09:00 to 17:00, with ticket sales halting an hour before closing time; tickets are 10 TL. Closed Mondays.

Collection


The ornate Alexander Sarcophagus, once believed to be prepared for Alexander the Great, is among the most famous pieces of ancient art in the museum. The Kadesh Peace Treaty
Battle of Kadesh
The Battle of Kadesh took place between the forces of the Egyptian Empire under Ramesses II and the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh on the Orontes River, in what is now the Syrian Arab Republic....

(1258 BCE), signed between Ramesses II
Ramesses II
Ramesses II , referred to as Ramesses the Great, was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire...

 of Egypt and Hattusili III
Hattusili III
Hattusili III was a king of the Hittite empire ca. 1267–1237 BC . He was the fourth and last son of Mursili II...

 of the Hittite Empire, is a favourite of visitors. It is the oldest known peace treaty in the world, and a giant poster of this tablets containing the treaty is on the wall of the United Nations Headquarters
United Nations headquarters
The headquarters of the United Nations is a complex in New York City. The complex has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1952. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

.

The museum has a large collection of Turkish
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

, Hellenistic
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 and Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 artifacts. The most prominent artifacts exhibited in the museum include:
  • Alexander Sarcophagus
    Alexander Sarcophagus
    The Alexander Sarcophagus is a late 4th century BC stone sarcophagus adorned with bas-relief carvings of Alexander the Great. The work is remarkably well preserved and has been celebrated for its high aesthetic achievement...

    , found in the necropolis of Sidon
    Sidon
    Sidon or Saïda is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate of Lebanon, on the Mediterranean coast, about 40 km north of Tyre and 40 km south of the capital Beirut. In Genesis, Sidon is the son of Canaan the grandson of Noah...

  • Sarcophagus
    Sarcophagus
    A sarcophagus is a funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved or cut from stone. The word "sarcophagus" comes from the Greek σαρξ sarx meaning "flesh", and φαγειν phagein meaning "to eat", hence sarkophagus means "flesh-eating"; from the phrase lithos sarkophagos...

     of the Crying Women, also found in Sidon
  • Sarcophagi of Tabnit and the Satrap
    Satrap
    Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sassanid Empire and the Hellenistic empires....

  • The Lycia
    Lycia
    Lycia Lycian: Trm̃mis; ) was a region in Anatolia in what are now the provinces of Antalya and Muğla on the southern coast of Turkey. It was a federation of ancient cities in the region and later a province of the Roman Empire...

    n tomb, a monumental tomb
  • Glazed tile images from the Ishtar Gate
    Ishtar Gate
    The Ishtar Gate was the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon. It was constructed in about 575 BC by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II on the north side of the city....

     of Babylon
    Babylon
    Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

  • Statues from ancient antiquity until the end of the Roman Era, from Aphrodisias
    Aphrodisias
    Aphrodisias was a small city in Caria, on the southwest coast of Asia Minor. Its site is located near the modern village of Geyre, Turkey, about 230 km from İzmir....

    , Ephesus
    Ephesus
    Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

     and Miletus
    Miletus
    Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia , near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria...

  • Statue of an Ephebos
    Ephebos
    Ephebos , also anglicised as ephebe or archaically ephebus , is a Greek word for an adolescent age group or a social status reserved for that age in Antiquity....

  • Parts of statues from the Temple of Zeus
    Pergamon Altar
    The Pergamon Altar is a monumental construction built during the reign of King Eumenes II in the first half of the 2nd century BC on one of the terraces of the acropolis of the ancient city of Pergamon in Asia Minor....

     found at Bergama

  • Statue of a lion, the only piece saved from the hands of British
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

     archaeologists in the Mausoleum of Maussollos
    Mausoleum of Maussollos
    The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC at Halicarnassus for Mausolus, a satrap in the Persian Empire, and Artemisia II of Caria, his wife and sister....

  • Snake's head from the Serpentine Column erected in the Hippodrome of Constantinople
    Hippodrome of Constantinople
    The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a circus that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydanı in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with only a few fragments of the original structure surviving...

  • Mother-Goddess Cybele
    Cybele
    Cybele , was a Phrygian form of the Earth Mother or Great Mother. As with Greek Gaia , her Minoan equivalent Rhea and some aspects of Demeter, Cybele embodies the fertile Earth...

     and votive stelai
  • Busts of Alexander the Great and Zeus
    Zeus
    In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

  • Fragments from the temple of Athena
    Athena
    In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

     at Assos
    Assos
    Assos , also known as Behramkale or for short Behram, is a small historically rich town in the Ayvacık district of the Çanakkale Province, Turkey....

  • The Troy
    Troy
    Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

     exhibit
  • 800,000 Ottoman
    Ottoman Empire
    The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

     coins, seals, decorations and medals
  • One of the three known tablets of the Treaty of Kadesh
    Battle of Kadesh
    The Battle of Kadesh took place between the forces of the Egyptian Empire under Ramesses II and the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh on the Orontes River, in what is now the Syrian Arab Republic....

    .
  • The obelisk of the Assyria
    Assyria
    Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

    n king Adad-nirari III
    Adad-nirari III
    Adad-nirari III was King of Assyria from 811 to 783 BC. He was the son and successor of Shamshi-Adad V, and was apparently quite young at the time of his accession, because for the first five years of his reign his mother Shammuramat acted as regent, which may have given rise to the legend of...

  • Tablet archive containing some 75,000 documents with cuneiform
    Cuneiform
    Cuneiform can refer to:*Cuneiform script, an ancient writing system originating in Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium BC*Cuneiform , three bones in the human foot*Cuneiform Records, a music record label...

     inscriptions
  • Artifacts from the early civilizations of Anatolia
    Anatolia
    Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

    , Mesopotamia
    Mesopotamia
    Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

    , Arabia and Egypt
    Egypt
    Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

  • Siloam inscription
    Siloam inscription
    The Siloam inscription or Silwan inscription is a passage of inscribed text found in the Hezekiah tunnel which brings water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam, located in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. The inscription records the construction of the tunnel in the 8th century...

    , which made headlines in July 2007 when Israel asked for its return

See also

  • Istanbul Mosaic Museum
    Istanbul Mosaic Museum
    The Great Palace Mosaic Museum , is located close to Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey, at Arasta Bazaar. The museum houses mosaics from the Byzantine period, unearthed at the site of the Great Palace of Constantinople.-History of the site:...

  • Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
    Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
    The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is located on the south side of Ankara Castle in the Atpazarı area in Ankara, Turkey. It consists of the old Ottoman Mahmut Paşa bazaar storage building, and the Kurşunlu Han...

  • Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum
    Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum
    The Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum is a museum located in Sultanahmet Square in Eminönü district of Istanbul, Turkey. Constructed in 1524, the building was formerly the palace of İbrahim Pasha, who was the first grand vizier to Suleiman the Magnificent....


External links