The top 15 must visit Istanbul museums

Museums In Istanbul

Museums In Istanbul


In terms of history, culture, and art, Istanbul might be described as one of the best cities in the entire globe. Istanbul is home to more than 80 museums, including thematic museums, historical, contemporary, and fine art museums.

You may find the most popular and significant museums on our list below, including those that were formerly a palace, cathedral, mosque, or those that are dedicated to history, famous painters, contemporary, fine, and modern art, photography, or temporary and permanent exhibitions.

Tips and Advice

  • Most of the museums in Istanbul are open six days a week.
  • On Mondays, the majority of them are closed.
  • Some of the most popular museums are closed one day (usually during the week) of the week, and some have later opening and closing times on the weekends.
  • During the winter season, several attractions might open later or close sooner.

Top 15 Must Visit Istanbul Museums

Many of Istanbul's top museums are located in the old city of Istanbul and in the Sultanahmet area specifically.

Below we provide you with the top museums in Istanbul to visit.

1- Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque (formerly museum)

Experience the history of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires at this mosque that was formerly a church and museum. It is considered to be one of the world's greatest architectural feats and the eighth wonder of the world.

There is no entrance fee at Hagia Sophia because it is currently used as a mosque.

For the best deal, we suggest the tickets listed below. Visitors to our website will receive an additional 5% discount.

Museum location: Sultanahmet.

2- Topkapi Palace Museum

One of the greatest architectural feats and richest museums in the world, the ancient home of the Ottoman rulers features four courtyards, terraces with breathtaking views, as well as priceless artifacts. It is also one of the most popular tourist destinations.

Museum location: Sultanahmet.

3- Basilica Cistern Museum

one of the city's most magnificent and ethereal structures. Visitors are mainly interested in and drawn to the two Medusa Heads that serve as supports underneath the two columns at the northwest corner of the cistern.

Museum location: Sultanahmet.

4- Istanbul Archaeology Museums

One of the richest archaeology museums in the world, it consists of three museums (the Museum of Archaeology, the Ancient Orient, and the Tiled Pavillion) on one location. The collection includes prehistoric, Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman antiquities, sculptures, and sarcophagi.

Museum location: Sultanahmet.

5- Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

Displays illuminated Qurans, miniatures, old carpets, and more in the Ibrahim Pasha Palace.

Museum location: Sultanahmet.

6- Great Palace Mosaics Museum

a museum of modern and contemporary art, galleries for ongoing and one-time exhibitions, a photographic gallery, a restaurant, a movie theater, and a library.

Museum location: Sultanahmet

7- Dolmabahce Palace Museum

On Besiktas side of the Bosphorus, one of the most magnificent palaces may be found. The palace complex as a whole is breathtaking. Over 50,000 items are kept in the palace's several rooms. The palace's interior, which was styled after opulent European palaces, depicts the grandeur of the time.

Museum location: Kabatas-Besiktas.

8- Miniaturk (Miniature Turkey Museum)

A wonderful outdoor museum that displays the best Turkish sights and architectural structures in small form. You will witness prominent sights and monuments in Turkey in tiny, scaled down to 1/25 of their actual sizes. Istanbul Crystal Museum and Panorama Victory Museum are also housed in the museum.

Museum location: Sutluce, Golden Horn.

9- Naval Museum

a collection of more than 20,000 items pertaining to the maritime history of Turkey. The boats of the decorated Ottoman Sultans attract the most attention.

Museum location: Besiktas

10- Private Sadberk Hanim Museum

The first private museum in Turkey, including the personal possessions of Sadberk Koc, the prominent Turkish businessman Vehbi Koc's wife. The museum is divided into two sections and hosts exhibitions of more than 20,000 pieces of Turkish and Islamic antiques as well as archaeological objects from various historical periods.

Museum location: Sariyer

11- Chora Mosque (formerly Museum)

One of Istanbul's most impressive museums is the Chora (Kariye) Museum, which was once known as the Church-Mosque and is a portion of a monastery that dates back to the sixth century. It contains stunning instances of Islamic symbolism as well as Byzantine mosaics and frescoes. Before becoming a mosque in 2020, Chora was a museum.

Museum location: Edirnekapi.

12- Private Pera Museum 

A private museum that offers educational programs, temporary exhibitions, publications, audio-visual events, and permanent collections of Kutahya tiles and ceramics, Anatolian weights and measures, and orientalist paintings.

Museum location: Taksim

13- Istanbul Modern Art Museum

A museum of modern and contemporary art, galleries for ongoing and one-time exhibitions, a photographic gallery, a restaurant, a movie theater, and a library.

Museum location: Beyoglu.

14- Private Sakip Sabancı Fine Arts Museum 

Ottoman calligraphy art, religious and official documents, paintings from the Ottoman era, stone and archeological artifacts, furniture, and decorative arts are all featured in this private museum of fine arts.

Museum location: Emirgan.

15- Private Rahmi M. Koc Transport Museum 

A science and technology museum with a collection of machinery, old cars, locomotives, and submarines is housed in a former anchor foundry.

Museum location: Haskoy, Golden Horn

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