The Historical Museums of Istanbul

The artistic and traditional works exhibited in museums of Istanbul visualize the life styles of the Roman-Byzantine and Ottoman periods.

Most of the buildings worth to see in istanbul -such as the Topkapi Palace and Byzantine churches have been converted to museums. For instance, the name of the palace is The Topkapi Palace Museum.

We listed the museums that are “museums” according to our understanding, too.

Many of the museums are close to the other historical buildings:

The Archaeological Museum is in the First Court of the Palace, The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art is at At Meydanı (Hippodrome). You can combine a walk to these historical places with a visit to a museum. Say, you have visited The Archaeological Museum and Cinili Kosk, do not skip drinking a cup of tea in the garden next to Çinili Kosk.

The Naval Museum

This modem museum is worth to visit for the boats, caiques, and a map of America that was made in the early 16^ century by the Ottomans.

Open between 9 AM – 5 PM everyday except Monday and Thursday, Besikta§ Caddesi (Besiktas).

The Divan Literature Museum

The valuable manuscripts of famous poets are exhibited here. The more interesting part is Mevlevihane in the inner court: Costumes, musical instruments, writings of dervishes that whirled and wrote here can be seen in the domed dance salon. Mevlana dervish order was banned such as other religious orders by Ataturk in 1927. However, the order continued its existence in a semi-official manner. Mevlana Festival is still practiced in Konya in mid-Decembers on the anniversary of the death of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi; the poet, Sufi of Islam, and founder of Mevlana dervish order, who died on December 17, T273. For thousands of Muslims rushing to this city in the middle of Anatolia due to this reason, this fascinating festival is far beyond than a folkloric dance feast. Mevlana wrote “Dancing is not being easily aired like a bit of dust. Dancing is ascending over the both worlds; is splitting your heart into pieces and giving up your own soul.” The Mevlevi dance (Serna) ceremony is rich in terms of symbols. The conical caps of dervishes symbolize death, while black dresses are for coffin and white upper clothes are for the shroud. The continuous turning of dervishes as if walking in the air symbolizes the endless rotation of the planets and the seasons.

The dominant flute sound in the music accompanying the dervishes is from “ney.” Ney, symbolizes the signal that will wake up the dead on the doomsday. The visitors can watch this Sema show the second and forth Sunday of every month.

Open between 9.30 AM – 5 PM everyday except Monday, Calipdede Caddesi (Tunel).

Carpet and Kilim Museum

The valuable old carpets and kilims (woven matting) brought from Anatolian mosques are exhibited in the Hall ve Kilim Muzesi that is in Sultanahmet Mosque complex.

Open betiveen 9 AM – 5 PM everyday except Monday, Sunday Hunkar Kasn (Sultanahmet).



Art town Krems and the Wachau region are where high-value art meets a treasure of world culture.

Three girls hold one another by the hand, their faces turned inwards and completely concealed by their long black hair. The secretive sculpture by German artist Simon Schubert is part of the current exhibition at the Kunsthalle Krems. Glance upwards for a moment, andyo u see yourself being watched by nothing but children’s eyes gazing down on visitors from the portraits all around. The exhibition “Of Angels and Rascals” is devoted – as always, with highly interesting cross-references – to children’s portraits spanning four centuries, and ranging from Francisco Ignacio Ruiz de la Iglesia to Maja Vukoje.

The factory used to be where Austria Tabak made its cigarettes, but since the congenial conversion by Adolf Krischanitz was completed in 1995, what became the Kunsthalle Krems has rapidly established itself as one of the most important new exhibition spaces in Austria today. Illuminating associations spanning centuries are the norm rather than the exception here, and visitors to the exhibition in July – which fuses artists’ group Gelitin with British artist Sarah

Lucas and Hieronymus Bosch – can look forward to more of the same. Then it’s along the Art Mile for a brief look around Factory, the Kunsthalle’s window onyoung, contemporary art production, and the Forum Frohner, housed in Stein Minorite monastery, where a work by Frohner dating back to the 1960s is confronted by photos by Brassai and various pieces by graffiti artists – more curious cross-references, so it would seem. And then there’s Manfred Deix, of course: the oeuvre of the great Austrian caricaturist has been a pivotal focus of the Karikatur museum for tenyears now, along with various temporary exhibitions and the quips of Gustav Peichl, who, in his second guise as an architect, was also responsible for the flat construction of the building with its wildly enhanced roof. You have to doubt, however, whether occupants of the notorious Stein Prison, which lies just over the road, have quite as much to laugh about as visitors to the Karikatur museum.

At the other end of the Art Mile, you can walk more or less directly onto a boat; what other museum, I wonder, can boast its own direct link to Danube shipping routes? After all these cultural pleasures, then, the time has come for us to devote our energies to the jaw-dropping natural beauty of these parts. And within a few minutes, we are sliding silently along atop the waves of a surprisingly fast-flowing Danube, aboard one of the dazzlingly white excursion ships that ply the stretch of the river leading through the wonderful green hills of the Wachau.

It could all have been so different, so functional – but the hydroelectric power station that was to be built at Diirnstein in the early seventies was eventually cancelled due to the vehement objection of the local population. So we move upstream not past billowing chimneys, but by following the idyllic twists and turns of the Danube instead. We slide past the much-photographed light-blue church tower of Diirnstein monastery, the Gothic fortified church at Weifienkirchen and Schdn-biihel Castle – resplendent upon its throne of solid rock over the water, and once the imposing home to the noble families who controlled the river here in the Middle Ages. The banks of the river today are bordered by orchards, while countless rows of vineyards nestle above them in the hills in terraces that reach almost to the very top. It’s only as the impressive Melk monastery slides into view from behind the tall trees on the bank that you realise exactly why the Wachau has been a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site since 2000. Hardly any other stretch of land in Austria can boast such a heady mix of history, nature and cultural landscape.

Suddenly the ship’s captain moves up a gear, and we accelerate forwards. After turning round at Melk, the strong current takes us back downstream, only for all that natural splendour on the bank to rapidly retreat backwards, while the headwind ruffles the hairstyles of the passengers up on deck. And you wishyou could somehow take the strong breeze withyou back into the museum – perhaps it would help you reveal the secrets hidden in the faces of the three girls in the Kunsthalle.