Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, Istanbul

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, Istanbul

The Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum in Sultanahmet Square sits in a palace that has a great deal of archaeology and history attached to it. The palace was built in 1524 above the underground ruins of an ancient Hippodrome, and was designated for Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha, a confidant and second grand vizier to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who later also married the Sultan's sister, Hatice Sultan. As history has it, the higher the climb, the greater the fall. Jealous people, including the Sultan's wife, didn't like the influence Ibrahim Pasha had on the monarch and eventually convinced Suleyman in Ibrahim's disloyalty, so he had him executed.

But the palace remained and today houses a museum showcasing over 40,000 exhibits of Islamic art – primarily from the Ottoman era, but also a substantial collection from the earlier Seljuk Turkish period, including illuminated Korans, carpets, miniature paintings, notable examples of Islamic calligraphy, tiles, ceramics, rugs and wooden carvings. In the basement there are interesting ethnographic displays on various cultures of Turkey, particularly the nomadic groups, recreating dwellings from different historic epochs and regions.

Being just a stone's throw away from the tourist hot spots of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, this museum offers an enjoyable break away from the hustle and bustle of the Old Town.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Istanbul. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum on Map

Sight Name: Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum
Sight Location: Istanbul, Turkey (See walking tours in Istanbul)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Istanbul, Turkey

Create Your Own Walk in Istanbul

Create Your Own Walk in Istanbul

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Asian Side and Bosphorus Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Istanbul Shopping Guide: 16 Turkish Items To Bring Home

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Istanbul, known throughout history as Byzantium and Constantinople, has been a major center of commerce and trade, a place where merchants and general folk would rush to regularly in search of exotic things. In our days, modern travelers to Istanbul are also bound to enjoy a truly magnificent...