Istanbul Archaeological Museums was the first institution in Turkey to be organized and arranged as a museum. Housing various artifacts from civilizations from different and distinct periods of history, Istanbul Archaeological Museums counts as one of the ten most important world-class museums. Besides the institution’s spectacular collections, the architectural features of its buildings and its garden are also of historical and natural importance. The museums are housed in three buildings;
The Ancient Orient Museum
|Lions of the Ishtar Gate|
The Ancient Orient Museum is home to pre-Islamic Arabian art, the Egypt Collection, the Mesopotamia Collection, the Anatolia Collection, the Urartu Collection, and Cuneiform documents—all arranged according to region. The Arabian Peninsula, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Anatolian cultures are presented in historical order. Most of the artifacts were discovered during archaeological excavations carried out between the late 19th century and the World War I, and were brought to Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, then ruler of those countries and regions. The Ancient Orient Museum boasts unique artifacts, such as the stele of Akkadian King Naram-Suen, the Treaty of Kadesh, and the Ishtar Gate. The museum also safeguards a tablet archive containing 75,000 cuneiform documents.
The Archaeological Museum
On the ground floor of the Archaeological Museum rest sculptures from ancient ages up to the Roman era, together with world-famous, unique artifacts, such as the Alexander Sarcophagus and the Sarcophagus of Crying Women. The ground floor also hosts the “Children’s Museum” exhibition. The “Surrounding Cultures of Istanbul” section, which was opened in the cellar of the new building, features artifacts from various ages found in excavations from nearby archaeological sites and tumuli. It includes the Thrace-Bithynia and the Byzantium sub-sections.The “Istanbul through the Ages” collection is exhibited on the first floor of the new building, the “Anatolia and Troy through the Ages” collection on the second floor, and the “Surrounding Cultures of Anatolia: Artifacts from Syria, Palestine and Cyprus” collection on the third floor. All are presented in chronological order.
The Tiled Kiosk Museum
|The Tiled Kiosk Museum|
The Tiled Kiosk Museum’s collections consist of around 2,000 artifacts belonging to the Seljuk and Ottoman eras, dating from the 11th to the 20th centuries. These artifacts include those from before the museum was incorporated under the umbrella of Istanbul Archaeological Museums and those acquired through excavations, purchases, donations, and confiscations.