Must-Visit Museums in Istanbul

Here is the list of 15 Museums in Istanbul

1. Istanbul Toy Museum

Istanbul Toy Museum

The Istanbul Toy Museum or İstanbul Oyuncak Müzesi is a toy museum located in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul, Turkey in a former historical mansion. Established in 2005 by the Turkish poet and author Sunay Akın, the museum houses over 4,000 toys from Turkey and more than 40 other countries, many of which date back to the 1700s and were bought at antique shops and auctions.

2. Rahmi M Koc Museum

Rahmi M Koc Museum

Situated on the northern shore of the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey, the Rahmi M. Koc Museum is a private industrial museum dedicated to communication and transportation items. It houses the private collection of Rahmi M. Koç, a member of Turkey’s wealthiest dynasty and a prestigious conglomerate.

3. Museum of Great Palace Mosaics

Museum of Great Palace Mosaics
3.8 /5

Museum of Great Palace Mosaics, also known as Istanbul Mosaic Museum, is an exquisite mosaics museum located in the heart of Sultanahmet Square at Arasta Bazaar. The mosaics displayed here date from 450-550 AD and depict everyday life, nature and mythology.

4. Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art is an art museum situated in the Fatih district’s Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey. Located in the former palace of Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha, it is Turkey’s first museum to feature both Turkish and Islamic art together. The museum is filled with collections of manuscripts and inscriptions in calligraphy, Islamic paintings, traditional handwoven and detailed fabrics, and ancient artefacts. It is also famous for the best rug collection in the world, with some being rare 13th-century Seljuk carpets.

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5. Museum of Innocence

Museum of Innocence

Museum of Innocence is a 19th-century house converted into a museum based on the famous novel Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk. It is located in the Çukurcuma neighbourhood of the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul. Just like the novel was based on the life of two Istanbul families, the Museum of Innocence offers a glimpse into the upper-class family life of Istanbul from the 1970s. It entirely recreates the novel and houses a collection which corresponds to the 83 chapters of the novel, presenting what the characters wore, used, collected, saw and heard in the novel. The Museum of Innocence can be enjoyed irrespective of whether you have read the novel.

6. Panorama 1453 History Museum

Panorama 1453 History Museum
4.0 /5

Panorama 1453 History Museum is a historical museum located in the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul. It is the world’s first fully panoramic museum known for Cyclorama, a 360° painting exhibited in the museum. It is made up of 10,000 figure drawings which give a 3D experience to visitors standing in the middle of the viewing platform.

7. Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace
4.6 /5

The Topkapi Palace is a majestic building which served as the main residence of the Ottoman emperors for nearly 400 years. Today it serves as one of the most important museums in Istanbul. It contains some of the rarest items in the world. Though the complex has several hundred rooms, halls and chambers, only the most significant of them are open to the public.

8. Madame Tussauds Istanbul

Madame Tussauds Istanbul
4.0 /5

Madame Tussauds Istanbul is a museum chain for wax replicas of historic icons & celebrities located on İstiklal Caddesi (the Independence Avenue). There are nearly 60 figures of well-known celebrities, including statues of Suleiman the Magnificent, Muhammad Ali, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, Leonardo Da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Ronaldo, Neymar, Beren Saat, and more.

9. Galata Mevlevi House

Galata Mevlevi House

Located in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, the Galata Mevlevi House is a former dervish tekke (lodge). It has been converted into a museum on the Mevlevi Sufi Islam sect and is home to a wide variety of artefacts pertaining to the Mevlevi culture. Some of the items to see here are musical instruments, Turkish calligraphic art items, clothing items, ceremonial accessories and others which are related to the whirling dervishes.

10. Istanbul Modern Art Museum

Istanbul Modern Art Museum

Istanbul Modern Art Museum, commonly known as just Istanbul Museum, is temporarily located in the Beyoǧlu district while the new building in Karaköy undergoes construction. It is an artist’s paradise and Turkey's first modern and contemporary art museum.

11. Pelit Chocolate Museum

Pelit Chocolate Museum
4.0 /5

The Pelit Chocolate Museum in Esenyurt, Istanbul conjures images of childhood tales of Hansel and Gretel. This is the only chocolate museum in Turkey! Located near the Pelit Chocolate Factory all items on display here are created from chocolate. This includes an entire village, animals, mosaic paintings or human figures depicting a shoemaker, chestnut seller, fruit seller, and more, all made using chocolate in different forms and colors.

12. Pera Museum

Pera Museum

Pera Museum is w well-known private art museum located in Beyoğlu district’s Tepebaşı quarter in Istanbul, Turkey, the Pera Museum. It was founded by the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation and is most popular for its focus on Orientalism in 19th-century art. The museum is housed in a beautiful 19th-century building that was once the historic Bristol hotel.

13. Tiled Pavilion Museum

Tiled Pavilion Museum

The Tiled Kiosk Museum or Glazed Kiosk is located within the outer walls of the Topkapı Palace near Gülhane Park in Istanbul, Turkey. It is a museum that is currently home to about 2,000 artefacts including tiles and ceramicware from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods, divided into 6 rooms. It is the oldest of the 3 museums within the Istanbul Archaeological Museum complex.

14. Chora Museum

Chora Museum

Chora Museum, also known as Kariye Museum, is located in Edirnekapı neighbourhood of Istanbul. It is popular as one of the most beautiful Byzantine churches of the 16th-century which was converted into a mosque and finally a museum in 1948. The interior of the building is covered in stunning mosaics depicting the life of Christ and Mary. These mosaics can be followed like a graphic novel. For many, the importance of the Chora Museum is as great as Hagia Sophia. The best way to get to this part of town is to catch the Golden Horn ferry from Karaköy.

15. Ural Ataman Classic Car Museum

Ural Ataman Classic Car Museum
4.0 /5

Ural Ataman Classic Car Museum is a private vintage-car museum located in the Sarıyer district of Istanbul. It houses over 60 classic cars, trucks and motorcycles from the 1920s to the 1970s. Some of the famous ones here are a 1952 Jaguar XK120 Roadster, a 1954 Chevrolet Corvette, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, a 1955 Ford Thunderbird Convertible, and a 1960 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II.

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