Founded as the Imperial Museum by the famous painter and museum artist Osman Hamdi Bey in the late 19th century, the Istanbul Archeology Museum is regarded as one of the world’s greatest museums, with more than a million artifacts from various cultures. The collections of the museum include works belonging to the civilizations of the Ottoman Empire, from the Balkans to Africa, from Anatolia and Mesopotamia to the Arabian Peninsula and Afghanistan. The works exhibiting the development of sculpture art from the Archaic Period to the Byzantine Period can be followed in chronological order. On the top floor of the main building are small stone works, pottery, terracotta figurines, treasury department, 80,000 coins, seals, engagements and medals.
Istanbul Archeology Museum consists of three museums; The Museum of Archeology, the Museum of Ancient Oriental Art, and the Chinese Pavilion Museum.
It was started to be built by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1981, and its present situation came up with the additions of 1902 and 1908. The architect was Alexadre Vallaury. The exterior of the building was inspired by the sarcophagus of Alexander Lahti and the Crying Women. It is a good example of neoclassical structures in Istanbul.
On the top floor of the two-story building is a collection of small-sized stone works, pottery, terracotta figurines, the Treasury Department, and the Unofficial Islamic and Islamic Coin Pavilion with about 800,000 coins, stamps, engravings, medals and coins.
In the lower floor rooms of the building; The famous sarcophagi in the tombs of Sayda such as Iskender Lahti, Crying Woman Lahti, Satrap sarcophagus, Lykia sarcophagus, Tabnit sarcophagus are exhibited.
In addition to sarcophagi exhibitions, there is also an exhibition of the Ancient Age sculpture on which sculptures and reliefs from important antique cities and regions are exhibited. In this exhibition, sculpture art from the Archaic period to the Byzantine period is given in chronological order with the most distinguished examples.
The annex building on the southeast end of the main building has 6 floors. There are two floors below the basement. Four floors of the building were arranged as exhibition halls. There are ” İstanbul Down the Ages ” on the first floor of the building, ” Anatolia and Troia” on the second floor and display halls of “Anatolia’s Environmental Cultures; Cyprus, Syria-Palestine” on the top floor. On the entrance level of the annex, there is a display of architectural works with the Children’s Museum. The Thracia-Bithynia and Byzantine exhibition hall, which was opened in August 1998, can be visited just below the entrance level under the name “Environmental Cultures of Istanbul”.
Old Oriental Museum
The building was built by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1883 as Sanayi-i Nefise (School of Fine Arts) and it was organized as a museum between 1917-1919 and 1932-1935. The building, which was closed in 1963, was renovated in 1974 with a new exhibition and interior spaces changed.
Anatolian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Arabic artifacts are exhibited on the upper floor of the two-storey building. Among the works of the Akkadian King Naramsin’s stele, the Kadesh Agreement and the Chained Sculpture Museum. The museum also has a “Tablet Archive”, where 75,000 cuneiform documents are preserved.
Chinese Pavilion Museum
The pavilion built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1472 is one of the oldest examples of Ottoman civil architecture in Istanbul. The mansion entrance is single, the back side is two floors. There is a 14-column marble porch in the entrance. The entrance door is decorated with mosaic tiles. The mansion is composed of 6 rooms and a central hall, and various tiles and ceramics belonging to the Seljuk and Ottoman Period are exhibited. There are about 2000 artifacts in the museum and its storehouses.