The Museum of Turkish Islamic Art, the last museum opened during the Ottoman period, is located in the Fatih district of Istanbul, opposite the columns in Sultanahmet Square. It is one of the must-see museums for Turkish and Islamic-themed collections on a trip to the historical peninsula.
Since it was very difficult to prevent the theft of artifacts in these lands during the Ottoman period, a museum called Evkaf-ı Islamiye (Museum of Islamic Foundations) was established in the imaret building in the Süleymaniye Mosque Complex in 1914 under the leadership of Osman Hamdi Bey and all the artifacts were collected in this museum to prevent the theft of artifacts in foundation buildings such as mosques and masjids. It was with the proclamation of the Republic that the name of the museum became what it is today.
In 1983, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art moved to the Ibrahim Pasha Palace, an important building of 16th century Ottoman architecture. Ibrahim Pasha was born in Parga, Greece, served as the regent of Suleiman I and rose as an Ottoman statesman who later became the sultan’s son-in-law and the husband of his daughter Hatice Sultan. The area where Sultanahmet Square is located was used as the Hippodrome during the Byzantine period. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent gifted this palace to Ibrahim Pasha, right next to this area, at the point where the steps of the hippodrome are located. So much so that the stones of the hippodrome can still be seen inside the palace.
The museum has a very broad concept in terms of diversity. The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art is the only place where you can see many Islamic artifacts created by the Umayyad, Abbasid, North African, Seljuk, Ilkhanid, Mamluk, Timurid and Safavid states. Among these artifacts, you can see manuscripts, Korans, beards, stones, glass, ceramics.
In the collection hall, you can see Ottoman carpets made between the 15th and 17th centuries. Seljuk carpets or carpet prayer rugs brought from important places such as the Tomb of Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat in Konya or the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne are each more precious and special than the other.
I highly recommend the website of the Museum of Turkish Islamic Art, where you can see all the artifacts in the museum with their detailed descriptions, inventory numbers, sizes and dates. I can easily say that it is one of the best created museum websites among the museums in Istanbul and even among the museums in Turkey. If you are interested in the museum, it is useful to use it as a source.
What are the entrance fee and visiting hours of the Museum of Turkish Islamic Art?
The entrance to the museum has an expensive entrance fee like all the other museums around Sultanahmet. However, since Müzekart is valid, I recommend you to get a Müzekart before visiting the museums in this neighborhood. This museum is also one of the places where you can get a Müzekart. You can visit between 09:00 – 19:00 during the summer season and 09:00 – 17:00 during the winter season.
Where is the Museum of Turkish Islamic Art and how to get there?
The most practical way to reach the museum is to use the T1 Bağcılar – Kabataş tram line. After getting off at Sultanahmet station, you can reach the museum with a short walk.