Istanbul Archaeology Museum is probably the best archaeology museum in the world that nobody knows about. Turkey has done an excellent job retaining its architectural treasures (partly through Draconian measures against taking anything more than 100 years old out of the country). The IAM is a showcase of the best Anatolian cutural exhibits in the world. The ancient wing in particular houses an extensive collection of Hittite and Babylonian pieces. The Alexander Sarcophagus, depicting the conquerors victory at Issus, in undoubtedly the museum's principle treasure. Finally, if you've been to Bodrum, you've probably noticed that the Mausoleum of Halikarnassus is a real dud. Well many of the treasures that adorned the Wonder of the Ancient World are located in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.In the summer, I highly recommend having coffee or tea at the cafe. It's filled with column capitals, engravings and lazy cats.
Located very close to the Hagia Sophia, this museum is a great place to check out some more of Istanbul's great history. They have hellenistic statues and some nice tombs (one of which was thought to be alexander the great, until that was disproved) dating from early Byzantine. They also have part of the chains that made up the aquatic part of the walls of Constantinople with a detailed description of how Mehmet 11 conquered Istanbul. I didn't get to see the whole thing, but most of the pieces were in some way related to Istanbul, which made wandering around Sultanahmet much more interesting. Overall it didn't seem that well organized though and it certainly wasn't as big as the Antalya Museum.
So many museums in the world yet this is still one of my favorites. Because I am Turkish? No. Because I am fascinated with history in this part of the world? maybe. Tucked away by Topkapi Palace, make a point to stop here to see the Alexander Sarcophagus (thought to have been built for Alexander the Great), The peace treaty between Ramses II and the Hittite Empire (said to be the oldest peace treaty) and the beautiful lion tiles that once decorated the gates of Babylon. This being my favorite!!
If you go gaga for looking at things that were dug out of the earth a long time ago, you'll love this place. Unfortunately, I can only stomach so many tombs and pots so I didn't love it as much as my archaeology-loving friend. Considering Istanbul was a breeding ground for civilizations for, oh, forever, then there's a lot of cool stuff to be seen here, but if archaeology isn't your thing, don't force it.
i never knew about this place - went there with minimum expectations on the way back from topkapi - absolutely amazing - the quality and quantity of artefacts across the ages is immense and quite well preserved and presented - the sarcophagus of necropolis are stunning !
Don't miss the attached Museum of the Ancient Orient. Small, but beautiful collection, including Sumerian and Hittite artefacts.
a must see, incredible collection
One of my favorite..