Archeology Museum – Gulhane
Collected artifacts of the Ottoman Empire since the reign of Fatih the Conqueror was first gathered in Hagia Irene in 1869, hence founding the Muze-i Hümayun (Museum of the Empire). As the collection grew, Cinili Kosk (China Tiled Villa) that still belongs to the Archeology Museum started hosting the collection. You can take a 3D tour of the villa from here.
In 1881 Ottoman Museums reached a new age with the appointment of Osman Hamdi Bey as head of the Archeological Museum. One of first four students to be educated in the West, Osman Hamdi Bey not only was thoroughly knowledgeable on museum management, protecting historical artifacts and restoring them, but he also took many measures to stop the smuggling of artifacts out of the empire. If you ever make it to Eskihisar we recommend you stop by at his old house, which now stands as a museum.
Going back to our topic, Cinili Köşk was built by the order of Fatih the Conqueror, and is the oldest building on the grounds. Eastern Artifacts Museum’s building used to be the Fine Arts Academy that Osman Hamdi Bey founded and taught at. This academy was the first step to the foundation of Mimar Sinan University. The architect of the building was Alexander Vallaury whom also designed the Archeology Museum’s main building. This main building is one of the rare examples of a building designed only to be used as a museum. The building which holds the air of a temple has the engraved Ottoman writing of Asar-ı Atika Müzesi (Museum of Old Artifacts), and Sultan Abdülhamit II’s sign whom have had ordered the building be constructed.
The grand opening date of the museum in 1891, June 13this still the national museum day in Turkey.
To get to the Archeology Museum you need to take the side road next to Hagia Irene in Topkapı Palace or climb the small path across Gulhane Park. You can find more information on the museum here.
There are no words to describe the variety of artifacts and information this museum harbors. We suggest you visit it early in the morning and take a little break at the teahouse in the museum’s garden. Resting here in the beauty and calmness, we are sure you’ll hear history calling.
Take care of yourselves,
Tracer of Istanbul