25 Unmissable Museums in Istanbul for 2024!

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Written By Sean Lau

Co-Founder of The Turkey Traveler. Globetrotter, Adventurer, and Frequent Traveler to Turkey!

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Travel throughout Turkey and everywhere you go you’ll surely notice crumbling ruins of what was once the epicenter of the European world, as well as the gateway to Asia.

After being under the control of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires across an incredible length of time, it’s no secret that Turkey has one of the deepest and richest history’s out of any country on Earth. 

Luckily for tourists, this means there are some of the best museums to spend countless hours in, getting lost in its past. There’s a huge variety of museums in Istanbul, and combine this with the unmissable attractions in the city and you’re likely in for a very busy few days.

Here’s our pick of some of the best Istanbul museums so you can decide for yourself which ones you’d like to visit to really get the most out of your trip. 

Planning a trip to Istanbul last-minute?

Make sure you book your tours, places to stay, and airport transfers ahead of time to ensure availability!

Here is our recommended airport transfer in Istanbul:

  1. Airport Shuttle From Istanbul Airport (IST) or Sabiha Gocken International Airport (SAW) (Super affordable!)

Here are our recommended tours in Istanbul:

  1. Luxury Bosphorus Cruise At Sunset (A must-do In Istanbul)
  2. Whirling Dervishes Show (Unique experience!)
  3. Historical Turkish Bath Experience
  4. Istanbul Food And Culture Tour

Here are our recommended places to stay in Istanbul:

  1. Magnuara Palace Hotel (Gorgeous hotel in the historic centre!)
  2. Pera Palace Hotel
  3. Cheers Hostel (Budget hostel near the Blue Mosque!)

Istanbul Museum Card: How To Save on Museum Tickets

Before I show you our favorite museums in Istanbul, I just want to give you a little tip to help you save money on museum tickets.

The Istanbul E-Pass, otherwise known as the Museum Card, is a tourist card that gives international visitors free entry to the top attractions, as well as vouchers to get discounts for several of Istanbul’s top restaurants. Whether that’s a Bosphorus Cruise or tours of Istanbul’s museums, the Istanbul E-Pass can save you up to 70% on sightseeing.

It also allows you to skip the line at many of Istanbul’s top museums. The Topkapi Palace and Galata Tower Museum often have huge lines for the ticket booth, so it’s worth getting just for this.

Queue for Topkapi Palace Istanbul
Queue for Topkapi Palace Istanbul

But it also gives you more than this. You can tour several historic sites with a knowledgeable historian or in some cases, you can even receive a free audio guide.

There are several different types of discount pass for Istanbul, such as the Istanbul Welcome Card and Istanbul Tourist Pass, but we like Istanbul E-Pass because it includes more museums than the other two passes, which we feel is the better deal.

Plus it acts as a Digital Pass so you don’t have to pick it up from the airport. Easy!

Best Museums in Istanbul

Now you know how to get the best deals when visiting Istanbul’s museums, it’s time to take a look at our favorite ones…

1. Istanbul Archeological Museums

  • Hours: 9.00am – 7.00pm
  • Address: Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih
  • Entrance fee: 60 Turkish Lira ($3.20 USD) per adult
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes, you get free entrance with the Museum Card

What better way to begin our list of the best museums in Istanbul than with one that is actually three combined?

Amazingly, the Istanbul Archeological Museums are made up of the Museum of the Ancient Orient, the Museum of Islamic Art (not to be confused with the very similar Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts), and finally the Archaeological Museum itself.

All three museums contain a vast collection of artifacts discovered within the former lands of the Ottoman Empire dating back to numerous periods.

Alexander the Great’s Sarcophagus is on show here, as well as other prominent sarcophagi, statues, and busts. More everyday items such as coins, vases, and medals can be seen too. 

2. Topkapi Palace  

Topkapi Palace Istanbul Turkey
  • Hours: 10.00am – 4.00pm (closed Tuesdays)
  • Address: Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih
  • Entrance fee: 200 Turkish Lira per person ($10.66 USD) + 100 Lira ($5.33 USD) for the Harem. Free for children under 12 years old, and free for those under 6 to the Harem.
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes, it’s free with the Museum Card and includes a free audio guide

It’d be a cardinal sin not to head over to the mighty Topkapi Palace if you’re visiting the city of Istanbul.

Strategically located in the Fatih district, this impressive building used to be the administrative headquarters of the Ottoman Empire, and now turned into a museum, it’s one of the most popular attractions in the whole city.

The Palace was also where the Ottoman Sultans called home, it was their official residence for almost 400 years. On your visit to the Topkapi Palace, you’ll marvel at the stunning Ottoman architecture on show which will begin to paint a rather luxurious picture of how the Ottoman Sultan’s used to live. 

3. Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

  • Hours: 9.00am – 6.30pm
  • Address: Binbirdirek, At Meydanı Cd No:12, 34122 Fatih
  • Entrance fee: 60 Turkish Lira ($3.20 USD) per adult
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes, you get a free skip-the-line ticket with the Museum Card

Located inside a stunning 16th-century Ottoman palace, the Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts is one of the best museums in the city. Its extensive collection is the first in Turkey to house both Turkish and Islamic arts together.

Walking around the museum, it’s interesting to see the influence of Islam on a lot of Turkish artifacts. For those thinking this is your typical run-of-the-mill art museum in Istanbul, think again.

Everything from clothes, jewelry, and rugs, to Ottoman swords and gold Qur’ans, all thousands of years old, are on show here which certainly makes this museum unique and worth a visit. 

4. Galata Tower

istanbul street
  • Hours: 8.30am – 10.00pm
  • Address: Bereketzade Mahallesi Büyük Hendek Caddesi, Numara: 2, 34421 Beyoğlu
  • Entrance fee: 100 Lira ($5.33 USD) per person
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes

When you think of museums, you think of huge, grand, open-plan buildings featuring endless works of art and artifacts. For the most part, you’ll be correct.

But the Galata Tower isn’t one of those types of museums. Originally built as a watchtower guarding over medieval Constantinople, the Galata Tower, and its many floors have since been converted into a museum, viewing deck, and exhibition space.

Visitors to this imposing attraction can find the museum on floors three, four, and five where fascinating artifacts from four periods of history can be seen.

Among the most important of these artifacts is the Chain of the Golden Horn, which prevented unwanted vessels from approaching the city.

If you’ve got a head for heights, test your nerve by heading up the eighth floor where you can get remarkable views of the entire city. 

5. Rahmi M. Koc Museum

  • Hours: 9.30am – 5.00pm Tuesday – Friday, 10.00am – 6.00pm Saturday and Sunday, Closed Monday
  • Address: Piri Paşa, Hasköy Cd. No:5, 34445 Beyoğlu
  • Entrance fee: 60 Turkish Lira ($1.60 USD) per adult
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? No

If you’re interested in planes, trains, and automobiles, then the Rahmi M. Koc Museum might just be up your street. A dizzying array of old vehicles and various other modes of transport can be seen here which makes it somewhat unique in comparison to Istanbul’s other museums.

One of the newer museums on our list, it was established in 1994 following a trip to the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan by one of Turkey’s wealthiest people, Rahmi M. Koc.

He left feeling inspired, and through his passion for all things transport (and a lot of money), he created a space that showcases the best of human inventions.

It’s an excellent museum to take children to too, as not only is the collection incredibly interesting and interactive, but it’s also seriously educational with a floor dedicated to science, and physics in particular. 

6. The Museum of Innocence

  • Hours: 10.00am – 6.00pm (Closed Monday)
  • Address: Firuzağa, Çukurcuma Caddesi, Dalgıç Çk. No:2, 34425 Beyoğlu
  • Entrance fee: 65 Turkish Lira ($3.47 USD) for adults, 40 Turkish Lira ($2.13 USD) for concessions, 10 Turkish Lira ($0.53 USD) for an audio guide.
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? No

Located within a stunning maroon-colored wooden 19th-century house, The Museum of Innocence might just be the most peculiar, but brilliant, museum on the list.

The bookworms among us might be familiar with the works of Turkey’s best-selling author Orhan Pamuk, and most notably his novel of the same name, The Museum of Innocence.

Well, this is a museum solely dedicated to the book, and effectively brings to life Pamuk’s very much fictional story through a huge collection of objects gathered during and after Pamuk’s creative process.

Spread across three floors, visitors can view these objects, as well as pictures which are all placed in a strategic order to give the best experience possible.

It’s worth noting that the curator himself Orhan Pamuk claims you don’t need to have read the book to visit The Museum of Innocence as the objects and pictures help to document what affluent life was like in 20th century Istanbul. 

7. Istanbul Military Museum

  • Hours: 9.00am – 4.00pm (Closed Mondays)
  • Address: Halaskargazi, Vali Konağı Cd. No:2, 34367 Şişli
  • Entrance fee: 6 Turkish Lira ($0.32 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? No

Costing just a mere 25 Turkish Lira, the Istanbul Military Museum is one of the best value-for-money attractions in the city. It’s a huge building that allows you to get up close and personal with an incredible range of weapons, armor, and aircraft dating back to the very beginnings of the Ottoman Empire, right through to the present day.

Descriptions of the objects are available in English and are written in great detail so you can be sure you know what you’re looking at. Because the museum is so large, there are very rarely any crowds here so you’ll likely have some of the rooms completely to yourself.

Regular exhibitions take place at the museum to dedicate huge spaces to a variety of important historical events.

Some of these exhibitions previously have included the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Battle of Constantinople, and proud displays of memorabilia from the Turkish Armed Forces. 

8. Great Palace Mosaic Museum 

  • Hours: 9.00am – 6.00pm
  • Address: Sultan Ahmet, Sultanahmet Mahallesi Kabasakal Cad. Arasta Çarşısı Sok. No. 53, Torun Sk. No:21, 34122 Fatih
  • Entrance fee: 45 Turkish Lira ($2.40 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes, you get a free skip-the-line ticket

Centrally located just a short walk away from the vibrance of Sultanahmet Square and the snaking lines of the Hagia Sophia, is one of Istanbul’s must-visit attractions, the Great Palace Mosaic Museum.

If you’re interested in the history of the city, and in particular the influence the legendary Roman Empire had on the area, then this should be near the top of your to-do list.

Remarkably well-preserved mosaics dating back to the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (527AD – 565AD) are on show which was uncovered by a team of archaeologists in the 1950s. It is thought that these spectacular mosaics were used to decorate the floor of a courtyard that was once part of the Great Palace of Constantinople.

Unusually, these mosaics don’t illustrate religious scenes or stories, instead, they depict ordinary scenes of what daily life was like 1500 years ago, which makes it all the more fascinating. 

9. Istanbul Naval Museum

  • Hours: 10.00am – 5.00pm weekdays, 10.00am – 6.00pm weekends, closed Mondays
  • Address: Sinanpaşa, Beşiktaş Cd. No:6 D:1, 34353 Beşiktaş
  • Entrance fee: 13 Turkish Lira ($0.69 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? No

If you look at a map, Turkey is pretty much completely surrounded by water. Four seas encapsulate the country; the Mediterranean, the Aegean, the Sea of Marmara, and the Black Sea, equating to approximately 5,000 miles of largely unguarded coastline.

Unsurprisingly, the Turkish Navy has been and continues to be an imperative part of the country’s defense. Even before the official Turkish Navy was founded in 1920, the Ottoman Navy had been patrolling the seas for 600 years prior.

Like many of the other museums in the city, the Naval Museum has a huge collection of naval artifacts like actual wooden Ottoman rowing boats and caiques, paintings, and models of various important ships. 

10. Pelit Chocolate Museum 

  • Hours: 10.00am – 5.00pm
  • Address: Koza Mahallesi 1678 Sk. No:19 Sanayi Mahallesi Evren Sanayi Sitesi Akbatı A.V.M. Arkası, 34538 Esenyurt
  • Entrance fee: 75 Turkish Lira ($4.00 USD) for adults, 60 ($3.20 USD) Turkish Lira for concessions
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? No

For those with a sweet tooth, we’re ending our list of the best museums in Istanbul for families, with the only chocolate museum in the entire country.

Located next to the Pelit Chocolate Factory in Esenyurt, visitors to the Pelit Chocolate Museum can learn the extensive history of chocolate and the process it takes to transform the very odd-looking bitter cocoa bean into what the world knows as one of the most delicious treats money can buy.

As well as the informative tour, you can also see some of Istanbul’s most famous attractions like the Hagia Sophia and Galata Tower, albeit with a slight difference. They’re entirely made out of chocolate! 

11. The Galata Mevlevi Lodge Museum

Galata Mevlevi Lodge
  • Hours: 9.00am – 5.30pm (Closed Mondays)
  • Address: Şahkulu, Galip Dede Cd. No:15, 34420 Beyoğlu
  • Entrance fee: 40 Turkish Lira ($2.13 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes, you get a free skip-the-line ticket

The Galata Mevlevi Lodge Museum, also referred to as Kulekapısı Mevlevi Lodge or Galip Dede Tekke in Ottoman times, was established in 1491 and features exhibits of important Ottoman works, as well as the Galata Palace School.

It was opened as Divan Literature Museum in 1975 before it was renamed in 2011 to Galata Mevlevi Lodge Museum.

The museum itself is a fine example of Ottoman architecture, which can be seen everywhere from the doorways to the caligraphy signs above the arches.

Inside the museum, you’ll find exhibits such as the Marbling Exhibition by Mustafa Düzgünman, the Calligraphy Exhibition, the Hilye-i Şerif, the Sheets Exhibition, the Çelebi Lodge exhibition, the Royal Lodge exhibition, and the Ottoman Army Band and Musical Instruments Exhibition.

12. Museum of Illusions

  • Hours: 11.00am – 8.00pm
  • Address: Asmali Mescit, İstiklal Cd. No:180 D:4B, 34430 Beyoğlu
  • Entrance fee: 129 Turkish Liras ($6.88 USD) for adults, 90 Turkish Liras ($4.80 USD) for children (5-18 years old)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes, you get a free skip-the-line ticket

The Museum of Illusions is a unique and fascinating place sure to keep you entertained for hours. Within its walls, visitors can explore over 9 interactive exhibits in four rooms that range from thrilling games to intriguing visual illusions.

Walking through its mesmerizing halls, it becomes easy to forget about your everyday life as you dives into an extraordinary world of fantasy.

Additionally, the museum curates a large collection of holograms, which are perfect for taking some fun and creative photos with friends and family. If you’re feeling brave, don’t miss out on the mind-boggling Vortex Tunnel for some mind-boggling photos.

The Museum of Illusions in Istanbul is a creative and immersive experience that would be perfect to add to your family itinerary.

13. Balat Toy Museum

  • Hours: 10.00am – 8.00pm
  • Address: Yavuz Sultan Selim, Abdülezelpaşa Cd. No:65, 34087 Fatih
  • Entrance fee: 75 Turkish Lira ($4.00 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes, you get a free skip-the-line ticket

The Balat Toy Museum in Istanbul is a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Located in the historic Balat district, the museum houses more than 17,000 vintage toys—many of which were made before 1950 and found all around Turkey.

The collection ranges from traditional Turkish toys and dolls, to ship and airplane models and miniatures.

There are also puzzles, board games, trains, music boxes, and folk art on display. Visitors can get an insight into the toys that both entertained and helped educate children in times past about their culture and society.

The Balat Toy Museum is a must-see for all those visiting Istanbul with an interest in toys.

14. Hagia Irene Museum

  • Hours: 9.00am – 5.30pm Monday – Friday, 9.00am – 7.30pm Saturday and Sunday
  • Address: Cankurtaran, Topkapı Sarayı No:1, 34122 Fatih
  • Entrance fee: 120 Turkish Lira ($6.40 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes, you get a free skip-the-line ticket

The Hagia Irene Museum is a historical and cultural treasure with plenty to see and explore. Built in the 4th century by Roman Emperor Constantine, this important Byzantine church was converted into a museum in 1726 and was used as the National Military Museum. In 1846, it was turned into a military antiques museum.

In 1978, it was given to the Turkish Ministry of Culture which turned it into a concert hall. It’s the only Byzantine-era church that hasn’t been turned into a mosque in the city.

The church has been open to the public as a museum since 2014 and contains beautiful detailing and artwork inside. The walls are decorated with historical mosaics and frescoes from the Justinian era.

15. Rumeli Fortress Museum

  • Hours: 9.00am – 4.00pm (Closed Monday)
  • Address: Rumeli Hisarı, Yahya Kemal Cd., 34470 Sarıyer
  • Entrance fee: 50 Turkish Lira ($2.67 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes, you get a free skip-the-line ticket

The Rumeli Fortress Museum was built as part of a series of fortifications by Sultan Mehmed II shortly before the conquest of Constantinople.

Today, it’s a museum full of exciting stories and artifacts. There are plenty of interactive displays designed to give visitors an insight into what life was like at the time when this remarkable structure was built, as well as a collection of weapons, armor, and items used by people living within its walls.

The views from the fortress walls offer spectacular panoramas of the Bosphorus, while the barracks and towers are brimming with history.

With so much to take in and learn about, visitors will come away from the Rumeli Fortress Museum with plenty of fascinating knowledge about this historic corner of Istanbul.

16. Tiled Pavilion Museum

  • Hours: 9.00am – 7.00pm
  • Address: Cankurtaran, Cankurtaran Mahallesi Osman Hamdibey Yokuşu, Gülhane, 34122 Fatih
  • Entrance fee: 60 Turkish Lira ($3.20 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes, you get a free skip-the-line ticket

The Tiled Pavilion Museum has been a central part of Turkish history since the 15th century and was once used as a pleasure palace for Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II.

Located adjacent to the famous Gülhane Park, the museum showcases various artifacts that highlight important moments in this nation’s storied past.

You can explore 16-century Iznik-made tilework, as well as artifacts belonging to Ottoman and Seljuk eras.

17. The Panorama 1453 Historical Museum

  • Hours: 8.00am – 6.30pm
  • Address: Merkez Efendi Mahallesi, Topkapı Kültür Park İçi Yolu, 34015 Zeytinburnu
  • Entrance fee: 15 Turkish Lira ($0.80 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? No

The Panorama 1453 Historical Museum stands as a tribute to the Ottoman Empire, which was founded 567 years ago when Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople and renamed it Istanbul.

Inside the museum are detailed exhibits detailing Istanbul of old along with information about how the battle came to be conquered and how it marked a major turning point in the Eastern Roman Empire’s control over its eastern lands.

The museum’s highlight is the unique panoramic 360° painting of the battle, which allows visitors to take it all in with just one glance – something truly impressive! It’s a great way to get immersed in this piece of history that has helped shape modern Turkey.

18. Istanbul Cinema Museum

  • Hours: 11.00am – 7.00pm (Closed Monday)
  • Address: Kuloğlu, İstiklal Cd. No 131/A, 34433 Beyoğlu
  • Entrance fee: 40 Turkish Lira ($2.13 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes, you get a free skip-the-line ticket and a free guided tour

Established in 2021, the Istanbul Cinema Museum is located in the middle of Istanbul’s lively Beyoğlu neighborhood. Historically known as Pera, Beyoğlu has always been known for its movies and theaters, vibrant atmosphere, and numerous activities – making it the perfect backdrop for the museum.

The museum contains over 1,500 square meters of space, ushering visitors through Turkey’s cinematic history from 1895 and the late Ottoman period to today. Exhibitions include rare old film cameras, posters, and photographs of actors and directors all lovingly preserved.

If you’re a true film buff there are also several thematic displays including wax figures of Turkish actors, Adile Nasit as ‘Hafize Ana’ and Kemal Sunal as ‘Tosun Pasha,’ as well as several costumes worn by actors.

Read more: Turkish Movies on Netflix

19. Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahce Palace Istanbul Famous Landmarks
  • Hours: 9.00am – 4.00pm (Closed Monday)
  • Address: Vişnezade, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş
  • Entrance fee: 450 Turkish Lira ($23.99 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes, you get a free skip-the-line ticket

The Dolmabahce Palace is the largest and arguably the most beautiful palace in Istanbul. It was once the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire since the 19th century, but today it houses several important museums containing works of historical art, palace collections, and Turkish calligraphy and carpets

It also houses the National Palaces Painting Museum, Dolmabahçe Clock Museum, and The Palace Collections Museum, which is located in the Imperial Palace Kitchens.

Consisting of 285 rooms and 46 halls, the entirety of this palace is now open for tourists to visit. It is said that one of the largest Bohemian crystal chandeliers is kept in the palace, as well as the largest diamond.

It was designed by architect Garabet Balyan and is said to have cost the city five million Ottoman gold lira ($1.9 billion in 2021 value). This placed a huge financial burden on the city which lost a quarter of the yearly tax revenue because of it.

It was the family home of 6 sultans over the years. The last Sultan to live in the palace was Caliph Abdülmecid Efendi.

20. Museum Of The History Of Science and Technology in Islam

  • Hours: 9.00am – 5.30pm
  • Address: Cankurtaran, Gülhane Parkı, Taya Hatun Sk No:8A, 34122 Fatih
  • Entrance fee: 25 Turkish Lira ($1.33 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? Yes, you get a free skip-the-line ticket

Istanbul is home to one of the most renowned museums for science and technology in the Islamic world: The Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam.

Established by Prof. Dr. med. Fuat Sezgin in 2008, this museum houses some of the most precious relics from the history of Islamic scientific achievements.

From astronomical instruments used to measure time to books on mathematics and models of developmental engineering mechanisms, visitors are transported back in time to witness works that were integral tools used during the 9th and 16th centuries when science was flourishing in Islamic regions across the world.

The museum also features the iconic Elephant Clock by al-Jazari, one of the most important astronomers from the Ottoman period.

No doubt any trip to this museum is an enriching experience for all those who wish to become familiar with this incredible period of Islamic history.

21. Turkey İş Bank Museum

  • Hours: 10.00am – 6.00pm (Closed Monday)
  • Address: Hobyar, Bankacılar Sk. No:2, 34112 Fatih
  • Entrance fee: free
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? No

The Turkey İş Bank Museum is ideal for anyone interested in learning about the history of Turkish art, culture, and banking. Established in 2007 by one of the largest banks in Turkey, İşbank, this museum is an immersive view into what banking looked like in the late Ottoman era.

Here you can explore the museum office, vaults, and cashier desk. Everything has been kept as they were, from the deposit boxes to the cash desks to the former security rooms, which have been redesigned as a bookshop and an information desk.

And best of all, it’s free to visit.

22. Ural Ataman Classic Car Museum

  • Hours: 11.00am – 6.00pm Friday – Sunday, Closed Monday – Thursday
  • Address: Ferahevler, Nuri Paşa Cd. No:107, 34457 Sarıyer
  • Entrance fee: 20 Turkish Lira ($1.07 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? No

If you’re a fan of classic cars, there’s no better place to enjoy your passion than the Ural Ataman Classic Car Museum in Istanbul.

As a part museum, part 50s-style diner, it’s easy to get lost in the nostalgia for days at this automotive time capsule!

Established in 2012, this museum houses more than 70 vehicles on display, including trucks and motorbikes, all from 1920-1970 originating from all over Europe.

Everything from classics like a 1926 Ford T Touring Car, a 1937 Dodge Pickup truck, and a 1950 convertible Cadillac, to neon billboards and a display of hub caps, there is so much to see and enjoy here for classic car enthusiasts.

23. Atatürk Museum

Atatürk Museum
  • Hours: 9.00am – 5.00pm (Closed Monday)
  • Address: Meşrutiyet, Halaskargazi Cd. No:140, 34363 Şişli
  • Entrance fee: 10 Turkish Lira ($0.53 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? No

If you’re looking for an interesting and educational place to explore, The Atatürk Museum in Istanbul is an absolute must-see!

This museum is dedicated to Turkey’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

The three-storey house was built in 1908 and originally belonged to Mustafa Kemal, who lived there with his mum, sister, and adopted brother.

The house was bought by the Municipality of Istanbul in 1928, along with some of Atatürk’s personal belongings, and was converted into a museum in 1942 as the Atatürk Revolution Museum.

Today, the museum offers visitors a peek into the past with its fascinating exhibits and artifacts such as some of Atatürk’s clothes, historical documents, as well as photos and videos of him throughout his life.

Not only will you learn about the political history of Turkey but it also provides a unique glimpse into one of the most influential figures in Turkish history.

24. Aşiyan Museum

  • Hours: 9.00am – 5.00pm (Closed Monday)
  • Address: Bebek, Aşiyan Yolu, 34342 Beşiktaş
  • Entrance fee: free
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? No

The Aşiyan Museum is brimming with history and culture. Spanning over two floors, this museum was once home to the renowned Turkish poet, Tevfik Fikret.

After his death, it was converted into a museum, originally called the Museum of New Literature, but renamed in 1961 after the remains of Tevfik Fikret were moved to his yard. The name “Aşiyan”, was given to the house by Fikret, which means “nest” in Persian. 

The museum houses collections of photographs, paintings, books, and personal belongings of two Turkish poets, Abdülhak Hâmid Tarhan (1851-1937) and Nigar Hanım, on the 1st floor.

The second floor is dedicated to Tevfik Fikret. Visitors can see his study, bedroom, and his personal belongings, such as his writing desk and armchair. There are also several drawings, paintings, and most notably, a death mask of him in the bedroom.

The grounds provide breathtaking views of Istanbul’s estates as well as the Bosphorous in the distance.

25. The Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews

  • Hours: 10.00am – 5.00pm Monday – Thursday, 10.00am – 1.00pm Friday, Closed Saturday, 10.00am – 4.00pm Sunday
  • Address: Bereketzade, Büyük Hendek Cd. No:39, 34421 Beyoğlu
  • Entrance fee: 30 Turkish Lira ($1.60 USD)
  • Included on the Istanbul E-Pass? No

The Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews features displays on the history and culture of Turkic Sephardic Jews who have lived and thrived in the country for centuries.

The museum provides visitors with an opportunity to explore and learn about this vibrant community and their story.

They can see artifacts such as a sefer torah, ancient musical instruments, silver coins with Jewish inscriptions, and rare books and manuscripts.

Visitors can watch audio-visual presentations related to some interesting events in the history of Turkish Jews.

The museum is small, but it’s important. All these exhibitions pay homage to the rich heritage of Turkish Jews and illuminate a period that many may not know about.

FAQs on Museums in Istanbul

Here’s what people usually ask us about Istanbul’s museums…

What is the name of the famous museum in Istanbul?

The most famous museum in Istanbul is the Topkapi Palace, which receives around 3 million visitors a year.

Are museums free in Istanbul?

There are not many free museums in Istanbul, it’s usually the art museums that are free to visit on select days and times. However, the Turkey Is Bank Museum, Aşiyan Museum and the Galatasaray (Turkish Football Museum) are free to enter.

Which is the best museum in Istanbul for couples?

The Dolmabahçe Palace would be the perfect date destination in Istanbul since it has a lovely garden as well as a picturesque backdrop. It houses the second biggest diamond in the world – so romantic!

Which is the best museum in Istanbul for groups?

Any of the museums in Istanbul would be good for groups, however you won’t be able to get a more iconic group photo than one from the Galata Tower viewing deck!

Final Word on Museums in Istanbul

So there you have it, those are the most unmissable museums in Istanbul, and as you can see, there is plenty of variety on this list.

Whether you’re looking to better understand the culture of Turkey, learn about its fascinating history, or explore world-renowned sites, these museums will delight any visitor.

We hope this guide helped you add some museums to your Turkey itinerary. If you have any more museums that fascinate you in the city, let us know in the comments!

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