Marmara

 
The Basilica of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), now called the Ayasofya Museum, is unquestionably one of the finest buildings of all time. Built by Constantine the Great and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, its immense dome rises 55 meters above the ground and its diameter spans 31 meters. Linger here to admire the building's majestic serenity as well as the fine Byzantine mosaics. (Open every day except Monday).  

The Archeological Museums are found just inside the first court of the Topkapi Palace. Included among its treasures of antiquity are the celebrated Alexander Sarcophagus and the facade of the Temple to Athena from Assos. The Museum of the Ancient Orient displays artifacts from the Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Hatti and Hittite civilizations. (Open every day except Monday).

Archeology Museum, Istanbul
Archeology Museum, Istanbul

Rumeli Hisan, or European Fortress, was built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 prior to his capture of Istanbul. Completed in only four months, it is one of the most beautiful works of military architecture in the world. In the castle is the Open-Air Museum amphitheater that is the site for some events of the Istanbul Music Festival. (Open every day except Wednesdays).

Originally built in the 15th century as a kosk, or pavilion, by Mehmet the Conqueror, the Cinili kosk, which houses the Museum of Turkish Ceramics, contains beautiful 16th- century specimens from Iznik and fine examples of Seljuk and Ottoman pottery and tiles. (Open every day except Monday).

  Temple of Aphrodite, Assos
Temple of Aphrodite, Assos

Like the Ayasofya Museum, the St. Irene Museum was originally a church. It ranks, in fact, as the first church built in Istanbul. Constantine commissioned it in the fourth century and Justinian later had the church restored. The building reputedly stands on the site of a pre-Christian temple. (Open every day except Monday, but requires special permission for admission).

The dark stone building that houses the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art was built in 1524 by the Grand Vizier to Suleyman the Magnificent, Ibrahim Pasa, as his residence. it was the grandest private residence ever built in the Ottoman Empire. Today it holds a superb collection of ceramics, metalwork, miniatures, calligraphy, textiles, and woodwork as well as some of the oldest carpets in the world. (Open every day except Monday).


Statue of Aphrodite, Sadberk Hanim Museum

Across the street from the Ibrahim Pasa residence is the Museum of Turkish Carpets which contains exquisite antique carpets and kilims gathered from all over Turkey. (Open every day except Sunday and Monday).

Near Hagia Sophia is the sixth-century Byzantine cistern known as the Yerebatan Sarnici. Three hundred and thirty-six massive Corinthian columns support the immense chamber's fine brick vaulting. (Open every day except Tuesday).

The Mosaic Museum preserves in situ exceptionally fine fifth and sixth-century mosaic pavements from the Grand Palace of the Byzantine emperors. (Open every day except Tuesday).


Yerebatan Palace

The Kariye Museum, the 11th-century church of "St. Savior" in the Chora complex, is, after Hagia Sophia, the most important Byzantine monument in Istanbul Unremarkable in its architecture, inside, the walls are decorated with superb 14th-century mosaics. Illustrating scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary, these brilliantly colored paintings embody the vigor of Byzantine art. In restored wooden houses in the area surrounding the church you can enjoy tea and coffee in a relaxed atmosphere far removed from the city's hectic pace. (Open every day except Wednesday).

The Aviation Museum in Yesilkoy traces the development of flight in Turkey. (Open every day except Monday).

In the Military Museum the great field tents used by the Ottoman armies on campaigns are on display. Other exhibits include Ottoman weapons and the accoutrements of war. The Mehter Takimi (Ottoman military band) can be heard performing Ottoman martial music between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. (Open every day except Monday and Tuesday).

Ataturk's former residence in Sisli now serves as the Ataturk Museum and displays his personal effects. (Open every day except Saturday and Sunday).

The grand imperial caiques used by the sultans to cross the Bosphorus are among the many many other interesting exhibits of Ottoman naval history that can be seen at the Naval Museum located in the Besiktas district. (Open every day except Monday and Thursday).

Also in Besiktas is the Museum of Fine Arts that houses Turkish paintings and sculptures from the end of the 19th century to the present. (Open every day except Monday and Tuesday).


Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia)
Museum

The City Museum, located within the gardens of the Yildiz Palace, preserves and documents the history of Istanbul since the Ottoman conquest. (Open every day except Thursday). Also within the gardens are the Yildiz Palace Theatre and the Museum of Historical Stage Costumes, with its richly decorated scenery and stage, and its exquisite costumes. (Open every day except Tuesday).

The Rahmi Koc Industry Museum, in the suburb of Haskoy on the coast of the Golden Horn, was an Ottoman-period building, formerly called Lengerhane, for iron and steel works. Today it houses exhibits on industrial development. (Open every day except Monday).

Up the Bosphorus in the picturesque suburb of Buyukdere, the collections of the Sadberk Hanim Museum fill two charmng 19th- century wooden villas. A private museum which originally displayed only Turkish decorative arts, it has recently been expanded for a new collection of archeological finds. (Open every day except Wednesday).

For something different try the Caricature and Cartoon Museum in Fatih on Ataturk Boulevard under the Bozdogan Aqueduct in the 16th century Gazanfer Aga Medrese. (Open daily 9:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m.)

The restored Saatci Efendi Konak in Izmit, a typical 18th- century Ottoman mansion, now serves as the Ethnography Museum.East of Izmir, is Adapazari, the provincial capital of Sakarya, an important agricultural and industrial region. In the city of Adapazari, itself, the Ataturk and Ethnography Museum displays personal effects of the founder of the Turkish Republic as well as regional artifacts.


Temple of Athena, Assos (Behramkale)

Tourist attractions in Sogut include the life-size busts of famous figures from Turkish history and the Ethnography Museum which traces the history of Turkey through its displays.
The Ataturk Mansion, located in Yalova, is now a museum (open to the public weekdays except Monday and Thursday). Built in 1929, Ataturk's former summer residence displays original furnishings from the early 20th century.


Cunda Island, Ayvalik - Balikesir

Iznik was the center of exquisite ceramic ware production which made an important decorative contribution to mosques and palaces throughout Turkey. A museum displays the finds of nearby excavations.
When you reach to Bursa, you are amazed with the museums the city embraces in itself. A medrese nearby completes the Yesil Mosque complex and is also home to the Ethnography Museum. The nearby Ottoman House Museum is in a restored 17th century dwelling that provides an interesting glimpse into the lives of wealthy Ottomans. Other places of interest in Bursa include the Culture Park with the Bursa Archeological Museum, and the Ataturk Museum on the road to Cekirge.


Bursa Houses

Take in artifacts from the Balikesir area are displayed in the newly completed Balikesir Museum (Kuva-i Milliye).

 
Hotels, restaurants-and cafes along the promenade of Canakkale, offer a place to enjoy the traffic in the harbor, as well as a view of the Kilitbahir Fortress and the Canakkale Archeological Museum. In addition, the Cimenlik fortress serves as a military museum dedicated to the World War I Battle of Canakkale. In Bayramic, 60 km from Canakkale is the beautiful 18th- century Hadimogullari Mansion (Ottoman House) with its ethnography museum.
Tekirday also has several imporant museums: The Archeology and Ethnography Museum displays an extensive collection of artifacts from the area. The Rakoczy Museum occupies the house where the Hungarian prince, Rakoczy Ferench 11 (1676-1735) lived out the last years of his life after fighting for his people's liberation.

In Kirklareli, the Archeological Museum exhibits finds from local excavations.