The Best Art Museums in Istanbul (Turkey)
Istanbul is home to some of the world's most architecturally complicated yet magnificent tourist attractions.
From the vintage artifacts of the Museum of Turkish Islamic Arts to the 21st-century works held in the Museum of Modern Arts, a day spent in Istanbul is well spent.
If you feel intimidated by the city's large expanse, have no fear, as there is an easier means to make your way around.
Without further ado, here is a curated list of museums you may want to include in your itinerary, as well as information regarding their visiting hours, rates, and collections on display.
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
Since 1914, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts has housed the world's most extensive collection of various Islamic art across many regions and periods.
From works of pottery, glassware, paintings, and sculptures, as well as the world's finest carpet collection, the museum is a perfect place to travel back in time to notable periods such as the Abbasi, Timurid, and Ottoman.
The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is open to visitors daily and offers museum pass options that can be bought online from their website. (This museum pass also works with other public museums in the city)
The Pera Museum was officially inaugurated in 2005 by the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation.
The museum holds three exclusive collections; "Anatolian Weights and Measures," "Orientalist Paintings," and "Kütahya Tiles and Ceramics."
Visitors are encouraged to participate in learning activities and visual events to support today's young artists.
The museum is free to visit for children, disabled individuals, as well as members of the press, while adults will be charged 25 TL or 1.45 USD as an admission rate.
The Museum of Innocence
The basis for the Museum of Innocence is a fictional novel of the same name written by the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk.
The museum was established in 2012 and held artifacts directly lifted from the novel, but even those who have not read the book can greatly appreciate its contents.
Admission tickets are always available at the museum entrance, costing about 4.17 USD. However, if you have previously owned a copy of the book, an invitation can be found on the last page.
Istanbul Toy Museum
The Istanbul Toy Museum was established in 2005 by the writer Sunday Akin to display some of the most beloved toys and tell their history.
Most of the toys on display in the museum were collected over the years from various antique stores and auctions worldwide by the founder himself.
The museum is open from 10: a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays (except for Monday) and until 8:30 p.m. on weekends.
Admission rates of the museum cost about 40 TL or 2.32 USD.
Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam
The Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam was established in 2008 by the Islamic science historian Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin.
The museum contains 12 sections on different fields of study; astronomy, war technology, medicine, physics, geometry, mining, city planning, chemistry and optics, geography, clocks and marine, architecture, and a television screening room. The museum is open daily and has an admission fee of about 40 TL or 2.32 USD.
The Naval Museum is one of the oldest standing buildings in the country.
First established in 1897 by an Ottoman Minister of Navy, the museum aims to display the most notable maritime artifacts the country has had over the years. The museum opened again in 2013 after a five-year renovation.
It is now open once more to both locals and tourists. The museum is open daily and has an admission fee of about 10 TL or 0.58 USD.
Istanbul Museum of Modern Art
The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art was established in 2004 as the country's first-ever museum to showcase modern and contemporary works by the artists of today.
Examples of work displayed in the museum are contemporary art, design, architecture, paintings, and photography.
The museum also provides learning programs for those who wish to embark on their journey of creating works of art. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday with an admission fee of about 72 TL or 4.17 USD.
Pelit Chocolate Museum
The Pelit Chocolate Museum is the only existing chocolate museum in Turkey.
The museum, established in 2013, is also next to the Pelit Chocolate Factory. Visitors can witness different works and sculptures made from chocolate, such as a chocolate village.
Children may learn and play fun activities from the museum's chocolate workshop.
The Pelit Chocolate Museum is open daily and has an admission fee of about 60 TL or 3.48 USD.
IMOGA Graphic Arts Museum
The IMOGA Graphic Arts Museum was established in 2004 and was the first printmaking museum in Turkey.
The museum's first floor houses printmaking production, while the second level contains the sculptures created by Ali Teoman Germaner.
The top floor of the building contains the area that holds most of the museum's art events and exhibits.
Visitors may also access the museum's 3D virtual tour directly from their website.
Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture
Established in 1856, the Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture building, like the Naval Museum, is one of the oldest standing architectural pieces in Turkey.
The building finally became a museum in 1937. Since then, the Istanbul Museum of Paintings and Sculpture has housed works by Henry Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Perre Bonnard.
The museum is open daily and does not require any admission fee.
The museum is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, with no admission fee required. Although Istanbul is one of the most populated cities in the world, all you'll ever need to get your way around is your itinerary, a map, and a companion for your awaited journey.
So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, bring a friend, and prepare for an extravagant journey of fun and learning! See you in Istanbul!