Istanbul Archaeology Museum is the first institution in Istanbul and Turkey designed as a museum. It is also marked as one of the ten most important world-class museums designed and used as a dedicated museum building.
In order to understand this unique culture, it is highly recommended to make a journey in the corridors of the Archeology Museum and trace the remains of ancient civilisations from Archaic Era to the Roman Era and Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Empire.
Istanbul Archaeology Museum consists of two separate buildings.
I) THE FIRST BUILDING (OLD BUILDING)
Its building was begun in 1881 by Osman Hamdi Bey and then with the additions in 1902 and 1908 it was completed. It was built by Alexander Vallaury. The exterior section of the structure was completed by inspiring from the İskender Tomb and Crying Women tombs reflecting a beautiful example of neoclassical constructions in Istanbul.
On the upper floor of the two storeyed building It is found pots, small stone works and pans, small terracotta statues, the Treasure Department and approximately 800.000 Ottoman coins, seals, decorations, medals and Non-Muslim and Muslim Coin Cabinets, in which coin moulds were kept, and a Library including approximately 70.000 books.
On the bottom floor parts of the structure, famous tombs are exhibited such as Crying Women Tomb, İskender Tomb, Satrap Tomb, Lykia Tomb, Tabnit Tomb located in the Sayda king graveyard.
On the bottom floor, except for the exhibitions of tombs, there is ancient period statuary displayed in a place found statues and relics from important antic cities and regions. In this display, the development of the art of statuary to the Byzantium Period from the Archaic Period is showed in chronological order with outstanding samples.
II) ADDITIONAL BUILDING (NEW BUILDING)
Attached to the southeast of the main building, the additional building consists of six flats. Storages under the ground floor are taken place in the two flats.
The four flats of the building are organised as exhibition halls. On the main floor of the construction there is an inscription “Istanbul for Ages”, “Anatolia and Troia for Ages” on the second floor and “Surrounding Cultures of Anatolia: Cyprus, Syria-Palestine” on the top floor. There is Infant Museum and architectural works show on the first floor of the additional building. The Thrakia-Bithynia and Byzantium exhibit the hall, which was opened in August 1998, can be visited on the floor with the name of “Surrounding Cultures of Istanbul”.
The museum has received the European Council Museum Award in 1991, which is its 100. Establishment Anniversary, with the new arrangement made in the lower floor halls and the Additional Building display.
OLD EASTERN WORKS MUSEUM
Built by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1883 as Sanayi-i Nefise (Fine Arts School), the building, which was regulated as a museum with the works made between 1917-1919 and 1932-1935. The building, which was closed for visits in 1963, was reopened again in 1974 with a new display by changing the inner parts.
On the upper floor of the two-storey building, Anatolian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Arabic works of art are exhibited. Statue of Naramsin, the king of Akad, the Kadeş Agreement and Zincirli statue are the unique works of art in the museum.
Moreover, in this museum there is a “Tablet Archive” including 75.000 documents with cuneiform writings.
ENAMELED KIOSK MUSEUM
Built by the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1472 , the kiosk is one of the oldest structures of Ottoman architecture style in Istanbul. It has been used as Müze-i Hümayun (Empire Museum) in between 1875-1891. It was opened to public in 1953 with the name of Fatih Museum where Turkish and Islamic works of art were showed and it was moved to Istanbul Archaeology Museums due to its settlement.
The entrance part of the kiosk is single-flat and the back part is of two-flatted. There is a marble porch with 14 columns in the entrance. The entrance yard is ornamented with mosaic enamels. Various porcelains and ceramics belonging to the Seljuk and Ottoman period are exhibited in the Kiosk that composes of 6 rooms and a middle hall. Approximately 2000 works of art are found in the museum and its stores.