Istanbul Archaeology Museums

Artefacts date back more than 2000 years.
Artefacts date back more than 2000 years.

While you're in the vicinity of Topkapi Palace, make sure you take a detour and visit this incredible complex. It's divided into three areas: the Archaeology Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Tiled Pavilion.

The three museums are the home of the palace collections that were amassed during the late 19th century by museum director, artist and archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey. Since then, the collections have grown and grown. The incredible collection boasts a huge range of artefacts from 50 centuries of Turkish history, spanning several empires.

The information is top notch: interpretative panels are written in Turkish and English.

Highlights include the large glazed-brick yellow and blue panels showing animals such as lions and bulls. The panels onced lined the Ishtar gate of Babylon around 600 BC. Also, make sure you check out the stunning alabaster statue heads from Yemen – these date back to the third century BC. You can also see the world's very first political treaty, drawn up in the 13th century between the Egyptians and Hittites. There is also a huge number of sarcophagi on display – perfect for anyone who likes to combine the macabre with historical learning!

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