04-05-2018 - History Updated At: 14-06-2023

History of Turkish Islamic Art Museum

The Turkish and Islamic Art Museum Istanbul stands as a testament to the vibrant heritage of Turkey and the Islamic world. It holds the distinction of being the first museum in Turkey to showcase Turkish and Islamic art, as well as the final museum established during the Ottoman Period. Situated in the historic Ibrahim Pasha Palace, a magnificent example of Ottoman architecture, the museum is located just opposite the iconic Blue Mosque, forming a majestic backdrop for its exhibits.

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One of the standout inclusions of the Istanbul Tourist Pass® is an incredible guided tour to the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum. This immersive experience allows pass holders to delve into the rich heritage of Turkish and Islamic art, guided by knowledgeable experts who provide insights and stories that bring the exhibits to life. Visitors can explore the fascinating collections, including an extraordinary carpet section, a remarkable ceramic and glass section, and an awe-inspiring manuscripts and calligraphy section. The pass grants a hassle-free entry to the museum, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable visit.

Origins and Evolution of the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum Istanbul

In 1914, the museum was initially opened within the Süleymaniye Mosque. However, rampant thefts plagued the area, prompting the need for a new institution. Under the guidance of Osman Hamdi Bey, a renowned painter celebrated for his masterpiece "The Tortoise Trainer" displayed in the Pera Museum, a new museum called the Museum of Islamic Foundations was established. This institution sought to bring together various artifacts collected from historical sites, ensuring their preservation.


In the early years of the Turkish Republic, the museum's name was changed to the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. In 1983, after extensive restoration efforts, the museum found its new home in the Ibrahim Pasha Palace in Sultanahmet, where it remains to this day. The palace, dating back to the late 15th century, is one of the few surviving examples of palace buildings from that era.

A Treasure Trove of Artistic Splendors of the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum

The Turkish and Islamic Art Museum boasts an awe-inspiring collection of over 40,000 works, representing almost every period and facet of Islamic art. These precious artifacts were gathered from across the Islamic world and include rare examples from the Abbasid, Mamluk, Seljuk, and Ottoman eras. Some sections of the museum are so rich that they could form standalone museums in their own right.


Carpet Section of the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum: The Enchanting Tapestry

The museum's carpet section is a veritable treasure trove. Its collection, consisting of approximately 1,700 pieces, houses the world's most exceptional assemblage of carpets. These carpets span various periods, such as Seljuk, Ottoman, Anatolian, Persian, and Caucasian, from the 15th to the 17th centuries. Notable highlights include the famous Usak carpets and the mesmerizing prayer rugs. Due to its remarkable carpet collection, the museum is often referred to as the Carpet Museum.


Ceramic and Glass Section of the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum: A Journey through Time

The Turkish and Islamic Art Museum allows visitors to embark on a fascinating voyage through the history of ceramic and glass art. The collection encompasses early Islamic period ceramic works, showcasing the evolution of this art form. Notably, the museum houses mosaics, altars, and wall tiles from the Anatolian Seljuk and Principalities Period, as well as plaster decorations from the Konya Kılıcaslan Palace. The glass collection offers glimpses into the intricate craftsmanship of Islamic glass art, featuring examples from the 9th century to 15th century Mamluk lamps and Ottoman Period glass art.


Manuscripts and Calligraphy Section of the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum: A Written Legacy

The museum's manuscripts and calligraphy section offers a captivating exploration of written heritage. The collection includes Qur'ans spanning from the 7th to the 20th century, sourced from regions where Islam flourished. Among the manuscripts, books on various topics stand out for their subjects, writing styles, and volumes. Noteworthy treasures include Ottoman Sultan edicts, intricately crafted charters, Turkish and Iranian miniature manuscripts, and divans. This section cements the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art as one of the world's preeminent institutions in this field.

Embracing the World's Richest Islamic Art Collection in the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum

The Turkish and Islamic Art Museum proudly showcases the world's most extensive and diverse array of Islamic art. Its comprehensive carpet collection, significant ceramic and glass works, and captivating manuscripts and calligraphy section all contribute to its well-deserved reputation. Visitors are invited to delve into the rich tapestry of Turkish and Islamic heritage while exploring the stunning surroundings of the Blue Mosque and its vibrant square, a true feast for the senses.


Discover the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum with Istanbul Tourist Pass®! Explore the rich heritage of Turkish and Islamic art with a guided tour, included in your pass. Marvel at the exceptional carpet collection, remarkable ceramics and glass works, and captivating manuscripts and calligraphy. Unlock an immersive museum experience and embrace Istanbul's artistic legacy with Istanbul Tourist Pass®.

Frequently Asked Questions about Visiting the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum

What are the opening hours of the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum?

The museum is typically open from [insert opening hours]. However, please note that these hours may vary, so it's advisable to check the official museum website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information.

How much is the admission fee for the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum?

The admission fee for the museum can vary depending on factors such as age, residency, and special exhibitions. It is recommended to visit the official museum website or contact them directly for accurate pricing details.

Can I purchase tickets in advance for the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum?

Yes, it is possible to purchase tickets in advance for the museum. Online ticketing options may be available on the official museum website or through authorized ticketing platforms. This can help you save time and avoid long queues at the ticket counter.

Is there a dress code for visiting the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum?

As the museum is dedicated to Islamic art, it is respectful to dress modestly. It is recommended to avoid wearing revealing clothing and to dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees.

Are photography and videography allowed inside the museum?

Generally, photography and videography for personal use are permitted inside the museum. However, specific restrictions may apply to certain exhibits or artworks. It is advised to check with the museum staff or signage within the museum for any guidelines or restrictions regarding photography and videography.

Is there any guided tour available at the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum?

Yes, guided tours are often available at the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum. These tours can provide valuable insights into the collections and enhance your understanding of the artworks on display. It is recommended to inquire about guided tour schedules and availability at the museum's information desk.

Are there any audio guides or information brochures available at the museum?

Many museums provide audio guides or information brochures to enhance visitors' experience. These resources often offer detailed explanations and background information about the artworks and exhibits. Inquire at the museum's information desk to see if such resources are available for use during your visit.

Are there any dining or refreshment options inside the museum?

Some museums have cafes or dining facilities where visitors can enjoy snacks, beverages, or meals. Check the museum's website or ask the staff about on-site dining options. Alternatively, there may be nearby restaurants or cafes where you can grab a bite before or after your museum visit.

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