Sakip Sabancı Museum
#20 in Istanbul
Fall in love with Tukish art and culture
The Sakip Sabancı Museum is one of the most renowned private fine art museums in Istanbul. It is located in the beautiful area of Emirgan with a lovely view of the Bosphorus.
At the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, you can view a unique collection of paintings that show the development of Turkish art from the Ottoman period through to the Turkish Republic. There are beautiful international works as well, but these Turkish examples of modernisation in Turkish art are a very important cultural treasure.
The Museum you see today is actually the former summer house of the famous Sabancı family and is preserved exactly as it was when they lived there. This gives visitors the chance to see the beautiful furniture and decorative objects they collected at a time when society in Turkey was modernising and westernising in the 19th century. The Museum often hosts conferences, seminars, concerts, educational programs and special art events. Highlights of past events include "Picasso in Istanbul'' and "Master Sculptor Rodin in Istanbul".
This is a lesser known museum in Istanbul but is a real jewel. Take a cruise up the Bosphorus, hop off at Emirgan and give yourself lots of time to explore this beautiful space and soak up the rich artistic and cultural history you'll find there.
Hours & Schedule
- Monday: The museum is closed
- Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 - 18:00
How To Get There?
You can get to the Sakip Sabancı Museum using the Hop-on & Hop-off Boat Tour provided for free with the Istanbul Tourist Pass. Get off at the port of Emirgan, turn right and walk until you see the museum on your left hand side.
- No reservation is required. Just go to the museum and present your digital Pass
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If you are planning a trip to Istanbul and don’t want to miss it’s artistic and intellectual culture, there are plenty of museums that you should not pass. Sakip Sabanci Museum is one of those museums that will provide you with many different exhibitions of artists from different nationalities while also presenting you Ottoman artistry as well.
The museum is located in one of the oldest settlement areas of Istanbul, Emirgan. It is one of the most beautiful villages of Bosporus and enchants the visitors with its judas trees on Spring, historic wooden houses and cute little cafés. Let us first introduce you a brief history of the museum and then provide you with a guide on things to do in Sakip Sabanci Museum and Emirgan district.
The main building of the museum is a mansion built in 1925 by the orders of a Prince Mehmed Ali Hasan from the Egyptian Khedive Family, by an Italian architect Edoardo De Nari. Then it has been home to that family for a long time. In 1951 the mansion was bought by Sabanci Family and started being called after the horses placed in front of the mansion. One of them was sculpted by a French sculptor named Louis Domas in 1864, the other was a replica of one of the four horses taken from Sultan Ahmet Square during the 4th Crusades and placed in front of Saint Marco Church in 1204. After it was used by the Sabanci Family, it was donated to Sabanci University to be converted into a museum with its calligraphy and painting collection inside. Later, in 2002, a modern gallery was added and and by a restoration in 2005 the museum gained its final form. Today, it hosts international temporary exhibitions, education programs, various concerts, conferences and seminars besides its wonderful collection.
Visiting Sakip Sabanci Museum
The museum is open on Tuesday, Thursday,
Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 to 18.00. Ticket sale stops when there’s
half an hour left to closing time. For an extended and joyous visit, our
recommendation is to come earlier. The price for the ticket is 30 Turkish liras
which is 5 euros. Discounts are applied for groups of at least ten people. It
is good to be reminded that the museum is closed on religious holidays and on
the 1st of January.
There are three permanent collections in Sakip Sabanci Museum. The first one of them is Furniture and Decorative Works Collection placed on the first floor. The collection is gathered from the furniture and objects that Sabanci Family used during their stay in the mansion. Sevres Vases decorated with Napoleon’s blazon, Bohemian chandeliers and accessories that feeds their essence are displayed in this section. They are mirroring the Ottoman Empire’s transformation in social and societal means on its last period. On this period, buildings in the European baroque, rococo, neo-gothic, neo-classic and imperial tradition are built in the Bosporus line including the mansion containing this museum.
The second collection which is considered as the main collection of the museum is called Book Arts and Calligraphy Exhibition. Sakip Sabanci started this exhibition by buying a plaque that was handwritten by Mahmud II. Between 1808 and 1839. Famous calligraphists’ beautiful writings, prayer books, sultan’s signatures and Qur’an transcripts and many handwritten artistic works are presented to the visitor in this section. Also tools made of silver or organic materials like coral, ivory and tortoise shell are present. Painting Collection used to be displayed under the name of “Turkish Painting from Tanzimat Reform Era to the Republic”. However, the collection is now removed because of preparations for a new exhibiton. Still you can see the works of Raphael as well as famous Turkish painters like Fikret Mualla or Osman Hamdi Bey alongside with many more famous painters. The collection stands as a representation of the transformation in the image production and the evolution of the notions of “art” and “artist” as well as the clues from the modernization process.
The museum is not all about the permanent collections but also hosts several temporary exhibitions as we mentioned before. For example, Osman Hamdi Bey Beyond Vision, Avni Lifij Modern of His Time are current exhibitions. There has been exhibitions of Claude Monet, Heinz Mack and many famous Turkish artists. It hosts many events of conferences and seminars by professors from around the world as well. One example from the current agenda is the Preservation of Technological Art Works.
If this is your first time in Istanbul, there’s nothing to worry. Going to Sakip Sabanci Museum is very easy. You may be concerned how to reach the city centre from the airport so let’s begin from your arrival to Istanbul. You can take Istanbul Airport Shuttle or have a Private Istanbul Airport Transfer. All the buses that pass through Emirgan Cinaralti bus stop will take you to Emirgan district. 22RE, 25E, 22 or 40 are four of them. If you prefer to use the sea road you can take the ferries that go to Emirgan Pier. From Emirgan Pier you can take the ferry to Istinye, Kanlica, Cengelkoy or Bebek on your way back. If you love traveling by sea, Bosphorus tours will mesmerize you. It is good to consider Bosporus tours as well before you conclude your Istanbul trip.
While you are at Emirgan you might want to visit other attraction sites of it as well. It is a good idea to have a quick Emirgan tour either before or after your visit to Sakip Sabanci Museum. Emirgan Mosque, Serifler Mansion, Khediv Ismail Pasha Mansion and White Manor are beautiful constructions you can visit in Emirgan. You can have a tea or two at Emirgan Sutis which is a famous restaurant and is packed on a sunny weekend day. Cinaralti Café is a symbolic place that makes Emirgan, Emirgan. You might also drink your tea and have a rest there. Finally, Emirgan Korusu, the coppice, is like the garden of Eden with its colourful flowers, trees and plants from purple to orange. It is very close to the museum so after you are done with exploring the museum this is a great place to catch your breath and relax.