Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum (Guided Tour)

Free with Istanbul Tourist Pass

Regular Price: € 11

3.5 18 Reviews
#10 in Istanbul

What's There?

Visit the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum and see the world's largest carpet collection including rare carpets from the Seljuk Empire, Iranian and Caucasian regions, collections of hand-written calligraphy, imperial edicts, ancient Qurans and many other written works. Admire the collections of wooden, glass, ceramic and stone articles by artists from former Islamic regions on display.

The museum was originally located in the soup kitchen of the Süleymaniye Mosque complex and later relocated to its current location in the İbrahim Paşa Palace, next to the Blue Mosque.

What's Included?

An amazing skip-the-line guided tour where you will be able to visit the magnificent museum and former palace.

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum (Guided Tour) is free with Istanbul Tourist Pass

Regular Price € 11

Avoid paying the €11 tour fee to the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum and skip the ticket queues with Istanbul Tourist Pass.

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Hours & Schedule

  • Monday: NO TOURS - the museum is closed
  • Tuesday to Sunday: 09:00

The approximate duration is 45 minutes

View Timetable

How To Get There?

Where to meet

The tour starts at the main bus stop for the Big Bus Tour Company at Sultanahmet Square. Look out for the dark red double-decker buses. It's about 20 metres (65 ft) in front of the Hagia Sophia Museum.

Getting there

To get to Sultanahmet Square, take the T1 Bağılar - Kabataş tram and get off at Sultanahmet station. Walk towards Hagia Sophia and keep an eye out for the Big Bus stop.

Get Directions

Remember

  • The guided tours are performed in English.
  • The tour starts at the meeting point which is the Big Bus Company bus stop in Sultanahmet. Click "Get Directions" above to find the location on Google Maps.
  • The tour doesn't require a reservation in advance.
  • Istanbul Tourist Pass holders do not pay admission at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts.
  • Children will be asked to present their passport at the entrance to confirm their age.
  • Please note that this attraction cannot be accessed directly by presenting the digital Pass at the museum. You need to enter with the tour guide.
  • The museum is only open for half a day on the first day of Ramadan and the Sacrifice Festivals.

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Learn More

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum is one of the most significant historical centers in all of Istanbul as it is the primary Turkish exhibition hall presenting many of the important examples of Turkish and Islamic art together. If you are keen on history, and/or doing an old city tour in Istanbul, don't miss this one and visit it during your time in Istanbul. To learn everything you need to know about the place, here are the history and some facts about Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum.
 

History of Turkish And Islamic Arts Museum

The building the museum is in today was built back in the 15th or 16th century during the reign of Bayezid II. When exactly it was constructed is unknown, but it is known that it was given to Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha by Suleiman the Magnificent, who was his second grand vizier. The place was named Ibrahim Pasha Palace and following the Ibrahim Pasha’s passing, the palace retained its name and became a government asset for the next 250 years. It was given to various government officials who were married into the royal family. Ibrahim Pasha Palace is the only private palace from the Ottomans that has survived until today except for some sultan palaces, so you can say building that houses Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum is a historical artifact in itself.
Originally, Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum was opened to visitors in the Suleymaniye Mosque’s social complex in 1913. It received its current name after the restoration work to transform the Ibrahim Pasha Palace to a museum. These restorations started in 1966 and lasted until 1981. In 1983, it officially opened its doors to visitors as Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum and has been open to this date.
 

Important Artifacts in Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum

There are many different sections in Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum. Each section has enough artifacts to be a museum by itself with their many various artifacts. You should see all of them during your visit of the museum, but there are a couple of artifacts that stand out from the rest with their looks and/or their history.
 

Damascus Documents

Some of the earliest examples of the Islamic Art, these are important historical and religious documents. Various Qur’an parchments, documents about Damascus’ history, Qur’an roll manuscripts and documents on different Islamic arts are some of the highlights.
 

Old Door of the Cizre Ulu Camii (Great Mosque)

Rescued from the Great Mosque in Cizre, this double wing door is believed to have belonged to Artuqids. It is covered with bronze plates and has a wooden skeleton. Its ornaments are made from brass sticks and plaques. There are 3 medallions that symbolize infinity with a twelve-armed star on the center on each wing of the door. On the middle of the both wings, you can see the door handles that have two dragons with a lion head on the middle. The epitaph that sits on top of the door is written in the thuluth font.
 

Carpets and Rugs Section

One of the most striking sections is the carpets and rugs of varying sizes displayed in the huge saloons with display windows. Huge hand-woven Ottoman carpets are truly impressive and have unbelievable details. There are also carpets from Seljuk Turks displayed here, which are the only Seljuk carpets that survived until today. This collection that’s made of 13th to 20th century Ottoman and Seljuk carpets is one of the world’s best collections of hand-woven carpets. With enough observation, you can tell the fantastic stylistic differences between Ottoman and Seljuk carpets and rugs.
 

Religious Relics

To see some of the rarest artifacts regarding Islamic history, visit the religious relics section in Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum. There are many different religious manuscripts, Qur’ans and epitaphs. This section also hosts the striking fragments of Prophet Muhammad’s beard and one of his footsteps, which draws a lot of Muslims from around the world.
 

Wooden Relics

If you wish to witness the wooden arts of the 9-10th century Anatolia, visit the wooden relics segment. There are a wide range of examples of wooden craftsmanship from Anatolian Seljuks, Period of Principalities and Ottomans. There are wooden relics with inscriptions on them, different Qur'an parts, various Ottoman furniture like foot stools and drawers, some examples of marquetry and more.
 

19th Century Ethnography Exhibition

The museum’s ethnography part displays some of the important elements of the 19th century Istanbul such as traditional Ottoman clothes, Turkish baths, coffee houses, picnic areas and Karagoz & Hacivat shows.
 


Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum Entrance Fee and Visiting Hours

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum visiting hours are different depending on which season you visit in. During winter time which is between 1 October and 1 April, it is open to visit every day except Mondays from 9 AM to 5 PM. During summer time between 1 April and 1 October, it is open every day except Mondays from 9 AM to 6 PM. Since it gets a lot of attraction from both the locals and the tourists, we recommend you to visit it earlier in the day to skip the crowds.
Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum’s entrance fee is 42 Turkish Liras for adults and there isn’t any discount for students. However, Istanbul Museum Pass is accepted, so if you are planning on going to a lot of museums tours in Istanbul, it is recommended that you get one. You can buy a Museum Pass in Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum. If you do not want a Museum Pass, you can get your Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum tickets from the ticket booth at the entrance or book a Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum guided tour and skip the line.
 

How to Get to Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum

The museum is in Sultan Ahmet Square, very close to the Blue Mosque, which is in the Fatih district of Istanbul. It is a very common place for both tourists and locals, so transportation is quite simple. The most common method is using the Kabatas – Bagcilar tramway and getting off at the Sultanahmet station. From there, it is a 5-minute walk.
To get to the Kabatas – Bagcilar tramway from the Asian side, you can use the ferries to Eminonu from Kadikoy or Uskudar.