The Istanbul Archaeology Museums, located just below Topkapi Palace, is a complex consisting of two additional separate buildings, which house the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Islamic Ceramics Museum (Tiled Kiosk). In 1991, it was awarded the Council of Europe Museum Prize.
The museum was founded in 1891 during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II by the painter and archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey. The neo-classical building contains about 15,000 valuable objects from Mesopotamia, including Babylonian and Egyptian antiquity, Pre- and Early Greek Anatolia, and Pre-Islamic and Islamic-Arabic culture.
Particularly worth seeing is the exceptional Alexander Sarcophagus with its beautiful marble reliefs, which dates back to 310 BC and is still undestroyed.
In addition, numerous other objects are exhibited in a total of 36 different rooms, including sculptures from the Greek, Roman and Byzantine era as well as finds from the early history of Istanbul.
The Museum of the Ancient Orient exhibits Hittite cuneiform tablets from Bogazkale, including one of the Egyptian-Hittite peace treaty, which was declared by the UNESCO as World Heritage, the colossal statue of Zeus, the Head of the Serpent Column of the Hippodrome, bronzeware from Cyprus, Greek vases and coins as well as items from Troy.
The Tiled Kiosk (Çinili Kösk) was reopened after a restoration in 2005 and exhibits stunning examples of the traditional Ottoman art. Among other things, the collection features colored tiles, which are protected by a special glaze. The tulip motif in azure-blue was particularly popular at that time.
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