Are you ready to explore the dynamic and ever-evolving contemporary art scene of Istanbul?
Look no further than the Istanbul Modern Museum, one of the most important museums in the city and a must-visit destination for anyone interested in contemporary art. After being closed for renovations, Istanbul's modern art museum is finally open to visitors once again, and it's better than ever before!
In this article, we'll provide you with the essential information to plan your visit to Istanbul Modern. From tickets and opening hours to the must-see exhibitions, we've got you covered. We'll also take a look at how to get to the museum and explore some of the exciting things you can do in the area.
So, get ready to discover the eclectic world of contemporary Turkish art, and let's dive into the details!
Entrance & Tickets to Istanbul Modern Museum
- Entrance: Istanbul Modern is closed on Mondays and on January 1 and the first day of religious holidays. On Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, the museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Tickets: Tickets are available at the ticket desk on-site. Regular admission is 200 TL, while students, seniors and residents of Turkey enjoy reduced rates. Children under 12, as well as visitors with disabilities, are admitted for free. Additionally, residents of Turkey can enjoy free admission on Thursdays, while 18-25 year-olds who reside in Turkey can visit for free on Tuesdays between 2 p.m to 6 p.m. You can cross-check the current ticket prices and hours on the official website.
- Is the Istanbul Museum Card valid on this site? The Museum Card is not valid for Istanbul Modern Museum.
- Good to Know: To ensure a pleasant experience for all visitors, the Istanbul Modern Museum prohibits smoking, food, and drink in the galleries. Personal photography is allowed for non-professional use, but video-shooting is not permitted. Visitors must deposit umbrellas, large bags, backpacks, and luggage in the cloakroom.
- Travelers' Tips: With the
City Passes from Istanbul Welcome Card, you can save time & money. You can choose between the Deluxe Card or Premium Card, as well as the Saver Combo Card, designed by travel experts to help you make the most of your travel experience in Istanbul.
What is the Istanbul Modern Museum?
The Istanbul Modern Museum, founded in 2004, is Turkey's first museum of modern and contemporary art, with an impressive collection featuring works by some of the most prominent artists from Turkey and around the world.
The museum is committed to preserving Turkey's artistic heritage and showcasing its diverse cultural identity. It has gained global recognition as one of the most important contemporary art museums and was listed as one of the "52 Places to go in 2023" by The New York Times.
After a temporary relocation due to renovations, Istanbul Modern returned to its original location on the Karaköy waterfront in a new world-class building. Designed by the renowned architect Renzo Piano and inspired by the sparkling waters of the Bosphorus, the museum's new home is a breathtaking architectural masterpiece and an exciting addition to Istanbul's cultural landscape.
What can I see in the Istanbul Modern Museum?
With its unique designed building, Istanbul Modern covers an area of 10,500 square meters and features numerous exhibition halls and event spaces where you can discover a wide range of art treasures.
See below for some of the highlights that you can see at the Istanbul Modern Museum:
1. Permanent Exhibition
Istanbul Modern's permanent exhibition, located on the second floor, houses a diverse collection of works by Turkish and international artists, spanning a wide range of mediums including painting, photography, design, sculpture, video, and installation art.
The exhibition explores various themes and issues relevant to contemporary art, such as identity, globalization, and urbanization. Must-see exhibits include the iconic installation "False Ceiling" from Richard Wentworth as well as the three-part site-specific installation "Your unexpected journey" by Olafur Eliasson, which seems to hang in the air.
2. Temporary Exhibition
In addition to Istanbul Modern's permanent collection, the museum also hosts a rotating schedule of temporary exhibitions, making it a lively and ever-changing cultural hub in Istanbul.
See here two important current exhibitions:
- Floating Islands: This dynamic and diverse collection of over 270 works showcases Turkey's art scene since 1945 and presents contemporary masterpieces by national and international artists. It invites visitors to immerse themselves in a world of artistic imagination, taking you on a thought-provoking journey through the present and the past.
- In Another Place: This exhibition shows 22 never-before-seen portraits by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, an acclaimed filmmaker. The portraits, taken in diverse geographies such as India, Georgia, China, Morocco, and Turkey, capture the common human experiences that bind us together while also emphasizing the inseparability of our lives from geography. They invite visitors to feel connected to people and places they may have never experienced before.
3. Rooftop Viewing Terrace
Prepare to be amazed by one of the most exhilarating highlights of the new museum building - an observation deck perched atop the building, seemingly hovering over a tranquil, shimmering pool. This is the perfect spot to take in the breathtaking panoramic 360-degree view of the majestic Bosphorus and the captivating city that surrounds it.
Istanbul Modern's cinema is a popular destination for film enthusiasts, screening a diverse selection of films ranging from classic to contemporary productions, from local to international. The cinema also hosts film festivals and special events throughout the year.
5. Educational Programs & Library
Istanbul Modern is committed to promoting art education and offers a range of educational programs and activities for visitors of all ages. These programs include workshops, lectures, and guided tours that provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the museum's exhibitions and the broader world of contemporary art.
In addition, the museum houses a library with a comprehensive collection of books and periodicals on contemporary art and culture, making it an invaluable resource for researchers, students, and art enthusiasts.
6. Dining & Museum Shop
Istanbul Modern's restaurant is located on the first floor and offers visitors a chance to relax and recharge after a day of exploring the museum's exhibitions. In addition to delicious cuisine, the restaurant boasts stunning views of the Historical Peninsula and the Bosphorus from its outdoor terrace.
On the first floor, visitors can also find a cozy café and a museum shop showcasing unique collections of objects inspired by the museum's collection, including a selection of handcrafted accessories, gift items, and fascinating books on art and photography.
How to get to the Istanbul Modern Museum?
Istanbul Modern is located in the Karaköy neighborhood of Istanbul, along the Bosphorus Strait, and can be easily reached from many key locations in Istanbul.
- From Sultanahmet: Take the Tram T1 and go 5 stops to Tophane station. Istanbul Modern Museum is a 2-minute walk away.
- From Taksim: Take the Tram T2 and go 4 stops to Beyoğlu Tünel station. From there, it’s a 12-minute walk to the museum.
Things to do Around Istanbul Modern Museum
With its prime location at Karaköy, the surroundings offer plenty of great things to do. Here are some top recommendations for things to do around Istanbul Modern:
1. Go Shopping & Dining at Galataport Cruise Port
Located right next to Istanbul Modern, Galataport Cruise Port is a popular destination for cruise ships that dock in Istanbul. Visitors can enjoy a stroll along the scenic promenade, admire the panoramic views of the Bosphorus, indulge in some shopping and sit in one of the many restaurants or cafes to dine with a view.
- For more information, check out our complete guide to Galataport.
2. Explore the Galata Neighborhood
The Galata area, also known as the Karaköy neighborhood, is one of Istanbul's most vibrant and trendy neighborhoods. While you are here, take a stroll around the area, ascend the iconic Galata Tower and visit the local boutiques, cafes, and galleries. The best way to explore the unique character and history of this area is by joining a walking tour.
3. Go on a Bosphorus Sightseeing Tour
Indulge in the ultimate Istanbul experience by taking a tranquil boat ride along the enchanting Bosphorus, and marvel at the picturesque views of Istanbul's iconic landmarks, including the Maiden's Tower, the Dolmabahce Palace, and the Bosphorus Bridge. To make the most of this unforgettable adventure, we recommend booking a Bosphorus Cruise with our partner, Istanbul Welcome Card, departing from the Kabatas port, just a leisurely 15-minute stroll along the scenic Bosphorus promenade from Istanbul Modern.
- Don't miss out on this must-do experience, book your tickets now!
4. Take a step back in time in Dolmabahce Palace
For a glimpse of Ottoman grandeur, venture out to the Dolmabahce Palace, conveniently located right next to the departure point of the Bosphorus Cruise. Hop on the tram line T1 from Istanbul Modern and in just two stops, you'll be transported to this magnificent palace, where you can marvel at the opulent interiors and relive the glory days of the Ottoman Empire. Don't forget to capture the stunning views of the Bosphorus from the palace's gardens, one of the most Instagrammable places in the city.
- Make sure to buy your Dolmabahce Palace Ticket in advance to skip the lines and save time!
- Check out our complete guide to Dolmabahce Palace and read about the history, things to do, opening hours and more.
5. Discover Must-See Sights in Sultanahmet
After exploring the modern art scene, head to the historic Sultanahmet neighborhood and immerse yourself in Istanbul's rich cultural heritage. Take a short and convenient tram ride on the T1 line to discover Istanbul's most iconic attractions, including the awe-inspiring
- To make the most of your visit, we recommend the Istanbul Combo Ticket & Tour, which provides hassle-free access to 3 top sights with knowledgeable guides and audio guides in 7 languages.
Tip: Make the most out of your visit to Istanbul with the Istanbul Welcome Card, the ultimate travel companion that offers multiple city passes designed to help you save time and money.
This must-have city pass offers fast entry tickets to a range of top attractions in Istanbul, guided tours to explore the city like a local, a Bosphorus tour, an audio guide app in 9 languages, discounts to restaurants and shops, and a ticket for public transportation to get around hassle-free.