The Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam is one of the top museums in Istanbul. It is situated in Gülhane Park below the magnificent Topkapi Palace, in the sultan's former stable building.
An impressive collection of more than 800 detailed reconstructions of discoveries and inventions by Arab-Islamic scientists of the 9th to 16th centuries takes visitors on a unique journey through the fields of astronomy, technology, physics, architecture, medicine, war technology and many more.
In this article, read all you need to know before your visit, including history, entrance & tickets, how to get there, and more.
Things to do at the Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam
The Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam, the first museum of its kind in Turkey, is considered groundbreaking, as it is the first to comprehensively present the historical development of science in Islamic civilization in a wide range of disciplines.
With an exhibition area of 3550 square meters spread over two floors, the museum presents scientific exhibits, drawings, maps, tools and devices invented and developed by Islamic scholars between the 9th and 16th centuries. The impressive collection is displayed in a systematic arrangement that enhances the visitor's experience.
The exhibition is divided into the following sections:
- Cinevision Screening Room
- War Technology
- Math & Geometry
- Architecture & City Planning
- Chemistry and Optics
Highlights you should not miss:
Globe: Before entering the historic building, pay attention to the globe, a reconstruction of one of the most important scientific-historical achievements of Arab-Islamic geography. Take a look at the world map with spherical projection made on behalf of the caliph Al-Ma’mûn (reigned 813-833 AD), which reflects the geography of the then known world in astonishing accuracy.
Garden: Visit the Botanical Garden of Ibn-i Sina. Here you will find those 26 species of medicinal plants listed in the second volume of Ibn-i Sina's al-Kanun fi't-Tıbb book.
Elephant Clock: This masterpiece by the remarkable engineer Ismail al-Jazari can be found in the entrance hall. The moving parts of the elephant clock were automated using a water-powered timer inspired by an Indian mechanism, so that the timer of the clock (a bowl) would slowly drop into a hidden water tank.
Steam powered Turn-spit: This interesting exhibit is located in the physics room. It was built from the writings of an Ottoman scholar who lived in the 16th century.
World Map: Don’t miss the copy of the world map drawn by one of the most famous cartographers, Muhammad al-Idrisi.
Entertainment machine: This machine dates from the 11th-century. What makes it special is that it operates a scene with moving figures with the help of water power.
Mechanical clock: Keep an eye out for the mechanical clock made by the Ottoman polymath Taqi ad-Din, which dates back to 1559.
Al-Khazini’s Scale: What is interesting about the scale described in Abdurrahman Al-Khazini's book is that it works on the principle of water and weight. In his book, he explains a very precise hydrostatic scale that can be used to distinguish fake from real gems and metals based on the specific gravity.
Celestial Globe: Among the museum’s most fascinating pieces is a replica of a celestial globe made based on descriptions and illustrations from Al-Şūfı's Book of Fixed Stars, which was published in 964 AD.
Entrance, Tickets & Tours to the Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam
How to get to Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam?
The Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam is located inside Gülhane Park, below Topkapi Palace, in Istanbul’s Fatih district.
From Sultanahmet: From Sultanahmet Square, you can reach the museum after an 8-minute walk.
From Taksim: The easiest way to get to the museum is to take the funicular F1 to Kabataş. At Kabataş Station, take the tram T1 and go 6 stops to Gülhane Station. The museum is just steps away from the station.
Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam
The Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam is located inside Gülhane Park, below Topkapi Palace, in the former Imperial Stable Building of the Sultan. It lies on the Historical Peninsula of Istanbul, in Istanbul's Fatih district.
The easiest way to get to the museum from Taksim Square is to take the funicular F1 to Kabataş. At Kabataş Station take the tram T1 and go 6 stops to Gülhane Station. The museum is just steps away from the station.
From Sultanahmet Square, it is just an 8-minute walk.
The Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam is open every day. In the summer season (April 1 - October 31) it is open from 09:00 to 19:30, in the winter season (October 31 - April 1) from 09:00 to 17:30.
Historical Facts & Info about the Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam
Opened in May 2008, the Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam was founded by Prof. Dr. med. Fuat Sezgin, a true pioneer in the research of Islamic science culture in Arabic. One of the cooperation partners is the Goethe University in Frankfurt.
The collection shows valuable discoveries and scientific-historical processing of the tireless research of Dr. med. Fuat Sezgin. Most of the approximately 800 exhibits were reconstructed on the basis of illustrations and descriptions in Arabic, Persian and Turkish original versions – in some cases in their Latin or Spanish translations – by the Institute of the History of Arabic-Islamic Sciences of Goethe University.
The Museum of the History of Science and Technology is widely recognized for its aesthetics and didactics of science objects, as well as the harmony of experience and learning. The state museum forms an important bridge that serves the exchange of east-western knowledge culture and is today one of the most important museums in Istanbul.
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