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The magical land of Istanbul is a cultural and historical treasure chest waiting to be unlocked. Here we look at five must see Istanbul Museums. Starting with the Historical Hagia Sophia and winding up with the Istanbul modern. Discover the rich history and creativity of the Turkish people in what are considered some of the best museums of the world.
Hagia Sophia Museum
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Few buildings in the world have as much history as Hagia Sophia, whose history dates back to the year 360. The current building, now a museum, was once an Orthodox Cathedral and later an imperial mosque. For almost a thousand years, Hagia Sophia stood as the world’s largest cathedral. The building is one of the greatest surviving pieces of Byzantine architecture, and considered by many to be one of the most significant architectural feats in the world.
The Kariye Museum is housed within the magnificent Chora Church building, steeped in more than 1600 years of history. Like the Hagia Sophia, it is considered a huge milestone in Byzantine architecture. The building’s interior contains numerous beautifully preserved mosaics and frescos, some presented just as they were when they were created hundreds of years ago.
Istanbul Archaeology Museum
This important museum was Turkey’s first, and one of the largest museums in the world with more than a million Greek, Roman and Byzantine works. It is broken up into three museums – the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Museum of Islamic Art. One of the museum’s most famous pieces is the Kadesh Peace Treaty, which was signed between Ramesses II and Hattusili III in 1258 BC.
Rahmi M. Koç Museum
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The Rahmi M. Koc Museum is the only major museum in Turkey dedicated to transport, industry and communications. Opened by a member of Turkey’s richest family in 1994, this museum is home to a huge range of historically significant exhibits, from submarines and aircraft to an olive oil factory and 1902 phonograph.
After immersing yourself in the rich history of the other museums, Istanbul Modern offers a refreshing taste of Turkey’s contemporary art scene. Behind the walls of this converted warehouse lie two floors of modern art exhibitions, a shop, restaurant, cinema and an arts library.
With some of the best museums in the world and so many cheap flights to Istanbul available, discovering the fascinating history of this destination is easier than ever.
About the Author: Lauren Buvill+ – loves to travel and explore the man made and natural wonders of the world