Istanbul Museums
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Istanbul Archaeological Museums

Istanbul Archaeological Museum is a complex of three museums: the Museum of Oriental Antiquities, the Archaeological Museum and the Tiled Pavilion Museum.The complex is located in the gardens in the first court of the Topkapi Palace. There are sixty - thousand archaeological treasures, seven - hundred - sixty thousand coins and medallions, and seventy - five thousand clay tablets in these three museums.

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The Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum was founded by the famous painter, archaeologist and curator of the time, Osman Hamdi, and opened to the public on June 13, 1981 under the name Muze-i Humayun ( the Imperial Musem ). The museum, which was rearranged and enlarged by the addition of a new wing to the building, was reopened to the public on its centennial. The gate of this majestic building designed by architect Valaury is monumental.
In the halls to the right of the entrance, examples of “ Antique Age Sculpture ” are exhibited. Unique examples of sculpture from the Archaic age until the end of Roman era are exhibited in the halls of “Antique Grave Stones and Reliefs” , “ Treasures from Persian in Anatolia ” , ”Kenan Erim Hall Aphrodisias Relics, ‘’ Three Marble Cities in Anatolia ‘’ ( Epheesus, Miletus, Aphrodisias ), ‘’Hellenistic Sculpture’’, ‘’Magnesia AD Meandrum and Tralles ( Aydın ) Statue Groups ’’ ‘’Helenistic and Helenistic Influenced Roman Sculpture’’, Roman Art of Portrait Making’’ , ‘’Roman Empire Sculpture’’. The majority of these artifacts was discovered during the excavations of the ancient cities in Anatolia. Following the counters, where souvenirs and books are sold, on the left the entrance, is the hall dedicated to Osman Hamdi, the founder of the museum. Right after this hall, treasures unearthed during the excavation of the Royal Cemetery in Sidon are exhibited. Excavation of the Cemetery was carried on by Osman Hamdi, himself.

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The first of the three sarcophagi standing side by side belongs to Tabnit, the king of Sidon. A unique Lician sarcophagus and a Satrap sarcophagus are also found in this hall. Next comes the world famous Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great and the Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women. Both of these were discovered during the excavation of Royal Cemetery in Sidon and they date back to the century B.C. Various architectural fragments are displayed in the annex building .In its ground level is the hall of ‘’Antique Age Anatolian Architecture’’ and in the first storey is the hall of ‘’ Istanbul Though the Centuries ’’. On the second storey, small archaeologial finds belonging to the Paleolithie age, Early, Middle and Late Bronze ages and the Frigian State age in Anatolia are displayed under the heading ‘’ Anatolia Through the Centuries and Troy ’’. A section of this hall is reserved for the artifacts found in Troy and the tresures discovered in the settlements I-IX are displayed in separate showcases.
On the third storey, under the heading of Civilizations in Anatolia and Its Vicinity , treasures discovered in Cyprus, Paletsine and Syria are displayed in chronological order.

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The Museum of Oriental Antiquities
The building housing the museum was constructed in 1883 to house the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1974, it was turned into a museum to exhibit the treasures of Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Arab and early Anatolian civilizations. Archives of Clay Tablets bearing cuneiform script occupies the ground floor. With its approximately sevent-five thousand pieces, the collection ranks second in the world after the British Museum.
The Tiled Pavilion
It is the first pavilion built in the Topkapi palace complex by Mehmet, the Conqueror, in 1492. Its facade, decorated with columns and arches, and the decorations of its antechamber and tiled walls are typical examples of Seljouk influenced early Otoman architecture.
The antechamber is decorated with a long incription created by multicolored, cut tiles.
Vaulted rooms surround the domed interior chamber. Twelfth to 19th century Seljouk and Ottoman tiles and ceramics displated in the rooms in chronological order. Attractive 16th century Iznik tiles are also on exhibit in the museum.