Housed in an old palace overlooking the Hippodrome the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts charts the history, influences and changes in Islamic art through the use of pottery, tiles, artefacts, calligraphy, glass and metal work, manuscripts and friezes.
There are some wonderful exhibits, especially the beautiful calligraphy and decorated manuscripts, vibrantly coloured tiles and also the exquisite, elaborate pins and brooches used to decorate turbans.
The later galleries and the Main Ceremonial Hall contain one of the world’s foremost collection of antique carpets. The exhibition explains the different types of carpets and how some styles are named after certain artists i.e. Holbein, because they were featured in paintings by those artists. In the west Turkish carpets were so prized that they were used as table coverings rather than on the floor, thus showing the wealth of those who owned them.
The museum also has an Ethnographical Section which includes a reconstruction of a traditional Yurt dwelling and also details of how natural dyes are made from such things as plants, dried flowers and even crushes insects.
All the exhibits are well displayed with descriptions in Turkish and English. There is a lot to take in however the museum also has a lovely tea room where you can refresh your senses and feet and, in summer, sit out on the terrace with beautiful views over the Blue Mosque.
At Meydani 46, Sultanahmet
Overlooking the Hippodrome, opposite the Blue Mosque.
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