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Top 10 Most Visited
Museums in Istanbul

Istanbul museums are the point of attraction for tourists. Among the historical museums of Istanbul, you should definitely visit the Topkapi Palace and its harem, the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, the Dolmabahce Palace, where Leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk died, or the mystical Cistern Basilica.


The Istanbul museum card price has been determined as 60 Turkish Liras in 2022. The museum card fee can be obtained by paying 60 Turkish Liras in 2022.

Visiting the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museums in Istanbul, right across from the Blue Mosque, is also one of Istanbul's classics. All these museums with different themes from science to maritime make us understand the contemporary face of Istanbul. 



Art lovers should definitely visit the Istanbul Modern Museum, Pera and Elgiz Museums. Technology enthusiasts can visit the Rahmi M. Koc Museum and the Islamic Science and Technology History Museum.


  1. Topkapi Palace and Harem
  2. Istanbul Archeology Museum
  3. Dolmabahce Palace
  4. Beylerbeyi Palace Museum
  5. Rumeli Fortress
  6. The Great Palace Mosaics Museum
  7. Hagia Irene Museum
  8. Basilica Cistern
  9. Istanbul Modern Museum
  10. Galata Tower Museum


1. Topkapi Palace and Harem – The Most Famous Museums in Istanbul


Topkapi Palace is one of the most famous museums in Istanbul and the first destination tourist attraction in Istanbul and is a part of the historical peninsula that has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1985.

The construction of Topkapi Palace began by the conqueror Sultan Mehmet in 1453, right after the conquest of Constantinople. The first part of the building was completed in 1468. Until 1478, the palace was expanded.



The Harem in Topkapı Istanbul Museum


Harem is the exciting, that is, the most attractive part of Topkapi Palace, which is the most secluded and private part. It is known that the sultans lived in the Topkapi Palace until the Mother of the Queens and the sultans, the sultan's children, wives and concubines moved to the Dolmabahce Palace in 1853 in the Harem. Although it is claimed by some historians that Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566) lived in the Harem, there is no document.


In the past, there were about 300 rooms in the Harem. Of course, only some of them are available today. Europeans have been the subject of curiosity about the life in the harem. The harem hides intrigue and interesting story within its walls.


Address: Topkapı Sarayı, Cankurtaran Mahallesi, Sultanahmet, Fatih

Visiting Hours: If you want to visit the Topkapi Palace Istanbul museum, it opens at 10:00 am on weekdays and closes at 17:30 in the evening.

You can visit the palace between 10.30 am and 17.30 pm on weekends.

Ticket sales end at 16:00. The last entrance time to the museum is 16.30.

Entrance Fee: The entrance fee to Topkapi Palace – Istanbul museum is 60 Turkish Liras. You can buy tickets for the Harem section for 40 Turkish Lirasand for the Hagia Eirene Museum for 30 Turkish Liras.


2. Istanbul Archaeological Museum 


Istanbul Archeology Museums is a museum complex consisting of 3 main units. Archeology Museum, Museum of Ancient Oriental Works and Tiled Kiosk Museum. In the collections of Istanbul Archeology Museums, Turkey's first museum, there are nearly one million artifacts from various cultures brought from the imperial lands. It is located near the Topkapi Palace.

It includes approximately 15,000 archaeological fragments collections from the prehistoric, Mesopotamian, Assyrian, Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods, as well as Islamic and Islamic Arab units.



Address: Alemdar Caddesi, Osman Hamdi Bey Yokusu, Gulhane 

Visiting Hours: Istanbul Archeology Museum is open every day. You can visit the museum between 09.00 am - 18.30 pm. You can buy tickets up to 18:00 pm.

Istanbul Archeology Museum Entrance Fee: As of 2022, the entrance fee to the Istanbul Archeology Museum is 60 Turkish Liras. Another curious thing about the entrance fees is whether the museum card is valid or not. It should be noted that it is possible to enter the Istanbul Archeology Museum with a museum card.


3. The magnificent Istanbul Museum - Dolmabahce Palace 


Dolmabahce Palace was built on a 600-meter-long building, consisting of 46 halls, 285 rooms, 6 baths and 68 baths, on an area of 45,000 square meters by European architects.

Inside the Dolmabahce Palace, they admire the great collection of European antiquity, the beautiful painting, the favorite, handmade silk carpets, and the 4.5-ton crystal chandelier, the largest chandelier in the world.

The palace has very important to the Turkish people, as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, spent his last days here and passed away on 10.11.1938.

You can also visit the clock museum and painting museum via the garden of Dolmabahce Palace. 



Address: Dolmabahce Sarayi, Visnezade Mahallesi, Dolmabahce Caddesi, Besiktas

Visiting hours: You can visit the palace every day of the week except Mondays. Visiting hours are from 09:00 to 18:00.

The entrance fee for the Dolmabahce Palace Istanbul Museum, which is one of the historical places that must be seen and visited in Istanbul is 50 Turkish Liras. The entrance fee to Selamlik, the largest part of the palace, is 50 Turkish Liras. The entrance fee to the Harem is 40 Turkish Liras.


4. Beylerbeyi Palace Museum - The Unique Museum on Istanbul's Asian side


Beylerbeyi Palace museum in Istanbul is located on the Asian side of the city and offers magnificent views of the Bosphorus and the old city.

Beylerbeyi Palace served as the summer house of the sultans and a place where foreign heads of state such as the third wife of Napoleon III, Queen Eugenie, King of Montenegro Queen Elisabeth, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Russian Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich were hosted.

Visiting this museum in Istanbul is the best opportunity for travelers to go to the other side of the Bosphorus, learn more about the ancient empire and marvel at another incredible monument. 



Address: Beylerbeyi Palace, Beylerbeyi Mah., Abdullah Ağa Caddesi, Beylerbeyi

Visiting hours: Beylerbeyi Palace is open to visitors every day between 09:00 and 18:00 except Mondays.

The entrance fee to Beylerbeyi Palace, which fascinates everyone with its architecture and magnificent design, is 40 Turkish Liras for domestic tourists as of September 2022. The entrance fee for foreigners is 60 Turkish Liras and free with the museum card.


5. Rumeli Fortress - The Symbols of the Conquest of Istanbul


Rumeli Fortress Museum in Istanbul is one of the symbols of the conquest of the mega city. It has a collection consisting of cannonballs from the Ottoman period, especially those used in the conquest, cannons from the Beyazid II period and Late Period Ottoman cannons, various stone artifacts from the Eastern Roman Empire and the Golden Horn chain.

Rumeli Fortress museum, a medieval structure, has the largest bastions of its period. Candarli Halil Pasha Tower, which was built by the 3 viziers of Fatih Sultan Mehmet, is 22 m in height, Zaganos Pasha Tower is 21 m in height and Saruca Pasha Tower is 28 m in height. The wooden floors are still standing today, and the graphite writings from the period when it was used as a divanhane room and prison, which stand out with its acoustics, are preserved in the Saruca Pasha Tower.



Address: Rumeli Fortress, Yahya Kemal Cd., 34470 Sariyer/Istanbul

Visiting hours: The fortress, which you can visit between 09:00 and 19:00 in the summer period, can be visited between 09:00 and 17:00 in the winter months. The Fortress is closed to visitors on Mondays.

Entrance Fee: Rumeli Fortress entrance fee in 2022 is 50 Turkish Liras. You can enter the fortress free of charge with the Museum Card.


6. The Great Palace Mosaics Museum in Istanbul (Buyuk Saray Mozaikler Muzesi)


The Great Palace Mosaics museum in Istanbul is taking place in the Arasta Bazaar, next to the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, on the grounds of the Great Palace, the former residence of the Byzantine emperors.

The museum building was built on the remains of the peristyle section of the Great Palace, on which the Sultan Ahmet Mosque Bazaar was built, whose floor was covered with mosaics.



Address: Sultanahmet Mahallesi Kabasakal Cad. Arasta Carsisi Sok. no. 53, 34122 Fatih/Istanbul

Visiting hours of the Great Palace Mosaics Museum in Istanbul are between 09:00 in the morning and 20:00 in the evening. The ticket office closes at 19:30. The museum is open to visitors every day of the week.

Entrance Fee: 60 Turkish Liras


7. Hagia Irene Museum


Hagia Eirene or St. Irene is a historical museum in Istanbul, in the first courtyard of Topkapi Palace is a historical museum close to and contemporary with Hagia Sophia.

It is the largest Byzantine church in Istanbul that has not been converted into a mosque. This well-known church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.



Address: Cankurtaran, Topkapi Palace No:1, 34122 Fatih/Istanbul

Visiting Hours: Hagia Irene museum in Istanbul opens its doors to visitors between 09:00 and 18:00 except Tuesdays. Exceptionally, on the first day of religious holidays, the entrance times may change.

Hagia Irene Museum entrance fee: the entrance fee in 2022 is 70 Turkish Liras. You can visit the museum for free with the Museum Card.


8. Basilica Cistern – Istanbul Museums


Basilica Cistern is one of the magnificent historical structures of Istanbul, located southwest of Hagia Sophia. The cistern is a giant structure covering a rectangular area of 140 meters in length and 70 meters in width. Covering a total area of 9,800 sqm, this museum in Istanbul has a water storage capacity of approximately 100,000 tons. There are 336 columns, each 9 meters high, inside the cistern.

According to a legend, Medusa is one of the three Gorgonas, the female monster of the underworld in Greek mythology. Of these three sisters, the snake-headed Medusa has the power to turn those who look at her into stone. According to another point of view, Gorgona paintings and sculptures were used to protect large buildings and private places at that time, and this is why the head of Medusa was placed in the cistern.



Address: Yerebatan Cad. Alemdar Mah. 1/3 34410 Sultanahmet-Fatih/İSTANBUL

Visiting Hours: The Basilica Cistern is open to visitors every day of the week between 09.00 and 19.00.

The entrance fee for a domestic visitor is 50 Turkish Liras, for a foreign visitor is 190 Turkish Liras and 20 Turkish Liras for students and teachers.


9. Istanbul Modern Museum - Art Museum in Istanbul


The Istanbul Modern museum is opened in 2004 as Turkey's first modern and contemporary art museum.

The museum offers a wide range of activities aiming to combine Turkey's artistic creativity and cultural identity with the international art world.

Istanbul Modern's global vision is to collect, preserve, document and exhibit modern and contemporary works of art and make them available to the public. 

This Istanbul museum offers a variety of cultural events in its permanent and temporary exhibition halls, photo gallery, education and social program rooms, library and cinema.



Address: Meclisi-i Mebusan Cad. Liman Isletmeleri Sahasi Antrepo 4, 34433 Karakoy/ Istanbul

Visiting Hours: Istanbul Modern is moving to its new building in Karakoy. The Preparations for the opening of the new building continue. The museum is temporarily located in the Beyoglu building and is closed to visitors. You can follow up-to-date information about the opening date on the Istanbul Modern museum website. Istanbul Modern Museum is closed to visitors on Mondays. It is open to visitors the rest of the week. In the Istanbul Museum of Modern Arts, the museum card is valid only once a year.

The previous entrance fee was 72 Turkish Liras. Istanbul Modern opens its doors to all visitors free of charge every Thursday. To make art a part of the cultural life of visitors from all walks of life, the Istanbul Modern museum invites visitors to explore its collections free of charge four times a month.

*"Sizin Perşembeniz" application is valid for visitors residing in Turkey.


10. Galata Tower Museum - One of the Most Iconic Symbols of Istanbul


Galata Tower is located in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. It takes its name from the district in which it is located, Galata. It is built as a watchtower within the Galata Walls. The tower is now used for touristic purposes, as an observation deck and a museum in Istanbul. It is one of the symbolic structures of Beyoglu and Istanbul. Don’t miss the 360º panoramic views of Istanbul from Galata Tower.




Address: Bereketzade, Galata Tower Sk., 34420 Beyoglu/Istanbul

Visiting Hours: in Summer: 08:30 - 24:00 & in Winter: 10:00 -20:00

The entrance fee to Galata Tower and Museum in 2022 is 100 Turkish Liras