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Exploring the Museums of Istanbul, Turkey

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Toy Museum

This museum is located in the Goztepe district in Istanbul, and holds a collection of about 2,000 toys. They come from around Turkey and also abroad. There is a violin from 1817 made in France, as well as an American doll from 1820. It is a private museum that was founded by Sunay Akin. The museum also features a cafeteria and a small theater.

Panorama 1453 History Museum

This is one of the newest museums in the city. It is a historical museum in reference to the Conquest of Constantinople in 1453, featuring 3 dimensional objects, paintings and sound exhibits. It is appropriately located in front of the walls of the ancient city, at the area where Janissaries broke in.

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Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia) Museum

This is an ancient Byzantine Church that dates back to the sixth century AD, and was built by Justinian I. It was later turned into a mosque with minarets during the fifteenth century. Today, it is a museum that displays intense Islamic and Christian art, as well as Byzantine mosaics. This had been the largest church in the world for 1,000 years, and is nonetheless just as impressive today. They even have cats running around inside!

Ataturk Museum

Ataturk is the most important figure in modern Turkey. This museum is the house where he lived and worked before the War of Independence 1918-1919. It has been open to the public since 1981. It displays photographs of this man from all periods of his life. You can also view some of his clothes and other possessions. Even outside of this museum, there are many statues and paintings of Ataturk all throughout the city.

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Modern Arts Museum

This is a new museum that has been open since 2004 by the Eczacibasi family. It’s the only modern arts museum in the whole city. It’s a wonderful institution that has a classy restaurant and stunning views outside on the old docks of the Karaköy district. They hold an extensive library where one can find anything and everything on Turkish art.

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art (Ibrahim Pasha Palace)

This museum is located in the old Hippodrome area, and was built in the 16th century by Suleyman the Magnificent. It was donated to Ibrahim Pasha. After Ibrahim’s death, the house was used as a military barracks. Today, it holds historic art and ethnographic exhibits. It’s a great place to learn about Ottoman history.

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