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Home to impressive museums and many historical landmarks, Istanbul is one of the most-visited cities in the world, especially for the history-culture exploration enthusiasts.
Gently located on the two coasts of the beautiful Bosphorus, Istanbul has its hands on two continents. Combined all those traces of history into its pot, the city formed an unmatched blend. The city was the capital of three empires: Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman.
Embracing the cultural heritage of many ancient civilizations, the city is boasting of various mosques, churches, and landmarks. Thus, when Istanbul was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985 it wasn’t surprising news. UNESCO World Heritage List comprises many spots such as Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia, Hagia Irene, Little Hagia Sophia Mosque, and Topkapı Palace. However, today we will highlight the 5-must see museums in Istanbul.
1. TOPKAPI PALACE MUSEUM
This is the Ottoman imperial palace, which served as the primary residence and administrative center of the Ottoman sultans between the 15th and 19th centuries. Mehmet the Conqueror built the earlier parts of the palace shortly after the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. The palace had been the headquarters of the sultans until the 19th century when it was replaced by the European-style palace built on the shores of the Bosphorus.
Although the Palace has lots of exhibition halls, the visitors generally have a glimpse of the mesmerizing pavilions, jewel-filled Treasury section, and mysterious Harem.
2. HAGIA SOPHIA MOSQUE
Standing with all its glory, the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque is maybe the top-visited spot of Istanbul thanks to its amazing architecture, rich history, and of course religious significance. It was the largest Eastern Roman Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church in Istanbul. Once a church, it has become a mosque right now.
Hagia Sophia was built by the eastern Roman emperor Justinian I as the Christian cathedral of Constantinople in the 6th century. The amazing domes of the building, monolithic marble columns, and excellent mosaics attract visitors. The location of the mosque is also dazzling; it is standing at the tip of the historic peninsula of Istanbul, also surrounded by the blue waters of the Sea of Marmara, the beautiful Bosphorus, and the Golden Horn on three sides.
3. ISTANBUL ARCHEOLOGY MUSEUMS
This is a complex of museums consisting of The Archaeology Museum, The Museum of Ancient Orient, and The Tiled Kiosk Museum. These three sections are located in the same garden and house of archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey. He is mostly known as the master painter of the famous painting “The Tortoise Trainer”.
The first section, the Archaeology Museum is exhibiting nearly a million artifacts from a variety of cultures, brought from the imperial lands. The Museum of Ancient Orient is situated just in front of the main building, and it is in the ancient College of Fine Arts commissioned by Osman Hamdi Bey in the 19th century. The Tiled Kiosk, however, is a section within the outer walls of Topkapı Palace and dates back to the 15th century. This section exhibits the beautiful examples of Iznik tiles and Seljuk pottery. Istanbul Archeology Museums are located in the Eminönü quarter of Istanbul, Turkey, near Gulhane Park and Topkapı Palace.
4. THE BASILICA CISTERN MUSEUM
The Basilica Cistern is one of the most spectacular ancient buildings in Istanbul. It is located close to Hagia Sophia and drawing millions of tourists every year. The building was constructed as a big underground water reservoir with underground marble columns. As there used to be a basilica in the place of the cistern, it is called Basilica Cistern. The cistern contains a couple of the edged and grooved columns shaped like a cylinder, and two Medusa heads. What attracts the most attention from the visitors is that the structure from which the Medusa heads have been taken is unknown.
5. MUSEUM OF THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN ISLAM
The museum was opened in 2008 and since then it has been exhibiting works, devices, and tools invented and developed by Islamic scientists between the 9th and 16th centuries. There are various sections to visit such as astronomy, clocks and marine, war technology, medicine, mining, physics, math and geometry, architecture and city planning, chemistry and optics, geography, and cinevision screening room.

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