We spent 3 days in Istanbul in early November. We went to the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts on Day 3 - partially to catch our breath after two full days of going to all of the recommeded spots in Sultanamet and along the Bosphorus. Although this museum receives less attention in guidebooks (and is much less crowded), it provides an outstanding introduction to the arts and history of the region. The presentation and interpretative signs for the musuem's rugs, pottery, metalwork, and calligraphy are exceptional. As an American whose world history education is largely limited to "western civilization", the museum's collection of artifacts is humbling. As my wife commented about the museum's interpretive signage associated with the displays, "They didn't tell us about this part of the world when we were in school." There are lots of sights to see in Istanbul, but I highly commend finding time to visit this museum.