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Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - Excellent

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Durham, NC
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18 posts
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Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - Excellent

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.

Singapore, Singapore
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1. Re: Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - Excellent

I’ve read somewhere that the Turkish Islamic & Arts Museum is a worthy place to visit. It’s a shame because when we were in Istanbul we walked pass this museum a million times from our hotel to Divan Yolu and yet we didn’t go in. In fact, the last day we were in Istanbul (21st Nov 07), this museum were putting up exhibits about the Sufis and Whirling Dervishes (which we didn’t get to see as well..) We were so pressed for time, we only managed to visit the must-see sites. Turkish Islamic & Arts Musuem is definitely on my list on my next trip to Turkey.


Washington DC...
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2. Re: Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - Excellent

It is a beautiful museum, and there is also an ethnographic section at the end which was empty when we were there. Nomads and tribal life and also 19th Century everyday life - Victorian influence on Ottoman middle-class culture. Try not to miss it.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - Excellent

I went to this museum on my second day there and really enjoyed it. Spent about 4 hours there. It covers a wide variety of arts, and really fine examples too. Historic rugs and metalwork (my own field) were quite well covered. Pottery a bit less so but only Islamic art history buffs would notice the absence. Exhibits were quite well lit, which I found out later is the exception rather than the rule, after visiting other musums in Istanbul. Signage for individual cases and displays were also good.

I was lucky to stumble across the ethnographic section in the basement: virtually no signs to direct anyone there, you have to see a small sign and a side door in the courtyard as you get ready to leave the building, which is why it is pretty empty as most people probably think there is nothing else left. Nice dioramas there. See those before leaving; see the better pieces in the main section while you are still fresh.

The Museum is on one of the long sides of the Hippodrome (west side), so good to do after viewing the Blue Mosque. Good activity for a rainy day as the museum is well enough lit.

4. Re: Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - Excellent

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