Istanbul Archaeology Museums, located on Osman Hamdi Bey ramp, rising to Topkapi Palace Museum from the right of entrance of Gülhane Park, are composed of three museums as Archaelogy Museum, Old Eastern Arts Museum and Enameled Kiosk Museum. It is one of the biggest museums of the world. It accomodates more than one million arts. Museum collections have the arts, including cultural values of various civiliztions, containing a large geography from Balkans, Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Iraq to Afghanistan.
A) Archaeology Museum
Museum is composed of two structures as Main building (old structure) and Outbuilding (New structure). Architect Aleksandre Vallaury constructs main building by the order of Mr. Osman Hamdi at the end of 19th Century, and construction of Imperial Museum is complated in 1891, 1902 and 1908 in three stages. Section, where Sayda sarcophaguses are located, is opened for public visits under the name of “Museum of Sarcophaguses” in June 13, 1891. This structure is the first Turkish museum. Building has two floors and its exterior front is made by being inspired from Crying Women Sarcophagus. It is one of the most beautiful models of neoclassical structures in Istanbul. Alexander Sarcophagus Lycia Sarcophagus, Tabnit Sarcophagus, situated in Sayda King Tombs; Sidamara Sarcophagus, Erosus Sarcophagus, borught from other ancient cities and regions and other Sarcophaguses and also architectural elements, sculpture and reliefs, tombstones, altars, mosaics, belonging to various temples are exhibited in a chronological order from archaic age to the end of Byzantine period in the ground floor of the main building. Some of important arts are Head of Alexander the Great, Marsyas, goddes Tykhe, Nymphe, Ephebos sculptures, and busts of emperor Marcus Aurelius and empress Faustina. Small sized stone pieces, pots and pans, earthenware statuettes are exhibited in the second floor. Also there are treausury department and Non Islamic and Islamic coin cabinets, containing approximately 800000 coins, stamps, signs, medals, and coin casts; and a rich library, including about 70000 books in this floor. Outbuilding is adjacent to southern-east of main building. It is composed of six floors. There are old art depots in the second floor under the ground. Kid’s Museum is located in the ground floor and also some architectural structures are exhibited here. Thrace, Bithinia, Byzantine (Surrounding Cultures of Istanbul) works are exhibited under this ground floor. Works of Istanbul For Ages are exhibited in 1st floor, works of Anatolia and Troia For Ages are exhibited in 2n floor and works, containing various periods belonging to Anatolia and Surrounding Cultures ( Cyprus, Syria, Palestine) are exhibited in 3rd floor.
B) Old Eastern Arts Museum
Mr. Osman Hamdi gets Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi-i (Fine Arts Academy) constructed in 1883 and the structure has two floors. It is arranged as museum between 1917-1919 and 1932-1935 years. Museum is closed for public visits in 1963 and its internal locations are modernized and it is opened for public visits again in 1974. Arabian Works Before Islam, Egypt Works, Mesopotamia Works, Anatolian Works are exhibited in the top floors of the museum. Tablet of Kasesh Peace and Friendship Agreement which is made between Hittites and Egyptians in B.C. 1219 and is the first “peace and friendship” agreement in the history, is present in this museum. There is a rich “tablet archive”, composed of about 75000 tablets with cuneiform script in the museum. Ground floor of the museum is used as old art depot and office.
C) Enameled Kiosk Museum
Mehmet The Conqueror gets Enameled Kiosk buildign, which is one of the oldest civil arcihitecture models in Istanbul, constructed in 1472. It is used as Müze-i Hümayun between 1875-1891 years. It is opened for public visits under the name of Fatih Museum, which Turkish and Islamic Arts are exhibited in 1953 due to 500th anniversary of Istanbul conquest. It is transferred to Istanbul – Archaeology Museums in 1981. Entrance front of kiosk, which is constructed in a sloped land, is constructed with single floor and its black front is constructed wit two floors. there is marmoreal cloister, composed of 14 columns in the entrance. It is entered into the kiosk from shed shaped portal, covered with mosaic tiles. Inner location of kiosk is composed of middle saloon and six lateral rooms. Various tile and ceramic works of Seljuk and Ottoman periods are exhibited in the kiosk. The oil-lamp and blue-white tile plates, made in İznik, are among the most valuable works of the museum. Furthermore, Küahya and Çanakkale ceramics constitute the significant part of the tile collection in the museum. There are approximately 2000 works in the saloons and depots of Enameled Kiosk Museum.