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Museums in Turkey

Ephesus / Photo Shutterstock
Ephesus / Photo Shutterstock

The first Ottoman museum, created in 1807, was reserved to the sultan until it was opened to the public in 1839. Many cities have museums, but the most important are the Aya Sofya (or Hagia Sophia), the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, and the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum in Istanbul, and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (under renovation) in Ankara. Historical sites such as Ephesus and Miletus have their own museums.

The past twenty years have witnessed the rapid creation of museums, with Istanbul in the lead (79), followed by Izmir and Bursa (17), Gaziantep and Eskişehir (14), Dardanelles (12), Mersin (11), and Balıkesir and Amasya (10). The number of private museums increased from 93 in 2002 to 141 in 2010. Museum attendance increased in the same period from 7,422,208 to 25,854,341, but this is also linked to the growth of tourism. Most museums are devoted either to local history or to the glorification, in a nationalist spirit, of the Army or the War of Independence.

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