Discover the most beautiful museums in Turkey!

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A geography full of past treasures, Anatolia is the birthplace of the world's oldest and most ancient civilizations. Rich in diversity that ranges from UNESCO World Heritage sites to archaeological museums, Turkey is an even more topical destination during Museum Week, celebrated annually between May 18-24 to protect cultural heritage and promote museology worldwide.

Turkey's Living Cultural Treasures

In terms of its many outstanding museums, the importance of Istanbul is indisputable. As the cultural capital of a nation rich in museums in various fields, Istanbul has a museum for almost every field of interest. However, if your time in the city is limited, Archaeological Museum of Istanbul it is a worthy destination. This vast complex is home to an impressive collection of treasures, one of which is the building itself, which houses numerous exhibits – such as the world's oldest known love poem, the oldest known written peace treaty in history, and the most ancient known collection of laws – as well as ancient statues and sarcophagi from Sidon or unique works of art. For an art tour of Istanbul that includes museum explorations, you can visit İstanbul ModernIstanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture, Pera Museum and Sakıp Sabancı Museum, among others.

In Anatolia there are lesser known but significant museums that illustrate the cultural evolution of the region and sometimes turn into social projects. Even some smaller villages contain museums recognized with the Council of Europe Prize for Museums. Turkey's major cities are home to institutions that hold the relics of ancient mighty kings, ancient civilizations, and stories whose legends shape today's narratives. In northwestern Turkey, for example, Troy Museum in Çanakkale presents the story of the legendary Trojan War and a deep human legacy – a story that reaches us through Homer's Iliad. Winner of the European Museum of the Year 2020 and the European Museum Academy Special Award 2020/2021, this impressive museum illustrates the life and archaeological history of Troy and the cultures that left their mark on the Troas region through artefacts recovered from excavations.

Turkey: The World's Largest Open Air Museum

A journey through the Aegean Region of Turkey, an area dotted with impressive ancient cities and museums, is a journey through the history of civilization. From Izmir Archaeological Museum la The Museum of Bergamo and from Aphrodisias Museum la Museum of Underwater Archeology in Bodrum Castle, they house numerous treasures, traces of ancient civilizations at every step.

In Antalya, the heart of the Turkish Riviera, you will find a similar city with an extensive open-air museum and Archaeological Museum of Antalya, an art temple dedicated to the three ancient cultural regions of Lycia, Pamphylia and Pisidia, which were within the borders of the Antalya Region. Most of the artifacts in the collection Archaeological Museum of Antalya were obtained from excavations in the region and it is considered one of the most important museums in the world, especially with the sculptures of the Roman period found in Perge and the unique finds from the salvage excavations of the museum. The Archaeological Museum of Antalya holds the title of Museum of the Year 1988 of the Council of Europe.

Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

In Ankara, the capital of Turkey and the heart of the country, you will find Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, with an extraordinary collection and named Museum of the Year in Europe in 1997.

It sheds light on ancient Anatolian civilizations, with its sections covering the Paleolithic Age, Chalcolithic Age, Early Bronze Age, Assyrian Trading Colony Period, Early Hittite Empire Period and Hittite Empire, Phrygian Kingdom, Late Hittite Kingdom, Urartian Kingdom and Ankara Ages and the Classical Periods. In the Central Anatolia Region of Turkey, where deep-rooted ancient civilizations from the Hittites to the Phrygians settled, dozens of museums have been established in cities such as Eskişehir, Konya, Cappadocia, Nevşehir and Çorum.

In the south-east of the country is the famous Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep, one of the largest mosaic museums in the world and Archaeological Museum of Şanlıurfa, which houses the most extensive Neolithic collection in the world and the replica of Göbeklitepe.

The Golden Age of Turkish Archaeology

Anatolia is a treasure trove of museums and ancient cities, with 21 of its cultural heritage sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Numerous heritage sites can be seen throughout the country, including Mount Nemrut in Adıyaman, Gordion Ancient City in Ankara, Göreme National Park in Cappadocia-Nevşehir, and Hattuşa in Çorum.

From the Grand Mosque and Divriği Hospital in Sivas to the Selimiye Complex in Edirne and the Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape, many structures and sites are meticulously protected, while artifacts preserved deep in the Anatolian soil are brought to light through intensive archaeological activities.
Drawing attention with its archaeological excavations and its restoration projects in historical sites to ensure the sustainability of cultural heritage, Turkey has declared 2024 as the Golden Age of Archaeology. The number of archaeological excavations and studies in Turkey is expected to reach 750 by the end of this year and 800 by 2026. In addition, starting this summer season, important ancient cities along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, including Troy, Ephesus , Olympos, Phaselis, Syedre, Perge and Aspendos, can be visited after sunset as part of the initiative The Night Museum Project.

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