The Archeological Museum, under the jurisdiction of the Directorship of the Turkish Ministry of Culture, for Monuments, and Museums, is in the district of Sultanahmet, to the right of the entrance of Gulhane Park on Osman Hamdi Bey Yokusu, which leads to Topkapi Palace.
The Istanbul Archeological Museum is made up of three museums the Archeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient, and the Tiled Kiosk Museum. The famous painter and museum curator, Osman Hamdi Bey, inaugurated the Istanbul Archeological Museum on June 13, 1891. As well as being the first Turkish Museum, it also became one of the world's most important museums. Today with more than one million works, it maintains its special position as one of the largest of its kind in the world. The museum's collection includes valuable and significant works of art- from different civilizations which were within the Ottoman Empire's domain from the Balkans to Africa, from Anatolia and Mesopotamia to the Arabian Peninsula and Afghanistan. The Archeological Museum consists of two separate buildings.
The main building
The constructions of this building began in 1891 by Osman Hamdi Bey; Additions were made in 1902 and 1908. The architect was Alexadre Vallanry. The front of the building was inspired by the sarcophagus of Alexander and of the Weeping Women. It is a good example of neo-classical style Istanbul construction.
On the upper floor of the two storied building are small static works, earthenware pots, and clay statues. In the treasury section there are approximately 800,000 coins, seals, medallions and coin molds in the Islamic and non-Islamic Coin Cabinet. There are around 70,000 books in the library. The rooms on the lower floor- contain the sarcophagus of Alexander, of the Weeping Women, of Lykia, and of Tabnit, as well as other famous sarcophagi found in the cemeteries of Saida near Beirut. In addition to the sarcophagi, on this floor there are statues and bas-reliefs from import-ant ancient cities and areas exhibited in the Archaic Era section. In this exhibition the best examples of sculpture from archaic times up to the Byzantine era are arranged in chronological order.
The second building (the new building)
The new building, located to the southeast of the main building, has six floors. Two of them are underground and are used for storage. The other four floors are arranged as exhibition rooms. On the first floor is "Istanbul through the Ages." The second floor is "ancient Anatolia and Troy through the Ages," and on the top floor is "The Cultures of the Lands Surrounding Anatolia--Cyprus, Syria, and Palestine." On the ground floor is a children's museum and a display of architectural works. An exhibition of "Cultures Surrounding Istanbul: Thrace, Bithynia, and Byzantium" is on the floor right under the entrance floor. In 1991 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the museum, it received the museum award of the European Council for the reorganization of the lower floor and exhibitions of the new building.