Istanbul Archaeological Museums (Istanbul Arkeoloji Müzeleri)#8 in Best Things To Do in Istanbul
At the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, which opened by Topkapi Palace Museum in 1869, you'll find more than one million antiquities displayed throughout three buildings – the Archaeological Museum, the Ancient Orient Museum and the Tiled Kiosk Museum. Artifacts housed inside include Islamic coins, three sarcophagi and a tomb monument that dates to the first century.
Some past travelers said this museum complex's collections were boring, while others described it as a hidden gem. If you decide to visit, expect to find parts of the main building off limits while it undergoes renovations.
Visiting hours for the Istanbul Archaeological Museums are from Tuesday through Sunday between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Seeing the property's exhibits will set you back 20 Turkish lira (approximately $5.50) unless you have a Museum Pass Istanbul card. (Children 11 and younger can visit for free.) Restrooms and a gift shop are also available inside, and a small parking lot is provided on-site. Because of its limited parking, the museum suggests using public transportation – trams, buses, ferries and trains service the Sultanahmet area – when visiting. Check out the museum's website to learn more.
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#1 Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)
Sultan Ahmed I was determined to build a mosque that rivaled the nearby Hagia Sophia, and most would agree that he accomplished this task – or, at least, came close. Since the early 1600s, the Blue Mosque has been quite the sight to behold, with an array of domes, semidomes and minarets (or narrow towers). It's also one of the biggest tourist draws in Istanbul.
Visitors say this mosque offers "stunning architecture inside and out." It can, however, get busy, so consider arriving early. And remember, the Blue Mosque is an active religious site, so dress conservatively. Women should wear headscarves, as is custom. If you forgot to bring one, you can borrow one from the mosque.
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