The Great Palace of Constantinople Mosaics Museum is a landmark in Istanbul which should be on anybody's list of places that are worth a visit. The museum is located just a few steps from the main attractions - the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, in the historical district of Istanbul Sultanahmet. If you are even slightly interested in history, culture and archeology, there are 5 good reasons why you should add the Mosaic Museum to your sightseeing route in Istanbul.
You can skip the ticket lines if you have a Istanbul museum pass.
1 | Get a glimpse of the beauty and luxury of the Grand Palace of Constantinople
Scientists' suggest that mosaics once decorated about 3,000 m2 of floor, most of which has been destroyed, or now rests beneath other buildings, including the Blue Mosque, shops and hotels.
In the mosaic museum, only a part of that former beauty is represented - only 250 m2 of floor mosaics (just imagine, that's 3 times more than the typical 3-room apartment from my childhood).
2 | Wonder how skillful and patient the masters of the Roman Empire were
After visiting the museum of mosaics, my confidence in my own attention to detail was greatly shaken. What are a couple of hundred articles of personal posessions compared to the giant and, at the same time, incredibly detailed pictures, assembled from tiny pieces of a multi-coloured stone?
3 | See mosaics which are about 1,500 years old
Most likely, the mosaic floor of the Grand Palace of Constantinople was created during the times of Emperor Justinian I (527 - 565 AD), at approximately the same time period when St. Sophia Cathedral was built. Archaeologists discovered mosaics during excavations near the Arasta Bazaar (near the Blue Mosque) in 1935. The mosaics were restored and now it is represented in the Istanbul Mosaic Museum. The museum, by the way, is located directly in the place where the mosaic floor was found.
4 | Learn how people dressed, hunted and lived in times of great empires
Mosaic images depict scenes such as these: someone milking a goat or feeding a donkey, or even grazing geese. Or someone flies upside down after being kicked by a horse. And at the same time, the details of period clothing are depicted with special care - folds, ribbons and sandals. Why don't our own designers create something like that? They seems to be very comfortable clothes, at least for around the house.
5 | The Mosaics Museum is an escape from the crowds of tourists in Istanbul
While, just a few hundred meters away, there are queues at the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, the Mosaics Museum remains quiet and deserted.
The Great Palace of Constantinople Mosaics Museum is one of the most interesting sights of Istanbul, where excursion groups do not lead. During the 1.5 hours I spent in the museum studying mosaics, I met no more than 3 other tourists.
Opening hours the Great Palace of Constantinople Mosaics Museum (Istanbul)
|Opening hours||from 15 Apr till 25 Oct||from 25 Oct till 15 Apr|
|Museum is open
|till 18:30||till 17:00|
|Tickets sell||till 18:00||till 16:30|
Mosaics Museum admission ticket cost - 35 TL (entrance to this museum is included in the Istanbul museum pass).
How to get to the Mosaic Museum
The Mosaic Museum is located 100 meters from the Blue Mosque:
- stand with your back to the main exit of the Blue Mosque (facing the Hagia Sophia) and walk right through the arch,
- go down the stairs to the bazaar Arasta,
- turn right and walk between the two rows of shops in the Araste Bazaar,
- turn left into the passage between the two shops with a pointer to the Mosaics Museum.
Link to the Mosaics Museum on Google map.
An article that may be useful to you - How to Get from the New Airport to Istanbul.
What interesting things can be seen near the Mosaic Museum
A visit to the Mosaic Museum is easily combined with any itinerary in the Sultanahmet area:
- the main attractions of Istanbul are the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia,
- Sultanahmet Square itself is a great place to relax and walk around,
- it is worth to take a good guide to understand the sights of the Hippodrome,
- the impressive Topkapi Palace will take at least 2 hours,
- the carpet museum will surprise with its rich collection,
- at the Arasta bazaar you can buy high-quality towels and bathrobes, bright handmade ceramics.
After walking around Istanbul, you can have the great evening on a ship with dinner and a show program, enjoying the views of the Bosphorus at night.