Mosaics Museum - 5 Reasons to Visit this Istanbul Landmark

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.

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).

The Great Palace of Constantinople Mosaics Museum (Istanbul) interior | Travels wth AsiaPositive.com
The Great Palace of Constantinople Mosaics Museum (Istanbul) interior

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?

Mosaic with pets in the Grand Palace of Constantinople Mosaics Museum in Istanbul | Travel with AsiaPositive.com
The whole picture is a mosaic of tiny elements
Close-up mosaic lion (Mosaics Museum in Istanbul) | Travel with AsiaPositive.com
Close-up mosaic lion

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.

Mythical griffin devours a reptile. Mosaics Museum in Istanbul | Travel with AsiaPositive.com
It is hard to believe that these colors are 1.5 thousand years old. Mythical griffin devours a reptile.

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.

Men in tight robes taming the tiger in Mosaics Museum in Istanbul | Travel with AsiaPositive.com
Men in tight robes taming the tiger

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.

Flying upside down - the horse was clearly out of sorts (Mosaics Museum in Istanbul) | Travel with AsiaPositive.com
Flying upside down - the horse was clearly out of sorts

Opening hours the Great Palace of Constantinople Mosaics Museum (Istanbul)

Opening hoursfrom 15 Apr till 25 Octfrom 25 Oct till 15 Apr
Museum is open

 from 9:00
till 19:00 till 17:00
Tickets sell till 18:30 till 16:30
Day off none

Mosaics Museum admission ticket cost - 20 TL (as of March 2019).

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.

  Hotels in Sultanahmet area (main landmarks within walking distance) >>

An article that may be useful to you - How to Get from the New Airport to Istanbul.

A Byzantine boy and two geeses | The Great Palace of Constantinople Mosaics Museum is a landmark in Istanbul | Travel with AsiaPositive.com
A Byzantine boy and two geeses

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