Istanbul Archaeological Museum (Day 4)

I skipped day 3 (me wandering and getting lost) but I’ll do the next post with Topkapi Palace Museum which is still part of Day 4. 

There was a guide book provided in my room that I had casually skimmed through and the map given to me so generously that I was using to find my way. I ditched both and decided to get lost in the city. I followed the tram line,  going into shops for some much needed window shopping and that’s when I stumbled upon the Topkapi Palace Museum entrance.  I literally did  stumble when I tripped on one of those pavement blocks close to the entrance as  I wasn’t paying attention to the ground. 

In this ‘complex’, there lies the palace museum and the archaeological museum. I began with the archaeological one. The name already speaks for itself as it is full of archaeological wonder and collections that pictures cannot possibly cover all – you should just visit.

Carvings in the museum

Statue of Artemis – the goddess of the moon, forests and hunting

There were all these artifacts from Egypt that were recovered after the Ottoman empire era. I was particularly drawn to these coffins/grave finds with mummified remains. In ancient Egypt, it was believed that the spirit would leave the body after death and return as an immortal afterwards. The mummies were buried together with the ‘Ushabti‘ – their substitute servants , who were put in tomb chambers in wooden chests, that will, in the afterlife, do all the hard work of the deceased.

Open  Egyptian coffin
Coffin with hieroglyphic writings

Another attraction for me was this Relief Steele, a limestone tablet of Takerseb  the priestess of the god Min-re making an offering to the gods. 

Limestone tablet

I was soaking in all this history without realizing how much time was moving. There was just so much to see like these relief orthostats which date back to the 9th century BC in the late Hitite Period.

Something about these Turkish tiles and ceramics was quite fascinating to me. These particular ones were glazed in lustre technique. These were designs made in silver, gold, copper dust and metal oxide known as lustre (perdah) on matt white glaze then fired at low temperature which gave the ceramics that metallic shine.

One cannot possibly ignore the Medusa Medallion that sits in the Larissa section which is dimly lit. Flash photography is forbidden. Measuring 102cm, Medusa’s head is slightly turned to the left, her eyes looking in the same direction with her full cheeks and childish face that makes it look like she’s smiling. Some reddish pigments can be seen in the hair with traces of black in the eyes. 

Top view of medallion covered with Medusa’s head

Close up of the medallion

How to get there

Located in Gülhane in the district of  Eminönü, one can access it via tram by alighting at Gülhane station or Sultanahmet station and walking to the entrance. It is also accessible via the Sirkeci station by following the path to the Gülhane Park. 

How much?

Information about rates and visiting hours can be found on their website here. 

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