Entrance fees and opening-closing times of museums in Istanbul change almost every year. Updated every six months, this article provides you with up-to-date information on the most visited museums in istanbul. This entry was last updated on July 18, 2020. The information in the text is valid for the year 2020.
Istanbul Museums Entry Fees and Hours
You can find information about the entry fees and visiting hours of Istanbul’s most visited museums in the following lines.
The Hagia Sophia is located in Sultanahmet, which is considered the old city of Istanbul. Hagia Sophia is the most important tourist attraction in Istanbul and welcomes approximately 3 million visitors a year.
The Hagia Sophia was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and was completed in only 5 years and 10 months. Given the technology of the 6th century, it is difficult to believe how it was finished so quickly.
Since it will be difficult to grasp the history of Hagia Sophia on a single visit, it is recommended to visit with a qualified tour guide. If you want to visit Hagia Sophia with a guide who knows the Byzantine history well, you can visit the Hagia Sophia tour guide web page.
Hagia Sophia Mosque Opening Hours
Hagia Sophia can be visited between 09:00 am and 5:00 pm. The Mosque will be open to visitors except for prayer hours. The visiting hours will be the same as the neighboring Blue Mosque.
In Sultanahmet, the heart of Istanbul Old City, mosques close one hour before prayer time and open half an hour later. For example, if the noon prayer is at 13:00, the mosque will be closed between 12:00 and 13:30.
This is the link to check current praying hours for Istanbul.
Hagia Sophia Entrance Fee
Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque in July 2020. Since Hagia Sophia is not a museum, there is no entrance fee. Like other mosques in Istanbul, it can be visited free of charge.
Most Popular Museums of Istanbul
Topkapi Palace Museum
Topkapi Palace is located in Sultanahmet, just like the Hagia Sophia. Topkapi Palace, between 1461 and 1856 was the place where 25 Ottoman sultans lived. It is one of the most important works of classical Ottoman architecture. You can visit the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, located very close to each other, in a day and learn a lot about Ottoman history.
Ottoman sultans moved to Dolmabahce Palace, which was located on the shores of the Bosphorus since 1856. Although Topkapi Palace was not used after this date, it was well preserved and turned into a museum during the republican period.
Topkapi Palace is a complex consisting of many buildings. A standard visit to the Topkapi Palace does not include other museums within the same complex as the Harem, Hagia Irene and Istanbul Archeology Museums. separate tickets are required for each of these sections. However, if you buy Istanbul Museum Pass, you can visit all parts of the museum with a single card.
Topkapı Palace Working Days
The Topkapi Palace is closed for visits on Tuesdays during the year. Since the closing days of Istanbul museums are different, you can consider visiting other museums such as Dolmabahce Palace when the topkapi palace is closed.
Topkapı Palace Opening Hours
The Topkapi Palace Museum is open to visitors between 09:00 in the morning and 18:00 in the evening. Please note that the ticket office will be closed 60 minutes prior to closing times.
Topkapi Palace Entrance Fee
Admission fee is 100 Turkish Lira for the entrance. This payment is for a standart palace visit which would probably take at least 2 hours. If you plan to see the Harem Rooms additional ticket costs 70 Turkish Lira. Istanbul Museum Pass is valid for this museum.
Must-See Museums of Istanbul
There are many cisterns from the Byzantine period in the old city of Istanbul. The largest of them is the museum called Basilica Cistern. The Basilica Cistern and the Hagia Sophia are contemporary buildings built in the same period. Both were built in the 6th century by the famous Byzantine emperor Justinian.
Theodosius Cistern, which is only a few blocks away, has recently been opened to visitors and is free for now. Apart from these two, the Sarnic Restaurant, which has emerged with the transformation of a 1500-year-old cistern into a restaurant, also has a beautiful ambience.
Basilica Cistern Working Days
Basilica Cistern and Blue Mosque are two places that are open to visitors every day. If you come to the days when the Hagia Sophia or Topkapi Palace is closed, you can visit the Blue Mosque or Basilica Cistern, which are close to both.
Basilica Cistern Opening Hours
The Hagia Sophia Museum is open to visitors between 09:00 in the morning and 18:30 in the evening between 1st of April and 1st of November. These hours are valid during the spring and summer months when the museum attracts many visitors.
The Hagia Sophia Museum is open to visitors between 09:00 in the morning and 17:30 in the evening between 1st of November and 1st of April. These times are valid in autumn and winter, when the museum is less frequently visited.
Basilica Cistern Entrance Fee 2020
Admission fee is 30 Turkish Lira per person for the entrance. Children under the age of 8 free of charge. Basilica Cistern is located within walking distance from Hagia Sophia. Istanbul Museum Pass is not valid for Basilica Cistern.
Best Museums in Istanbul Old City
Istanbul was the first port city in the west where silk fabrics from China and spices from India reached during the Middle Ages. These precious goods were exported to Europe by the Genoese and Venetian colonies located on the opposite bank of Constantinople.
The waterway separating Constantinople and Galata was called the Golden Horn. The Genoese, who wanted to control the sea trade in the Golden Horn, built the Galata Tower in 1348. Galata Tower is the most beautiful point where you can watch the old Istanbul and the Bosphorus.
Galata Tower Opening Hours
Galata Tower is open to visitors every day of the week between 09:00 in the morning and 19:00 in the evening. Galata Tower, which is also frequently visited by Istanbulites, becomes very crowded especially on weekends.
Galata Tower Entrance Fee
Entrance fee to Galata Tower is 35 Turkish Lira. Admission is free for children under 5 years. Istanbul Museum Pass is not valid for visit to Galata Tower.
Kariye Museum (Chora Church)
According to many historians, the Monastery of Chora was built during the reign of Constantine the Great. Located outside the early walls of Constantinople, the Chora was a place of ascetic life. During Theodosius II, the city walls were expanded to the west and the Chora remained within the city.
The church was rebuilt by the Komnenos dynasty in the 11th century, and the mosaics of the church, which gained worldwide fame, were added in the 14th century. The person who added the magnificent Byzantine mosaics is Theodore Metochites who ruled the Byzantine treasury with the rank of Grand Logothete.
Chora was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman period. Chora, which was converted into a museum with Hagia Sophia during the republic period, is one of the best places to observe the Byzantine heritage in Istanbul.
Kariye Museum Working Days
The Chora Church is closed to visitors on Wednesdays. if you accidentally come here, you can visit the Palace of the Porphyrogenitus (locally known as Tekfur Sarayi) within walking distance of the Kariye Museum. This building, which was a palace from the Byzantine period, was opened to visitors as of 2019.
Kariye Museum (Chora Church) Opening Hours
The Kariye Museum is open to visitors between 09:00 in the morning and 19:00 in the evening between 1st of April and 31 October. This is the summer season, which is considered the high season.
The Kariye Museum is open to visitors between 09:00 in the morning and 17:00 in the evening between 1st of November and 31st of March. This is the winter season, which is considered the low season.
Please note that the ticket office will be closed 30 minutes prior to closing times.
Kariye Museum Entrance Fee 2020
Entrance fee for the Kariye Museum is 65 Turkish Lira as of 2020. Children under the age of 8 free of charge. Istanbul Museum Pass is valid for Kariye Museum which is also known as Chora Church.
Byzantine Museum in Istanbul
Istanbul Archaeological Museum
The main building of the Istanbul Archeological Museum is a Neo-Classical structure built towards the end of 19th Century. It was built by the French architect Alexander Vallaury. This late-Ottoman building has been housing one of the largest archeological collections of the world.
The Egyptian–Hittite Peace Treaty (Kadesh Tablet) which is recognized as the oldest written treaty displayed in this marvelous museum. Renowned Alexander Sarcophagus and ancient Greek sculptures can be seen as well.
If you like to take a magical journey through the diverse history of Anatolia and Mesopotamia, regarded as the cradle of civilization, consider adding this museum to your travel itinerary.
Istanbul Archaeological Museum Working Days
The Istanbul Archaeological Museum is closed on Mondays. nearby museums, open to visitors on Monday, are the Topkapi Palace and the Islamic Science and Technology Museum.
Istanbul Archaeological Museum Opening Hours
The Istanbul Archaeological Museum is open to visitors between 09:00 in the morning and 20:00 in the evening between 1st of April and 1st October.
The Istanbul Archaeological Museum is open to visitors between 09:00 in the morning and 17:00 in the evening between 2nd of October and 1st of April.
Please note that the ticket office will be closed 1 hour prior to closing times.
Istanbul Archaeological Museum Entrance Fee 2020
Admission fee is 50 Turkish Lira per person for the entrance. Children under the age of 8 is free of charge. The museum is located within Topkapi Palace complex. Istanbul Museum Pass is valid for Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
Top Museums in Istanbul
Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum
The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is located next to the Hippodrome, a Roman structure in Istanbul. The building was originally the palace of Ibrahim Pasha, one of the most important grand viziers in Ottoman history.
The palace, which was converted into a museum in the republican period, contains many historical monuments from the Islamic Caliphates. It is also a place where you can learn about the origins of Turks from Central Asia.
The museum exhibits a thousand-year-old carpets belonging to the Seljuk Turks, the first Turkish community to emigrate from Central Asia to the West. There are also important works of art from the Ottoman Empire, the heir of the Seljuk Turks.
Turkish and Islamic Art Museum Opening Hours
Turkish And Islamic Arts Museum is open to visitors between 09:00 in the morning and 19:00 in the evening between 1st of April and 1st October.
Turkish And Islamic Arts Museum is open to visitors between 09:00 in the morning and 17:00 in the evening between 1st October and 31st of March.
Please note that the ticket office will be closed 30 minutes prior to closing times. Please note that the museum is closed on Mondays.
Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum Entrance Fee 2020
Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum entry fee is 50 Turkish Lira as of 2020. Children under the age of 8 is fee of charge. Istanbul Museum Pass is valid for the museum.