Of all the sights I visited in Turkey, the stunning Hagia Sophia was number one on my list, but the Istanbul Archaeology Museums (group of 3) was a close second. This was in part due to not having to “fight” the crowds, as I did at the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Many organizations consider this museum one of the 10 best (not related to art) in the world. Consequently, I was quite surprised there weren’t as many tourists here as I thought there were going to be. More important, few areas in the world have been controlled or inhabited by as many different cultures as Turkey has; and, the museums offers a broad sample of the country’s archaelogical treasures and provides an excellent overview of the intertwining cultures that have shaped Turkey’s history.
Personally, I was awestruck by some of the ancient treasures I saw at this museum. In fact, I almost made a monumental mistake of walking past the sacophagus of Alexander The Great, without even taking a photo, much less knowing what it was. I only recognized this fact two hours later, while taking a break in the beautiful outdoor courtyard and reviewing some museum information on my Samsung tablet I had downloaded the day before. OH OH! Alexander The Great? The one and only? I didn’t even take a picture of his sacophagus? Yikes! What an imbecile I am. I should have known this was special because it was enclosed in bullet proof glass (the other lesser sacophaguses weren’t enclosed). Yes, I went back and took a gazillion photos of it. LOL.
Besides the ornate Alexander Sacophagus, the museum also houses what is believed to be the oldest peace treaty in the world, the Kadesh Peace Treaty, 1258 BC. This was signed by Ramesses II of Egypt and Hatusilli III of the Hittite Empire. Perhaps some of you already know this, but for those of you who don’t – The United Nations in New York has a giant poster of this peace treaty on one their walls. The museum also has a large collection of Hellenistic, Turkish, Greek, and Roman artifacts. Some of the artifacts that inside the museum, included:
1. Sarcophagus of the Crying Woman. This was also found in Sidon;
2. Sarcophagi of Tabnit and Satrap;
3. A monumental Lycian tomb;
4. Glazed tile images from the Ishtar gate of Babylon;
5. Statues from ancient antiquity until the end of the Roman era, from Aphrodisias, Ephesus, and Miletus; and,
6. Statue of an Ephebos.
Most of the photos that follow do not have captions. Enjoy!