Istanbul Archaeology Museum

One of the places that must be visited in Istanbul.

The museum was opened in 1891. Founder is Osman Hamdi Bey ((1842 ? 1910) was an Ottoman statesman, intellectual, art expert and also a prominent and pioneering Turkish painter. He was also an accomplished archaeologist, and is considered as the pioneer of the museum curator‘s profession in Turkey).

Enjoy the small tour with photos by following this link to my gallery.

The following is taken from Wikipedia.

The Istanbul Archaeology Museum consists of three museums.

  1. Archaeological Museum (main building),
  2. Museum of the Ancient Orient and the
  3. Museum of Islamic Art (Tiled Kiosk).

It houses over one million objects that represent almost all of the eras and civilizations in world history.

The site of the museums actually belonged to the Topkap? Palace outer gardens. The museum was founded by decree as the Imperial Museum (?mparatorluk M?zesi). When it opened to the public in 1891, it was the first one to feature Turkish art. The first curator was Osman Hamdi Bey, who was also the founder of the museum. Since the imperial decree protecting cultural goods in the Ottoman empire was enforced, many governors from the different provinces would send in found artefacts to the capital city. In that way the museum was able to amass a great collection. Upon its 100th anniversary in 1991, the Museum received the European Council Museum Award, particularly for the renovations made to the lower floor halls in the main building and the new displays in the other buildings.

The construction of the main building was started by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1881, attaining its present neo-Greek form in 1908. The architect was Alexander Vallaury. The fa?ade of the building was inspired by the Alexander Sarcophagus and Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women, both housed inside the Museum. It is one of the prominent structures built in the neoclassical style in Istanbul.

The Museum of the Ancient Orient was commissioned by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1883 as a Fine Arts School. Then it was re-organised as a museum and opened in 1935. It was closed to visitors in 1963, and reopened in 1974 after restoration works on the interior.

The Tiled Kiosk was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed II in 1472. It is one of the oldest structures in Istanbul featuring Ottoman civil architecture and was a part of the Topkap? Palace outer gardens. It was used as the Imperial Museum between 1875 and 1891 before the collection moved to the newly constructed main building. It was opened to public in 1953 as a museum of Turkish and Islamic art, and was later incorporated into the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.


The ornate Alexander Sarcophagus, once believed to be prepared for Alexander the Great, is among the most famous pieces of ancient art in the museum.[2] The Kadesh Peace Treaty (1258 BCE), signed between Ramesses II of Egypt and Hattusili III of the Hittite Empire, is another favourite of the visitors. It is the oldest known peace treaty in the world, and a giant poster of this tablet (treaty) is on the wall of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

The museum has a large collection of Turkish, Hellenistic and Roman artifacts. The most prominent artifacts exhibited in the museum include:


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Touristic Madrid

How about a change?

This time only a touristic tour of Madrid with photos. Some historical place photos and Museums will follow shortly.

Please follow the link to the gallery

Below is a photo from a Street Concert. Madrid is a living city with lots of entertainment ?on the streets, especially at very late hours.

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3 ?erefeli Cami (Mosque) in Edirne, Turkey

Another mosque from Edirne.

This is an Ottoman mosque in Edirne, Turkey. It was built from the order of Sultan Murat II. The mosque is located in the historical center of the city, close to other prominent historical mosques, Selimiye Mosque and Old Mosque. The name refers to unusual minaret with three balconies

Follow this link to the Gallery.

Here is one photo attached:

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Rome with Leica M8

Various albums are included. (9 to be exact)

Rome deserves that, being the capital of the Roman Empire, which extended to Turkey and farther away.

An interesting note to share is that, there are more roman sites in Turkey than in Italy or Greece.

Link for Rome photos is here.? Lots of photos from Vatican, Pantheon, Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill, St. Peter Basilica and various touristic places, organized in separate albums.

Here is a sample from St. Peter’s Basilica:

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Iznik, a capital for many civilizations

A small town in Turkey, located on the ?znik lake, close to Bursa. No one would guess that this town was the capital of many civilizations, or that it was one of the early centers of Christianity.

Therefore, the small town has ?so much to offer. The list includes small remains from the first and Second Councils of Nicaea, the first and seventh Ecumenical councils in the early history of the Christian church, the Hagia Sophia Church, Roman theatre, mosques and other remains from the Ottomans.

Please follow this link to the gallery for more photos from Iznik.

First photo is the Hagia Sophia Church remains:

Additional information from Wikipedia follows:

?znik (which derives from the former Greek name ??????, Nicaea) is a city in Turkey which is primarily known as the site of the First and Second Councils of Nicaea, the first and seventh Ecumenical councils in the early history of the Christian church, the Nicene Creed, and as the capital city of the Empire of Nicaea. It served as the interim capital city of the Byzantine Empire between 1204 and 1261, following the Fourth Crusade in 1204, until the recapture of Constantinople by the Byzantines in 1261.

The city lies in a fertile basin at the eastern end of Lake ?znik, bounded by ranges of hills to the north and south. It is situated with its west wall rising from the lake itself, providing both protection from siege from that direction, as well as a source of supplies which would be difficult to cut off. The lake is large enough that it cannot be blockaded from the land easily, and the city was large enough to make any attempt to reach the harbour from shore-based siege weapons very difficult.

The city is surrounded on all sides by 5 km (3 mi) of walls about 10 m (33 ft) high. These are in turn surrounded by a double ditch on the land portions, and also include over 100 towers in various locations. Large gates on the three landbound sides of the walls provide the only entrance to the city.

Today the walls are pierced in many places for roads, but much of the early work survives and as a result it is a major tourist destination. The town has a population of about 15,000. It has been a district center of Bursa Province since 1930. It was in the district of Kocaeli between 1923-1927 and was a township of Yeni?ehir (bounded to Bilecik before 1926) district between 1927-1930.

Early history, Roman and Byzantine Empires

The place is said to have been colonized by Bottiaeans, and to have originally borne the name of Ancore (Steph. B. s. v.) or Helicore (Geogr. Min. p. 40, ed. Hudson); but it was subsequently destroyed by the Mysians. A few years after the death of Alexander the Great, Macedonian king Antigonus ? who had taken control of much of Asia Minor upon the death of Alexander (under whom Antigonus had served as a general) ? probably after his victory over Eumenes, in 316 BC, rebuilt the town, and called it, after himself, Antigoneia (Greek: ??????????). (Steph. B. l. c.; Eustath. ad Horn. II. ii. 863) Several other of Alexander’s generals (known together as the Diadochi (Latin; original Greek ????????/Diadokhoi “successors”)) later conspired to remove Antigonus, and after defeating him the area was given to Thessalian general Lysimachus (Lysimakhos) (circa 355 BC-281 BC) in 301 BC as his share of the lands. He renamed it Nicaea (Greek: ??????, also transliterated as Nikaia or Nic?a; see also List of traditional Greek place names), in tribute to his wife Nicaea, a daughter of Antipater. (Steph. B., Eustath., Strab., ll. cc.) According to another account (Memnon, ap. Phot. Cod. 224. p. 233, ed. Bekker), Nicaea was founded by men from Nicaea near Thermopylae, who had served in the army of Alexander the Great. The town was built with great regularity, in the form of a square, measuring 16 stadia in circumference; it had four gates, and all its streets intersected one another at right angles, so that from a monument in the centre all the four gates could be seen. (Strabo xii. pp. 565 et seq.) This monument stood in the gymnasium, which was destroyed by fire, but was restored with increased magnificence by the younger Pliny (Epist. x. 48), when he was governor of Bithynia.

Palace of Diocletian in Nicomedia circa 300 AD.

The city was built on an important crossroads between Galatia and Phrygia, and thus saw steady trade. Soon after the time of Lysimachus, Nicaea became a city of great importance, and the kings of Bithynia, whose era begins in 288 BC with Zipoetes, often resided at Nicaea. It has already been mentioned that in the time of Strabo it is called the metropolis of Bithynia, an honour which is also assigned to it on some coins, though in later times it was enjoyed by Nicomedia. The two cities, in fact, kept up a long and vehement dispute about the precedence, and the 38th oration of Dio Chrysostomus was expressly composed to settle the dispute. From this oration, it appears that Nicomedia alone had a right to the title of metropolis, but both were the first cities of the country.

The theatre, restored by Pliny, but now fallen once again into dilapidation.

The younger Pliny makes frequent mention of Nicaea and its public buildings, which he undertook to restore when governor of Bithynia. (Epist. x. 40, 48, etc.) It was the birthplace of the astronomer Hipparchus (ca. 194 BC), the mathematician and astronomer Sporus (ca. 240) and the historian Dio Cassius (ca. 165).[1] It was the death-place of the comedian Philistion. The numerous coins of Nicaea which still exist attest the interest taken in the city by the emperors, as well as its attachment to the rulers; many of them commemorate great festivals celebrated there in honour of gods and emperors, as Olympia, Isthmia, Dionysia, Pythia, Commodia, Severia, Philadelphia, etc. Throughout the imperial period, Nicaea remained an important town; for its situation was particularly favourable, being only 40 km (25 mi) distant from Prusa (Pliny v. 32), and 70 km (43 mi) from Constantinople. (It. Ant. p. 141.) When Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Empire, Nicaea did not lose in importance; for its present walls, which were erected during the last period of the Empire, enclose a much greater space than that ascribed to the place in the time of Strabo. Much of the existing architecture and defensive works date to this time, early 300s.

Nicaea suffered much from earthquakes in 358, 362 and 368; after the last of which, it was restored by the emperor Valens. During the Middle Ages it was for a long time a strong bulwark of the Byzantine emperors.
Nicaea in early Christianity

In the reign of Constantine, 325, the celebrated First Council of Nicaea was held there against the Arian heresy, and the prelates there defined more clearly the concept of the Trinity and drew up the Nicene Creed. The doctrine of the Trinity was finalized at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD which expressly included the Holy Ghost as equal to the Father and the Son. The first Nicene Council was probably held in what would become the now ruined mosque of Orchan. The church of Hagia Sophia was built by Justinian I in the middle of the city in the 6th century (modelled after the larger Hagia Sophia in Constantinople), and it was there that the Second Council of Nicaea met in 787 to discuss the issues of iconography.


The city saw a long period of peace under Byzantine rule, which lasted until the rise of the Seljuk Turks. In 1077 they took the city, which changed hands several times in the next year until it was firmly in their control by 1078. Here they formed their capital. This event was instrumental in starting the First Crusade at Byzantium’s request in 1095, and armies from Europe along with smaller units from Byzantium converged on the city in 1097. After the European armies laid siege to the city and penetrated the walls, they were surprised to awake the next morning to see the Greek flags of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos flying over the city. Robbed of their chance to plunder the city, the crusaders and Byzantines were soon at odds. In the peace which was afterwards concluded the city was ceded to the Byzantines.

The twelfth century saw a period of relative stability and prosperity at Nicaea. The Komnenian emperors Alexios, John and Manuel campaigned extensively to strengthen the Byzantine presence in Asia Minor. Major fortifications were constructed across the region, especially by John and Manuel, which helped to protect the city and its fertile hinterland. There were also several military bases and colonies in the area, for example the one at Rhyndakos in Bithynia, where the emperor John spent a year training his troops in preparation for campaigns in southern Asia Minor.

Constantinople later fell in 1204 to the European armies in the Fourth Crusade, who set up the Latin Empire of Constantinople. They had poor control over the area, and a number of Byzantine successor states sprang up as well, including Epirus and Trebizond. However it was Nicaea that formed the core of the successor Byzantine Empire after Theodore Lascaris (who became Theodore I) founded the Empire of Nicaea (western Asia Minor) there. Building on the strong military infrastructure built up in the area over the last century, Theodore I and his successors slowly expanded their domains, and in 1259 Michael VIII Palaeologus usurped the throne. He captured Constantinople from the Latins in 1261, and restored the Byzantine Empire.

Ottoman Empire

In 1331, the city was conquered and incorporated into the Ottoman Empire by Orhan I. With the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the town lost an important degree of its importance, but later became a major center with the creation of a local fa?ence pottery-making industry in the 17th century (known as the ?znik ?ini, ?in meaning China in ? Chinese porcelain stood in great favour with the Sultans.) ?znik tiles were used to decorate many of the mosques in Istanbul designed by Sinan. However, this industry also moved to Istanbul, and ?znik became a mainly agricultural minor town in the area when a major railway bypassed it in the 19th century. Currently the style of pottery referred to as the ?znik ?ini is to some extent produced locally, but mainly in K?tahya, where the quality ? which was in decline ? has been restored to its former glory.


The ancient walls, with their towers and gates, are in relatively good preservation. Their circumference is 3,100 m (10,171 ft), being at the base from 5 to 7 m (16 to 23 ft) in thickness, and from 10 to 13 m (33 to 43 ft) in height; they contain four large and two small gates. In most places they are formed of alternate courses of Roman tiles and large square stones, joined by a cement of great thickness. In some places columns and other architectural fragments from the ruins of more ancient edifices have been inserted. As with those of Constantinople, the walls seem to have been built in the 4th century. Some of the towers have Greek inscriptions. The ruins of mosques, baths, and houses, dispersed among the gardens and apartment buildings that now occupy a great part of the space within the Roman and Byzantine fortifications, show that the Ottoman era town center, though now less considerable, was once a place of importance; but it never was as large as the Byzantine city. It seems to have been almost entirely constructed of the remains of the Byzantine era Nicaea, the walls of the ruined mosques and baths being full of the fragments of ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine temples and churches. In the northwestern parts of the town, two moles extend into the lake and form a harbour; but the lake in this part has much retreated, and left a marshy plain. Outside the walls are the remnants of an ancient aqueduct.[2]

The Church of the Dormition, the principal church of Nicaea, was probably the most important Byzantine cathedral in Asia Minor. It was decorated with very fine mosaics from the 9th century. The church was destroyed in 1922,[3] during the Turkish War of Independence.

Excavations are underway in the Ottoman [kiln]s where the historic ?znik tileware were made. The Hagia Sophia is also undergoing restoration.

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Sardes ancient city, Sart-Turkey

Turkey is full of major ancient cities, because it’s located at the junction of trading between the east and the west.

Sardes is one of the most important of these cities, since it was the capital of Lydia, where first coins were issued in the history. Later on, it became onr of the important cities of the Roman Empire.

Follow this link to the Sardes Photos

The photo shows Gymnasium from the Roman period.

From Wikipedia:

Sardis, also Sardes (Lydian: Sfard, Greek: ???????, Persian: Sparda), modern Sart in the Manisa province of Turkey, was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, one of the important cities of the Persian Empire, the seat of a proconsul under the Roman Empire, and the metropolis of the province Lydia in later Roman and Byzantine times. As one of the Seven churches of Asia, it was addressed by the author of the Book of Revelation in terms which seem to imply that its population was notoriously soft and fainthearted. Its importance was due, first to its military strength, secondly to its situation on an important highway leading from the interior to the Aegean coast, and thirdly to its commanding the wide and fertile plain of the Hermus.

The earliest reference to Sardis is in the The Persians of Aeschylus (472 BC); in the Iliad the name Hyde seems to be given to the city of the Maeonian (i.e. Lydian) chiefs, and in later times Hyde was said to be the older name of Sardis, or the name of its citadel. It is, however, more probable that Sardis was not the original capital of the Maeonians, but that it became so amid the changes which produced the powerful Lydian empire of the 8th century BC.

The city was captured by the Cimmerians in the 7th century, by the Persians and by the Athenians in the 6th, and by Antiochus III the Great at the end of the 3rd century. In the Persian era Sardis was conquered by Cyrus the Great and formed the end station for the Persian Royal Road which began in Persepolis, capital of Persia. During the Ionian Revolt, the Athenians burnt down the city. Sardis remained under Persian domination until it surrendered to Alexander the Great in 334 B.C..

Once at least, under the emperor Tiberius, in 17 AD, it was destroyed by an earthquake; but it was always rebuilt. It was one of the great cities of western Asia Minor until the later Byzantine period.

A photo showing the toilets: (Probably from the Byzantine period)

The early Lydian kingdom was far advanced in the industrial arts and Sardis was the chief seat of its manufactures. The most important of these trades was the manufacture and dyeing of delicate woolen stuffs and carpets. The stream Pactolus which flowed through the market-place “carried golden sands” in early antiquity, in reality gold dust out of Mt. Tmolus; later, trade and the organization of commerce continued to be sources of great wealth. After Constantinople became the capital of the East, a new road system grew up connecting the provinces with the capital. Sardis then lay rather apart from the great lines of communication and lost some of its importance. It still, however, retained its titular supremacy and continued to be the seat of the metropolitan bishop of the province of Lydia, formed in 295 AD. It is enumerated as third, after Ephesus and Smyrna, in the list of cities of the Thracesion thema given by Constantine Porphyrogenitus in the 10th century; but over the next four centuries it is in the shadow of the provinces of Magnesia-upon-Sipylum and Philadelphia, which retained their importance in the region.

After 1071 the Hermus valley began to suffer from the inroads of the Seljuk Turks but the successes of the general Philokales in 1118 relieved the district and the ability of the Comneni dynasty together with the gradual decay of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum retained it under Byzantine dominion. When Constantinople was taken by the Venetians and Franks in 1204 Sardis came under the rule of the Byzantine Empire of Nicea. However once the Byzantines retook Constantinople in 1261, Sardis with the entire Asia Minor was neglected and the region eventually fell under the control of Ghazi (Ghazw) emirs, the Cayster valleys and a fort on the citadel of Sardis was handed over to them by treaty in 1306. The city continued its decline until its capture (and probable destruction) by the Mongol warlord Timur in 1402.

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URFA, Bal?kl?g?l (Lake with sacred fish)

Urfa is located in the south-eastern part of Turkey.

The photos are from the legendary lake of Sacred Fish (Baliklig?l) where Abraham was thrown into the fire by Nimrod. According to the myth, the fire became the lake, and the wood became the fish. Follow the link for the Gallery.

The pool is in the courtyard of the mosque of Halil-ur-Rahman, built by the Ayyubids in 1211 and now surrounded by attractive gardens. The fish are fed by the visitors, who make wishes.? The courtyard is very peaceful and it is said that if you see a white fish you will go to heaven.

From Wikipedia:

The history of ?anl?urfa is recorded from the 4th century BC, but may date back to the 12th century BC, when there is ample evidence for the surrounding sites at Duru, Harran and Nevali Cori.[2] It was one of several cities in the Euphrates-Tigris basin, the cradle of the Mesopotamian civilization. According to Turkish Muslim traditions Urfa (its name since Byzantine days) is the biblical city of Ur, due to its proximity to the biblical village of Harran. However, some historians and archaeologists claim the city of Ur in southern Iraq. Urfa is also known as the birthplace of Job.
In the aftermath of the First Crusade, the city was the center of the Crusader County of Edessa, until 1144, when it was again captured by the Turk Zengui. For the ten years following the Turkish capture, Urfa was at the center of European history, since the very reason for which the Second Crusade was launched was the city’s recapture. While it began with an enthusiastic massacre of Jews in western Europe and the presence of an Emperor and a King of France gave it much lustre, it was a disaster, its only success recorded resulting from auxiliary operation when an English fleet took from the Arabs and passed into the hands of the future King of Portugal the city of Lisbon.[3]

Under the Ottomans Urfa was a centre of trade in cotton, leather, and jewellery.

Modern ?anl?urfa presents stark contrasts between its old and new quarters. The old town is one of the most evocative and romantic in Turkey, with an ancient bazaar still visited by local people to buy fruit and vegetables. Much of the old town consists of traditional Middle Eastern houses built around courtyards, invisible from the dusty streets, many of which are impassable to motor vehicles.
?anl?urfa’s newer districts meanwhile, are a sprawl of modern concrete apartment blocks, with many surprisingly tidy leafy avenues, containing modern restaurants, sports facilities and other amenities with air-conditioning, a refuge from the roasting summer heat.

Another photo from the lake under the evening mist:

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Zeugma/Belk?s in Turkey

Here are photos from our recent trip to Gaziantep.

You may visit the Gallery Link. The first 2 items are the most precious pieces. First one is “Mars”, Roman’s war God, and the second one is? the “Gypsy Girl” . The Mars statue found in Zeugma is probably one of the best versions ever known. The eyes are made from silver with surrounding gold, while the main statue is bronze.

Information about “Mars” taken from Wikipedia:

Mars was the Roman god of war, the son of Juno and Jupiter, husband of Bellona, and the lover of Venus. He was the most prominent of the military gods that were worshipped by the Roman legions. The martial Romans considered him second in importance only to Jupiter (their main god). His festivals were held in March (named for him) and October. As the word Mars has no Indo-European derivation, it is most likely the Latinised form of the agricultural Etruscan god Maris. Initially Mars was a Roman god of fertility and vegetation and a protector of cattle, fields and boundaries and farmers. In the second century BC, the conservative Cato the Elder advised “For your cattle, for them to be healthy, make this sacrifice to Mars Silvanus you must make this sacrifice each year”.[1] Mars later became associated with battle as the growing Roman Empire began to expand, and he came to be identified with the Greek god Ares. Unlike his Greek counterpart, Mars was generally revered and rivaled Jupiter as the most honoured god. He was also the tutelary god of the city of Rome. As he was regarded as the legendary father of Rome’s founder, Romulus, it was believed that all Romans were descendants of Mars.

And the photo on the right is the famous “Gypsy Girl”, a small piece of the mosaic from Zeugma.

Also some genaral information about Zeugma:

The ancient city of Zeugma was originally founded as a Greek settlement by Seleucus I Nicator, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, in 300 BC. King Seleucus almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself; whether this city is, or can be, the city known as Seleucia on the Euphrates or Seleucia at the Zeugma is disputed. The population in the city at its peak was approximately 80,000.

In 64 BC Zeugma was conquered and ruled by the Roman Empire and with this shift the name of the city was changed into Zeugma, meaning “bridge-passage” or “bridge of boats”. During Roman rule, the city became one of the attractions in the region, due to its commercial potential originating from its geo-strategic location because the city was on the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China with a quay or pontoon bridge across the river Euphrates which was the border with the Persian Empire until the late 2nd century.

In 256, Zeugma experienced an invasion and it was fully destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. The invasion was so dramatic that Zeugma was not able to recover for a long time. To make the situation even worse, a violent earthquake buried the city beneath rubble. Indeed, the city never regained the prosperity once achieved during the Roman rule.

Zeugma and environs remained part of the Roman empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries the city was ruled by the Early Byzantium or Eastern Roman Empire. As a result of the ongoing Arab raids the city was abandoned once again. Later on, in the 10th and 12th centuries a small Abbasid residence settled in Zeugma.

Finally a village called Belkis was founded in the 17th century.

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Prag teaser album

A few photos from Prag. Here is the link

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Old Mosque – Edirne, Turkey

The Old Mosque (Turkish: Eski Camii) is an old Ottoman mosque in Edirne, Turkey. Construction was started by Emir S?leyman, and completed under the rule of his brother, Sultan Mehmet I during 1402-1414. The mosque is located in the historical center of the city, near the market and close to other prominent historical mosques, Selimiye Mosque and ?? ?erefeli Mosque. The mosque had originally a single minaret, the taller one was later built by Murat II. Inside the mosque large calligraphy works can be seen. The plaque (kitabe) above its western portal gives the name of the architect, Haci Alaeddin of Konya.

A few other photos are in the Gallery. Please follow the link.

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