Istanbul Military Museum
Istanbul Military Museum (Valikonagi Caddesi, Harbiye, Istanbul) – this is one of the world’s leading museums of its kind in terms of the richness and variety of its collections. Its foundations were laid as early as in the 15th century. After the conquest of Istanbul by the Turks in 1453, the Byzantine Hagia Irene Church was used as “Cebehane”, an armory sheltering precious warfare weapons, tools, and materials. During the reign of Sultan Ahmet III (1703-1730), the armory collection was reorganized and put on display in 1726 under the name of “Dar-ül Esliha” (Weapons Quarter).
In 1846, Marshal of the Imperial Arsenal, Ahmed Fethi Paşa, converted the venue into a military antiques museum, thereby creating the first Turkish museum in the modern sense, the “Military Museum” which was shortly after renamed “Müze-i Hümayun” (Imperial Museum).
The Military Museum owns a very rich collection consisting of circa 45,000 pieces — including precious objects from the Ottoman era through World War II. However, due to space constraints, the number of pieces on display out of this collection is limited approximately to five thousand. The items classified under diverse groups according to period or category of objects include rifles, pistols, cannons and swords, armor, shields and helmets with refined decorations and inscriptions, copper head armor for horses and great field tents used by sultans on their campaigns.
Admission: 10 TL per person. Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm (closed on Monday).