Grand Palace Mosaic Museum, Istanbul (Büyük Saray Mozaikleri Müzesi)

The Museum of Mosaics of the Grand Palace (Turkish name: Büyük Saray Mozaikleri Müzesi) is a museum of mosaic collections from the time of the Byzantine Empire, discovered on the site of the Great Imperial Palace of Constantinople.

The Mosaic Museum is one of the largest and most diverse landscape images preserved since late antiquity.

The museum is located in the historical center of Istanbul, near Blue Mosque.

The mosaics have been discovered since 1935, during excavations at Arasta Bazaar near Sultanahmet Square. The excavations were carried out by British archaeologists from the Scottish St. Andrews University.

The mosaics were discovered at the site of the perestyle (an open courtyard surrounded by buildings with a colonnade) of the Great Imperial Palace of the Eastern Roman Empire, which served as the main residence of the Byzantine emperors in Istanbul.

The mosaics, according to research, date back to a period somewhere between 450-650 years of our era. Most likely, the mosaics were created under the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, in the first half of the VI century.

After the discovery of the mosaic, no serious measures were taken to preserve it. After that, a number of more studies and excavations were carried out, as well as work on the preservation of mosaics, and after that a museum was created.

The first wooden building of the museum was opened in 1953 under the leadership of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. The building could not maintain the right temperature to preserve the mosaics, and the unique mosaics were damaged.

Subsequently, large-scale restoration works of the exhibits were carried out, and a new stone building of the museum was built, in which the necessary temperature and humidity are maintained with the help of modern equipment. The Mosaic Museum of the Grand Palace, which still exists today, was opened in 1979.

The mosaics in the museum have no religious content. The images are taken from everyday life, nature and mythology and were most likely created by the leading masters of that era.

The most outstanding mosaics in the museum are scenes depicting the battle of an eagle and a snake, a bull and a lion fighting, a mare feeding a foal, a goose, children, a shepherd milking a goat, a child feeding a donkey, a young girl carrying a jug, a group of bears eating apples, hunting a tiger, a boar, a lion, etc. In total, the mosaics depict 150 figures of people and animals on 90 different themes.

Fragments of the columns of the Grand Palace can be seen in the garden of the Mosaic Museum.

There is a souvenir shop at the museum.

Practical information

The Grand Palace Mosaic Museum is located on the south side of the Blue Mosque; on the European side of Istanbul, in the old part of the city. Log in from Arasta bazaar.

The address of the mosaic museum is Sultanahmet Mahallesi Kabasakal Cad. Arasta Çarşısı Sok. No. 53, 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey.

Entrance to the museum is paid. You can purchase tickets only to the mosaic Museum, as well as buy a museum card of Istanbul (Museum Pass Istanbul) or a museum and tourist card Istanbul E-pass, which include a visit to the mosaic museum and some other important museums and places of the city. Learn more about museum and tourist maps of Istanbul...

Tickets to the mosaic Museum can be purchased at the ticket office near the Mosaic Museum.

We recommend that you check the ticket price, opening hours and conditions of visiting the Mosaic Museum of the Grand Palace directly before visiting the official website: .

You can get to the mosaic Museum of the Grand Palace, the Arast Bazaar and the Blue Mosque on foot from the ferry piers near the Galata Bridge; from the railway station of the city train "Marmaray Sirkeci Istasyonu"; from the tram stop T1 "Sultanahmet"; from the metro station Vezneciler (green line M2) on foot about 1.8 kilometers. You can also get to taxi, by rented car, or by taking a tour on the Istanbul Hop-On Hop-Off tour bus (there are tickets for 1, 2 or 3 days).

Tickets for the Istanbul sightseeing bus can be purchased here →

All accommodation facilities in Istanbul, including in the historical center, on the European and Asian sides of the city, can be viewed and booked here booking

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