Istanbul Archaeology Museum turns 120

Istanbul’s premier Archaeology Museum is now 120 years old and is expecting more visitors than ever to come through its doors this year.

The museum welcomed a quarter of a million visitors last year, thanks to renovations conducted for Istanbul’s tenure as the 2010 European Capital of Culture. But while the museum has become one of Istanbul’s best repositories for displaying the city’s ancient history, the facility itself has a history all its own, stretching back into the 1800s.

The current exhibition at the museum is “Emperors in Istanbul: From the Hittites to the Ottomans,” which takes one through a sizeable chunk of world history.

In August there will be a major photographic show concerning the finds made during the excavations for the Marmaray under the Bosphorus that has been halted since 2004 after it was discovered that the project would pass through the city’s Byzantine harbour. So far, some 30 boats have been recovered.

The remains have proven that the city’s history actually dates back 8,500 years – older than first believed.

There will be other photographic exhibitions in September and October, as well as a series of lectures, to coincide with the 130th anniversary of the appointment of Osman Hamdi Bey as the director of the Imperial Museum.

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