The Directorate of Istanbul Archaeology Museums that is dependent on the General Directorate of Monuments and Museums of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Turkey is on the Osman Hamdi Bey Ascent that opens to the Topkapi Palace Museum from the right of the Gulhane Park Entry which is in the Sultanahmet district.
Istanbul Archaeology Museums consist of three museums. Those are Archaeology Museum, Old Eastern Works Museum and Enameled Kiosk Museum.
In the museum collections, there are rich and very important works of art belonging to various civilizations from the regions from Balkans to Africa, from Anatolia and Mesopotamia to Arab Peninsula and Afghanistan that were in the borders of the Ottoman Empire.
The Archaeology Museum consists of two separate buildings.
I) MAIN BUILDING (OLD BUILDING)
Its construction was started in 1881 by Osman Hamdi Bey and with the additions in 1902 and 1908 it gained its latest form. Its architect is Alexander Vallaury. The outer face of the building was made by inspiring from the ?skender Tomb and Crying Women tombs. It is a beautiful example of neoclassical buildings in Istanbul.
On the bottom floor saloons of the building, famous tombs are displayed such as ?skender Tomb, Crying Women Tomb, Satrap Tomb, Lykia Tomb, Tabnit Tomb that are in the Sayda king graveyard.
On the bottom floor, besides the display of tombs, there is Old Age Statuary display in which statues and reliefs from important antic cities and regions are displayed. In this display, the development of the art of statuary from the Archaic Period to the Byzantium Period is displayed in chronological order with outstanding examples.
II) ADDITIONAL BUILDING (NEW BUILDING)
The additional building attached to the southeast of the main building is of 6 storeys. There are depots in the two storeys under the ground floor.
The museum has received the European Council Museum Award in 1991, which is its 100. Establishment Anniversary, with the new arrangement made in the lower floor saloons and the Additional Building display.
OLD EASTERN WORKS MUSEUM
Moreover, in this museum there is a “Tablet Archive” in which 75.000 documents with cuneiform writings are kept.
ENAMELED KIOSK MUSEUM
The kiosk that has been made by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1472 is one of the oldest examples of Ottoman civil architecture in Istanbul. It has been used as Müze-i Hümayun (Empire Museum) in between 1875-1891. It was opened to public in 1953 with the name of Fatih Museum where Turkish and Islamic works of art were displayed and it was transferred to Istanbul Archaeology Museums due to its site.
The entrance façade of the kiosk is single-flat and the back façade is of two-storeyed. There is a marble porch of 14 columns in the entrance. The entrance exedra is decorated with mosaic enamels. Various chinaware and ceramics from the Seljuk and Ottoman period are displayed in the Kiosk that consists of 6 rooms and a middle saloon. There are approximately 2000 works of art in the museum and its depots.