Both adults and children. Five unusual museums in Istanbul

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

Collection of baby strollers from the beginning of the 20th century. Photo ATOR

A ticket to the museum costs 500TL, but this is more than a worthy reason to spend it. It is better to put at least half a day on a visit – it is impossible to take away not only children, but also adults from here – you can wander and look at everything around, sometimes climbing into some kind of retro carriage, you can almost endlessly.

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

Collection of children’s cars from the beginning of the 20th century. Photo by ATOR

The easiest way to get to the Rahmi Kocha Museum is by bus – to the Kırmızı Minare stop.

According to the information on the museum’s website, the ferry of the Uskudar – Eminonu line stops at the nearby Hasköy Pier. The lazy can come on foot. A walk from the Karakey area will take about an hour.


And since you find yourself in this area, you can also take a look at the open-air museum with the memorable name Munuatürk.

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

In the Miniature Park. Photo by ATOR

This part of the trip is sure to appeal to young tourists first of all: Turkish schoolchildren are brought here on excursions.

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

Miniature Park is especially interesting for children. Photo by ATOR

A nice miniature train passing through tiny tunnels causes exactly the same delight among local and foreign girls and boys – in such places you only understand more deeply that there are much more similarities between people of different cultures than differences.

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Well, at the same time, you can tell the younger generation how rich the history of Turkey is, how diverse its nature is and how surprisingly much this Mediterranean country has contained.

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

There is a place for a cat everywhere. Photo by ATOR

For adults, the museum is still somewhat rustic. After France Miniature or even the Grand Layout in St. Petersburg, the Istanbul miniature Park will probably not surprise you with anything. Except for the completely non-standard views of Istanbul and unusual landscapes that open “from the other end” of the Golden Horn.

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

Approximately such views open from the Miniature Park. This particular photo was taken on the way to the park. Photo by ATOR

An hour and a half is enough to visit “with your head”, you can have a snack and inspect the miniature closest to the bench at the same time. The souvenir shop is a little more interesting, but, again, for young guests. The ticket also costs 500 TL.

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

Miniature airport in Miniature Park. Photo ATOR

The easiest way to get there is by a regular city bus: 47 from Eminenyu, 36 from Taksim Square, 41 from Topkapi.

Many reference books (and Yandex.Maps) recommend using Metrobus for this purpose, but this is very, very bad advice. Go far and sometimes uphill. And you can definitely just walk from the Rahmi M. Kocha Museum.

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

Most of the miniature park fits in the frame. Photo ATOR


If you like dioramas and historical battle panoramas, such as the Borodino Panorama in Moscow or the Panorama of the Defense of Sevastopol, there is an absolutely magical place in Istanbul – the PANORAMA 1453 museum dedicated to the capture of Constantinople in 1453 by the troops of Mehmed the Conqueror (Fatiha), by whose nickname the most famous district of Istanbul Fatih is named.

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

This is a mini-layout of the Panorama itself 1453. In the center, on a circular platform, there are tourists, and around them is the panorama itself. Photo ATOR

It is located just on the border of the walls of Istanbul, quite far from Sultanahmet, the most convenient way to get to it is by tram T1 to the Topkapi stop. The main thing is not to confuse: this stop has nothing to do with the palace, the stop at the palace is called Gulhane.

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

Battle scene from the Panorama 1453 Museum. Photo by ATOR

The museum was opened in 2009, and it is ultra-modern. What distinguishes it from other “panoramic” museums is that here the panorama is completely circular, domed, has no boundaries, it is a complete 3D effect. Here, the eye has nowhere to cling to the “border”, the “frame” of the image in order to understand its real scale.

You climb to the top of the spiral staircase and get right into the thick of the ancient battle – the effect is amazing (by the way, very realistic sound effects).

You are guaranteed at least 10 seconds of shock. Children (and girls too) will be delighted. And for adults, after Panorama 1453, other battle dioramas canthey don’t seem so impressive anymore.

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

Scene from the Panorama 1453 Museum. Photo by ATOR

In addition to the panorama itself, the museum has a historical part, but it will be difficult for an amateur non-historian to understand. The main thing here is the panorama itself.

The entrance fee is 650 liras. By the way, the museum is already included in some of the tour operators’ sightseeing programs in Istanbul, if you see it, you know, it’s worth it.


Another interesting museum and a hidden historical landmark next to it are associated with 1453. This castle (fortress) Yedikule (literally Seven-tower castle) was built in the XV century, immediately after the conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed II. The fortress fit right into the ancient walls of Constantinople (part of the walls of the fortress generally dates back to the IV century AD).

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

The ancient bastions of Yedikule look very powerful. Photo: ATOR

This castle has a rather gloomy history. It was first a treasury repository and archive, and then, for the longest time, a prison and often a place of execution of various figures objectionable to the empire, from Ottoman princes and even the sultans themselves (for example, Osman II was strangled here) to foreign spies. That is, it is a kind of Istanbul prison analog of Shlisselburg or Peter and Paul Fortress.

And this, by the way, is one of the oldest museums in Istanbul: the fortress first received this status in 1895. 

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

Walls of the Edikule fortress. Photo: ATOR

For a long time the fortress was closed for reconstruction, but in 2023 the museum in it started working again: you can get inside the territory, and, they say, even into separate bastions with an excursion. In the courtyard, in the garden, you can see various historical artifacts: stone cannonballs, marble capitals, parts of columns and ceramics.

The fortress of Yedikule, however, is worthy of just an external inspection: its walls and towers are covered with ivy, which gives the ancient walls even more romance. And in autumn, the ivy becomes multicolored, and it’s quite beautiful. 

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

The walls of the Edicule, covered with multicolored ivy, are very beautiful. Photo: ATOR

It’s easy to get to Yedikule. From Sultanahmet, you need to go down to Sirkeci metro station and drive along the Marmaray line to Kazlycheshme station (here the place comes to the surface and this is a regular train platform). Then you need to go in the direction from where you came, another 10-15 minutes on foot. There will be the actual entrance to the fortress itself. 

By the way, the Yedikule district itself is a completely non-touristic suburb of the city. No one speaks English here, people live very simply, and tourists are looked at as a curiosity. But there are old Ottoman houses here, not museum houses, but quite residential ones. 

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

Ottoman wooden house in the streets of Yedikule. Photo: ATOR

And next to the entrance there is another hidden attraction of Istanbul. Any student has probably heard about it. This is the Golden Gate of Constantinople. Do you remember the very gates of Tsargrad from the chronicle, to which the ancient Russian Prince Oleg allegedly (according to legend, most likely in reality, of course, there was nothing like that) nailed his shield?  

So here they are right next to Yedikule. To the right of the entrance to the fortress there is a section of the walls of Justinian, where these main gates of the city (laid in stone in the Middle Ages) are located.

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

The Golden Gate of Constantinople can only be seen from the cemetery. Photo: ATOR

It is clear why excursions are not conducted here: the gates themselves can only be seen from afar, and then only if you climb the crest of the ancient fortress moat on the territory of the ancient Ottoman cemetery (it is open, but walking there carefully is not an easy task). But making your way between the graves to the moat itself, you can take beautiful photos that 99% of tourists who have visited Istanbul do not have. 

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

The Golden Gate of Constantinople, shot from a distance with a 300 mm telephoto lens. Photo: ATOR


If you visit both of the above-described museums, it’s just for the whole day, especially with children. And such a plan is more suitable for those who have been to Hagia Sophia more than once or twice, have seen Cisterns, can take excursions to Sultanahmet’s best pastry shops themselves, and have already bought everything on Istiklal.

But the next museum is, in general, a must have even for those who are in the city for the first time. In principle, you can start your acquaintance with Istanbul right there. At the same time, refresh the “match” in my head.

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

In the Museum of the history of Ayai Sofia. Photo by ATOR

Moreover, the Hagia Sophia History & Experience Museum is located in close proximity to all the main attractions of the city – in the historical palace of Ibrahim Pasha, opposite the entrance to the Blue Mosque.

Admittedly, when representatives of the Agency for the Development and Promotion of Tourism in Turkey suggested visiting there, at first the idea caused skepticism and resembled a waste of time – a wonderful spring time when you can, for example, walk in the park. But not really. The museum has nothing to do with the halls we are familiar with, where there are many incomprehensible things that should not be touched in any case.

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It is interactive and represents a maze of darkened rooms with huge screens, which clearly and clearly show the intricacies of the fate of the main temple of Istanbul. And the light and sound effects immerse visitors deeply into the story, which is told page by page by multilingual audio guides.

И взрослым, и детям. Пять необычных музеев Стамбула

From the history of Hagia Sophia. Photo by ATOR

There is no need to go anywhere – the museum is in the very center. An entrance ticket for foreigners costs 25 euros. The question of cafes and souvenir shops is not worth it here, because there are countless of them around. It is better to lay about an hour for a visit.

Ekaterina Tropova

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