About Istanbul Maritime Museum
The Istanbul Maritime Museum (Istanbul Deniz Muzesi) exhibits a variety of ships, weapons, works of art and artefacts relating to Turkey’s naval history.
Among the exhibitions on display in the Istanbul Maritime Museum are collections highlighting ship design and weaponry, naval uniforms, navigational instruments and navy and shipping-oriented artwork.
History of Istanbul Maritime Museum
The Istanbul Naval Museum is located at Beşiktaş district of Istanbul in Turkey.
It was established in 1897 by the Ottoman Minister of Navy, and is Turkey’s largest maritime museum, containing more than 20,000 pieces of military artefacts that specifically document the history of the Ottoman Navy. It is also connected to the Turkish Navy-Command in Turkey, and is therefore the country’s first military museum.
The museum has changed location several times since 1897. Most recently, after a five year building project, the museum reopened in 2013 in an impressive new open-plan space overlooking the Bosphorus.
Many items have gone under and are continuing to undergo restoration and conservation works due to the raw materials becoming deformed due to heat, light, humidity, atmospheric conditions, vandalism, and other factors.
Istanbul Maritime Museum Today
Today, visitors can enjoy a range of exhibits that have been extended to include displays from the Navy’s early days in the 11th century to the present day.
The star attractions of the museum are the 14 imperial caiques (royal barges), most of which date to the 19th century. The caiques – long, thin, made of wood, and powered by a small crew of rowers – are laid out side by side, and take up two of the main floors of the museum.
The basement area contains a collection of ornate figureheads and ship decorations. Unlike the European maritime tradition of using women or mermaids as their figurehead, Turkish figureheads traditionally featured strong, fearsome, or quick animals like lions or eagles.
Uniforms, weapons, authentic parts from real ships, testimonies from real people, an exhibition on historical diving equipment, and a detailed museum shop make this museum well worth a visit if you are interested in Turkey’s naval history.
Getting to Istanbul Maritime Museum
The museum is a 21 minute drive from the centre of Istanbul, via the Meclis-i Mebusan Cd. For an adventurous traveller, the museum can be reached in 1 hour 10 by walking along the lovely coastline of the Chornomorsk-Derince river.
The museum is located on Hayrettin İskelesi Sokak in Beşiktaş, near the Beşiktaş ferry pier for Kadıköy line.
The museum is open every day from 9:00 to 17:00 hours but Mondays, New Year’s Day and the first day of religious holidays.