Istanbul Mosaic Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

Istanbul Mosaic Museum

Sultan Ahmet, Marmara Region, Turkey

The Istanbul Mosaic Museum contains the amazing remains of mosaics excavated at the Great Palace of Constantinople built during the Byzantine period.

Peta Stamper

20 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Istanbul Mosaic Museum

The Istanbul Mosaic Museum, located near Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey, contains the amazing remains of mosaics excavated from the courtyard of the Great Palace of Constantinople.

Istanbul Mosaic Museum history

First discovered in 1933 and later fully excavated in the 1950s, the mosaic floors were found under the modern Arasta Bazaar and now form the core of the Istanbul Mosaic Museum. The floor was originally part of a peristyle courtyard in the Great Palace and is one of the very few elements of this Byzantine palace to have survived. The mosaics themselves were probably commissioned under Justinian I during his major renovations of the palace in the 6th century.

Istanbul Mosaic Museum today

The museum itself is on the northern side of the courtyard ruins and houses mosaics that made up the pavements outside the original palace as well as the floor of the courtyard. The original mosaic is believed to have been far larger than the remnants on display, and it is thought much of this ancient treasure remains hidden beneath the surrounding buildings.

The Great Palace mosaics that make up the museum have been dated between 450 and 550 AD and depict scenes from daily life, hunting nature and mythology rather than religious figures. Visitors can walk around and above the excavated mosaics and read detailed information points which describe the content and history of each mosaic section.

Located next to Sultanahmet Square, Hagia Sophia and the Boukoleon Palace, the Istanbul Mosaic Museum is in the heart of Istanbul’s historical district, within easy walking distance from all the famous sights of the city.

Getting to Istanbul Mosaic Museum

Located at the mouth of the Bosphorus into the Sea or Marmara, Istanbul Mosaic Museum is easily found when exploring Istanbul on foot or via public transport. Bus BN1 stops along Kennedy Cd, a 5 minute walk from the museum, or you can get T1 tram to Sultanahmet, a 9 minute walk.

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