/ The Istanbul Guide
Istanbul — By inka on April 3, 2010 at 10:17 am
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Istanbul Modern – First of its kind in Turkey

Any visitor who comes to Istanbul for the first time is inevitably overwhelmed by the sheer amount of sites to see and things to do. At ever twist and turn you have an ‘ohhh’ experience as all the marvellous monuments and buildings which you have seen a thousand times in pictures, books and even movies, greet you in splendid  reality.

If you love art, as I do, you may feel that after visiting places like the Blue Mosque, the Cistern and the Hagia Sofia, to mention just a few, you might want to see what modern Turkish artists have to offer.

No better place to get a brilliant overview than a trip to Istanbul’s Museum of Modern Art – commonly referred to as ‘Istanbul Modern’.

Istanbul Modern Sign

Facts about Istanbul Modern

In an effort to promote modern Turkish artists and with the support and sponsorship of wealthy businessman  Mr. Eczacibasi, Istanbul Modern opened its doors on December 11th 2004. So, it’s a relatively new museum but becoming very popular because apart from permanent pieces, the museum hosts changing exhibitions which at the same time, are social events for the art loving citizens of Istanbul.

Istanbul Modern is located in a vast, 150 year old, converted dock warehouse in Istanbul’s Tophane district, right on the waterfront.

Opening hours are from 10am to 6pm and admission is TYL 10 ($1=approx. TYL 1.5). There are some special rates, so just look when you get there. The museum is closed on Mondays.

A small park and garden surrounding the museum features a few modern sculptures too.

Sculpture in Istanbul Modern's garden

How to get there

Again, the #38 streetcar to the rescue. It runs from Zeytinburnu to Kabatas. Take the streetcar in the direction of Kabatas, and get off at the Tophane stop. Cross the street towards the water, then turn left and walk straight ahead. Istanbul wouldn’t be Istanbul if there weren’t yet another testimony of the past to be admired along the way. This time it’s the baroque Tophane mosque.

The museum itself  is a stark complex, painted bright red and grey and with a red sign ‘Istanbul Modern’ stuck on the roof. You’ll easily see it looming over the lower buildings in the vicinity. Turn right again, follow the sign, cross the car park, walk through security and then up a ramp to the entrance.

Exhibits, café and museum shop

As befits a modern art museum, the rooms are big, wide and bright due to glass walls facing the Bosporus. It shows an overview of modern Turkish artists like members of Müstakiller (The independents), Group D and many more.

After admiring the art, climb the metal spiral staircase and enjoy a coffee in the museum café.

Downstairs opposite the admission desk is the museum shop which I liked very much. They have very good reproductions and art books, but what took my fancy was a set of pillow covers, embroidered in the ancient art of Turkey but showing modern motives. Pretty and useful at the same time.

Then, back on the trusted #38 and across the Galata Bridge to another treat I will tell you about in my next post.

Photographs are the author’s own.

Related places:
  1. A
    Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)
    View Details and Book
  2. B
    Istanbul Modern
    View Details and Book
  3. C
    Galata Bridge
    View Details and Book
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    6 Comments

  • Another excellent post. Istanbul has to be one of the most fascinating cities in the world.

  • Sabina says:

    I would love to stay in Turkey. I’ll be looking for your next post.

  • Mark Hammami says:

    Awesome Inka, love reading your posts and I’m looking forward to the next one already… great !

  • Mike says:

    The “security” part caught my attention. Hope it’s not like Japan where they tell you cameras are a no-no inside the museum. Not all but, many forbid photography. That being the case, I’d hang out at the coffee bar and shoot the outdoors stuff !

  • inka says:

    You are right Mike. No cameras and picture taking allowed inside the museum. That’s why I took the shots outside. Thanks for pointing this out, it’s a valuable addition to the post.

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