Istanbul Mosaic Museum

Sultan Ahmet, Marmara Region, Turkey

About Istanbul Mosaic Museum

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

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.

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.

Contributed by Isabelle Moore

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