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Gulhane Park, Tiled Pavilion, Archeology Museum and Royal Mint

Gulhane Park, Tiled Pavilion, Archeology Museum and Royal Mint

Gulhane Park

Once the extended gardens of the Sultans and surrounding the Topkapi Palace on all sides, Gulhane Park is now a public park.  The park has a relaxed atmosphere, especially at the weekends when it’s used by Turkish families and often has free concerts on show.  It is also home to a zoo.
Other nearby attractions to be found here are; The Darphane (“Royal Mint”), the city’s Archaeology Museum (Arkeoloji Müzesi) and the Tiled Pavilion ( Cinili Kosk ).

Darphane or Royal Mint

The Darphane or Royal Mint can be entered via the Gulhane Park or
through the first courtyard of the Palace; it has no entrance fee and opens Wed-Sun 09:30-17:30.  Most of the current buildings date from 1830 the reign of Mahmut II, although evidence shows coins were made as early as the 16th century.  During 1839-1861 when Abdülmecit made monetary reforms, the mint saw the introduction of steam powered machinery that improved the quality of coins produced.  

The mint was abandoned in 1967 and left undisturbed until the mid 1990s.  It has since been lovingly restored by the Turkish Economic & Social History Foundation and is now open as a museum.  Its exhibits include smelting equipment, imported European coin presses and other assorted artefacts.  It also has space for other exhibitions and has a theatre where Turkish plays are performed in summer.

Archaeology Museum

The Archaeology Museum also includes the Museum of Ancient Orient and Çinili Köşk, all open daily (except Monday) 09:00-16:00 and with entrances in the park or through the first courtyard of the Palace.  

The Archaeology Museum (Arkeoloji Müzesi) centres on the 1887 excavations of Sidon made by Hamdi Bey, Director of Ancient Antiquities. The sarcophagi and other Phoenician monuments that he found have such varying styles which prove the influence of different cultures on the Phoenicians by neighbouring civilisations.  

Exhibited in two rooms;  The Lycian Sarcophagus Room shows centaurs, sphinxes and griffons along with scenes of Greek mythology.  Also here are anthropoid sarcophagi from Sidon, whose oldest discovery is the Tabnit Sarcophagus, originally Egyptian, and the Sidamara Sarcophagus dating from 3rd century AD which is the only remaining important example of its type.  There are other similar sarcophagi here that have been discovered elsewhere in Anatolia.

The second room The Alexander Sarcophagus is covered with scenes thought to be Alexander the Great hunting in battle, though it is known that he was buried in Alexandria and therefore cannot be his sarcophagus.  Sources have attributed it to a ruler of the Seleucid dynasty or to the Phoenician Prince Abdolonyme and it dates from the end of the 4th century BC.  The original metal weapons that would have been held by the warriors and huntsman were presumably stolen when the burial chamber was looted prior to its excavation by Hamdi Bey.  

The Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women, another Sidon sarcophagi, shows 18 members of King Straton’s harem, he died in 360 BC, in various positions of grief and mourning with a funeral cortege on the lid.  Original paintwork can still be seen on the surface of the marble here the same as on the Alexander Sarcophagus.  The museum’s Upper Rooms have beautiful illuminated displays, giving audio and visual information and housing a stunning collection of jewellery and gold work from Troy.

Museum of Ancient Orient

The Museum of Ancient Orient (Eski Şark Eserleri Müzesi) has a small  but impressive collection of Anatolian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian artefacts.  The basalt lions flanking the entrance look new but are late Hittite 9th century and are a good example of the other exhibits inside.  The Treaty of Kadesh the oldest treaty known to mankind (1275 BC) and was signed when a battle took place between the Egyptian and Hittite Empires resulting in a stalemate.  The original treaty was engraved onto silver tablets that did not survive, and it was also inscribed in hieroglyphics on the mortuary temple of Rames II in Thebes. The actual copy on display at the museum was found during excavations at the site of the Hittite capital of Hattusa.  The UN building in New York also has a copy of the treaty above its entrance.  

Tiled Pavilion

The Çinili Köşk ( Tiled Pavilion ) houses a wide range of Turkish ceramics.  The pavilion was built in 1472 as podium for the sultan to watch sporting activities. 


They are located in the Eminonu .  

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