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Library of Istanbul Archaeology Museums

Library of Istanbul Archaeology Museums
Established in 1891 as the Müze-I Humayun ( Imperial Museum ) the Istanbul Archaeology Museums are leaders in the field of archaeological science and it was assembled and preserved in the Aya Irini Church by Fethi Ahmet Pasa, the Tophane-i Amire Musiri (Federal Marshal) in 1849 (1266 Hijri).  The asar-i atika (old works) attracted the attention of both domestic and foreign visitors and the interest shown on war tools made the men at the Harbiye Nezareti (Ministry of War) anxious so they had the old works transferred from the church to Cinili Mansion in Topkapi Palace . The first order or nizamname was prepared on April 8, 1874 to safeguard the old works.  

The Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi was built in 1883 and today is called the Eski Şark Eserleri Müzesi ( Old Oriental Works Museum ).  Besides having the library the Istanbul Archaeology Museums comprises of three museums and the works within them preserve cuneiform writings, works of eastern origin nations like Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Phoenicia, Hebrew and Hittite and exhibits of works from Byzantine and Roman periods, works belonging to Christianity like sarcophagus; portraits and sculptures, medals, seals, coins and coin cabins of Islamic and non-Islamic origins but the Islamic works have been moved and are displayed at the Cinili Mansion.  

The museum library has manuscripts of Paşas and very significant and precious works from various regions within the Ottoman Empire; from the Balkans to Africa, from Anatolia and Mesopotamia to the Arabian Peninsula.  There are documents that are not only archaeological from the time of Sultan Abdulmecid between 1840 and 1922, that include several services of classification, cataloguing, inventory generation and research made on original documents of around 150,000 official correspondences. The Ottoman Archaeological Documents Archive was established under the Directorate of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum and draws attention to the two PhD theses realised from these archive documents. 
  The library forms one section of the Istanbul Archaeology Museums and is located in the district of Eminonu and together with the museum building, was constructed by renowned architect Professor of Sanayi-i Nefise Mekteb-i Alisi, Aleixandre Vallaury. In the new museum’s building the façade of the antique works were given special attention and it is said that the outer façade was inspired by the Aglayan Kadinlar Lahdi (Crying Women Sarcophagus).   The spacious halls are allocated for displays and organisations of the museums.  The first part of the museum was opened in 1891 and other parts opened in 1903 and 1907 with the permission of Sultan Abdülhamit II.  The museum library is located next to the Treasure Room on the upper level and is called the Imperial Library.  Entry into the two storied building is through a large hall decorated with wooden works from floor to ceiling and covers a space of roughly 500sqm.  The major part of the library houses the books of Osman Hamdi Bey which were provided either by donation or were bought.  

Since the library opened the number of manuscripts and printed works has increased considerably and it contains the specialised works of science, archaeology, the history of art, and history in several languages with many of the very significant collections being obtained through donations.  The collections of Ahmet Cevat Paşa, Mehmet Şakir Paşa, Sultan Mehmet Resat V, Diyarbekirli Sait Paşa, Recaizade Ekrem, Murtaza Hocazade Hatice Hanim, Zeki Megamiz, Karaman Buyukkaya and H. Turhan Daglioğlu are among the major collections held at the library.  Working in the library is subject to special permission which can be obtained from the Directorate of Istanbul Archaeology Museums.  

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