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Military Museum Istanbul

Military Museum Istanbul
This was the site of the Ottoman Imperial Military Academy during the final part of the Ottoman Empire and is made up of the historical buildings of the “Military Museum & Culture Centre”; “The Chief of Staff Military History and Strategic Research Ministry (ATASE)” with other buildings being added at a later stage.  

Opening Hours and Location

The Military Museum (Tel: 0212 232 1698) opens daily between 09:00-17:00 except Mondays and Tuesdays and is located in  Harbiye Sisli Istanbul .


After the conquest of Istanbul by Sultan Mehmet II (1432-1481) in 1453, the St Irene Church was turned into an armoury. The building was restored by Sultan Ahmed III (1673-1736) and he had the door entrance inscribed with “Daru’l Esliha” (Ammunition) and weaponry was stored there regularly thus laying the foundation for it being a Military Museum. It was looted by the Cebecis (armourers) during the deposition of Sultan Selim III (1789-1807) in 1807. After the abolition of the Janissary Corps (Yeniçeri Ocağı) many historical items were destroyed during the unrest and the building became a storage facility for military affairs.

The Armoury Marshall, Ahmed Fethi Pasa, opened it as a museum in 1846 after collecting items from St. Irene Church and this modern museum was the first of its kind.
The building consisted of two sections; the Mecma-i Esliha and Mecma-i Asar-ı Atika. Unfortunately it was again used as an armoury during the reign of Sultan Abdulaziz (1861-1876). 

The objects that were displayed in the Mecma-i Esliha section during that time today make up the main collection of the current museum. These include army materials such as guns, axes, swords, helmets, and army scales.
Objects from the Mecma-i Asar-ı Atika section were added to the collection of the Archaeology Museum and included mummies brought from Egypt, tiling works, inscriptions and sarcophaguses.

Artefacts at the Military Museum

The Military Museum represents a history of military change and development from the past to the present and showcases a wide-ranging collection of some 55,000 objects. These include medals, military uniforms, flags, emblems, armoured shirts, shields, paintings and various types of guns although only 5,000 are actually on display to visitors. At the lower floor of the museum are the Corner of Mehmet II and Sultan Selim I, The Hall of Firearms, The Hall of Cannon Models, Ataturk’s Classroom, The Hall of Janissary Band Instruments, The Hall of Cutting Guns, The Hall of Horse Riding, The Publicity Room, Somalia-Bosnia-Kosovo and The Internal Security Hall, The Flags-Emblems Hall, The Corner of Marine, The Martyrs’ Gallery, The Tents’ Gallery, The Military Uniforms’ Hall.

Halls of the Museum

At the upper floor of the museum there are The Hall of Ethnographic Works, The Hall of Atatürk, The Hall of Armenian Issue with Documents, The Hall of Handwritten Manuscripts and Imperial Edicts-Certificates, The Corner of Sultan Selim III, The Hall of General Kenan Evren, The Hall of Gallipoli War, The Hall of World War I, The Hall of the Second Constitutional Monarchy Period, The Hall of Korean and Cyprus War, The Hall of Chiefs of General Staff of Turkey and The Hall of Turkish War of Independence.
Also the Ataturk Museum collection has 14 swords that were owned by Suleyman the Magnificent along with a headpiece from his horse. There are also embroidered banners belonging to the Mamluk Sultans and Iranian Shah’s; the chain that was stretched across the mouth of the Golden Horn by the Byzantines during the conquest of Istanbul in 1453; swords belonging to Crusader soldiers; a rifle which caused the accidental injury of Sultan Mahmut II and many other historical items belonging to Ataturk.

Janissary Band Playing at Military Museum

The Janissary Band ( Mehter Takımı), the world’s oldest military band, gives concerts of traditional marching music each afternoon between 15:00 and 16:00 if they are not on tour. There is also a wide range of artistic activities performed in the Hasan Rıza Exhibition Hall providing entertainment for visitors.   

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