Great Palace Mosaics Museum Entrance

Normal ticket value: €4

Free with Istanbul E-pass

Istanbul E-pass includes the Great Palace Mosaics Museum entrance ticket. Simply scan your QR code at the entrance and get in.

The Great Palace Mosaics Museum, commonly known as the Istanbul Mosaic Museum, is a spectacular mosaics museum located within the Blue Mosque complex's Arasta Bazaar. The museum houses some of the most exquisite mosaics in the world, which date from the East Roman period, from 610 to 641 AD, and were conserved from the Great Palace of Constantinople. Particularly those from the years 450 to 550 AD.

In 1953, it joined the Archaeological Museum Complex and in 1979, it became part of the Hagia Sophia Museum. The Great Palace Mosaics Museum was constructed on the most significant surviving mosaic floor of the palace's colonnaded courtyard's northern section.

History of Istanbul Great Palace Mosaics Museum

During the East Roman period, artists from throughout the country built a massive mosaic that covered 1,870 square meters and contained 40,000 pieces. The ground mosaics were then covered by huge marble panels during the 7th and 8th centuries when the painting was prohibited and they were lost until 1921 when they were rediscovered. That explains why the mosaics are still in good shape today.

With the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmed, Istanbul's conqueror, the Ottoman Palaces, to the Golden Horn neighborhood, a residential district was established over the mosaics' area (even though no one knew they were there).

Those buried mosaics have surfaced following a significant fire in this Ottoman residential neighborhood. Excavation and digging began in 1921 and continued between 1935 and 1951, revealing the mosaics and ruins of the Byzantium Palaces. In 1997, the Great Palace Mosaics Museum was established on the site.

What's inside the Great Palace Mosaics Museum

You'll be treated to one of the world's most stunning mosaics. The depictions are placed between the marble pieces of the museum's mosaic stones; limestone, earthenware, and colorful rocks. The museum's mosaics depict scenes from everyday life, nature, and mythology, such as;

  • a lizard-eating griffin,
  • an elephant and lion fight,
  • a boy feeding his donkey,
  • a young girl carrying a pot, 
  • mare lactation, 
  • a goat milking man,
  • children herding geese,
  • apple-eating bears, 
  • a hunter and tiger fight and many more.

Spectacular Mosaics

The Great Palace Mosaics, which reflect unrivaled mastery, have been dated to 450-550 AD by specialists. Mosaic pieces are made up of limestone, terracotta, and colorful stones roughly 5 mm in size on average. A fish scale effect was applied on a white marble background. The most impressive mosaic depictions are the eagle and snake struggle, children on a camel, a griffin eating a lizard, elephant and lion battle, a mare nursing foal, and children herding geese.

How to get to the Great Palace Mosaics Museum

In the Sultanahmet neighborhood of Fatih district, the Great Palace Mosaics Museum is located in Sultanahmet Square (Hippodrome). On the seaside, close to the Blue Mosque compound at Arasta Bazaar. Look at the map for directions.

  • Bagcilar-Kabatas tram is the most practical means to reach Sultanahmet (T1 line).
  • Sultanahmet is the nearest tram stop.
  • Except for trams and tour buses, Sultanahmet Square and most connecting roads are blocked by vehicular traffic.
  • From Taksim area; Take the funicular (F1 Line) from Taksim Square to Kabatas or Tunel Square to Karakoy and then the tram (T1).
  • You can stroll to the museum if you stay at one of the Sultanahmet hotels.

Great Palace Mosaics Museum Entrance Fee

As of 2021, the entrance price to the Great Palace Mosaics Museum is 45 Turkish Lira. Under the age of eight, admission is free and Istanbul Museum Pass is valid. After viewing the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, you can quickly visit this museum.

Great Palace Mosaics Museum Opening Hours

Great Palace Mosaics Museum is open every day open between 09:00-18:30 (The last entrance is at 18:00)

Due to events and renovations, the opening hours of Istanbul museums may change. Therefore, we recommend reading The Institution's official website and reviewing the current circumstances before visiting the museum.

The Final Word

The mosaics of a vast courtyard, uncovered during excavations around 60 years ago and meticulously and masterfully recreated over many years, are without a doubt the collection's highlight.

Great Palace Mosaic Museum Hours of Operation

Great Palace Mosaics Museum is open everyday.
Summer period is open betweet 09:00-19:30
Winter period is open betweet 09:00-18:30
Last entrance is at 18:30 during summer period, 17:30 during winter period.

Great Palace Mosaic Museum Location

Great Palace Mosaic Museum is located inside the Arasta Bazaar, behind the Blue Mosque.
Sultanahmet Mahallesi
Kabasakal Cad. Arasta Carsisi Sokak No:53 Fatih

Important Notes:

  • Simply scan your QR code at the entrance and get in.
  • Great Palace Mosaics Museum visit can take around 30 minutes.
  • Photo ID will be asked from child Istanbul E-pass holders.
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