Great Palace Mosaic Museum

Mozaik Müzesi

If you stroll all the way through the Arasta Bazaar you will find yourself in front of the Museum of Great Palace Mosaics. The museum exhibits famous mosaics found on the place where the ancient Arasta Bazaar buildings and the burnt stables of the Ottoman army once stood. During the excavations the scientists discovered pieces of a mosaic floor that they believed was once a peristyle courtyard, which was surrounded by all sides with a covered walkway colonnade, and constituted a part of the Great Palace of the Byzantine emperors. The building of the Palace was already under way during the reign of Constantin I but after the emperors moved their main residence to the Palace of Blachernae the Great Palace declined substantially during the following centuries – now its remains can hardly be seen above the surface.

The museum’s collection was opened to the public in 1953 and displayed unique samples of the Byzantine mosaics that have been dated to 450-550 AD and preserved almost intact. The Great Palace mosaics are even older than those of the Hagia Sophia. The original mosaics covered an area of 2,000 square meters of which only 180 remained. The masterpiece depicted mythological scenes; also there were representations of exotic animals, playing children and day-to-day life scenes - the total of 90 types of genres. The mosaics are composed of small cubes (tesserae) the average dimension of which is about 5 mm. The cubes were made of glass, limestone, terracotta and colored stones. It is worth to mention the sublime realism of the representations that highlight the mastery of the ancient artists. Unfortunately the temperature drops and high moisture had a strong impact on the mosaics. In 2012 the building of the museum was renovated and the ventilation and air conditioning systems were improved.

Address: Hacımimi Mh., Lüleciler Arastası Sk
Opening hours: 15 Apr - 25 Oct daily 9 am – 7 pm; 25 Oct – 15 Apr daily 9 am – 5 pm
How to reach: Sultanahmet (TR1)
Coordinates: 41.004249, 28.977373