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Great Palace Mosaic Museum
Great Palace Mosaic Museum

Great Palace Mosaic Museum

Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Arasta Çarşısı, Sultanahmet Mahallesi, Istanbul, 34122

The Basics

A visit to the Great Palace Mosaics Museum makes a popular addition to a tour of the neighboring Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) or nearby Hagia Sophia. Explore with a guide to understand the historical context and learn more about the mosaics, which date back to AD 450–550 and were discovered by a British archaeological team in the 1930s.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • There is an admission fee for the Great Palace Mosaics Museum. If you have an Istanbul Museum Pass, entrance is free.

  • Plan to spend about an hour exploring the exhibits.

  • Information is presented in both English and Turkish throughout the museum.

  • The museum has no air-conditioning, and there are no restrooms or other visitor facilities.

  • The museum is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.

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How to Get There

The Great Palace Mosaics Museum is located in the Arasta Bazaar, part of the Blue Mosque complex. You can reach the museum on foot from nearby attractions such as Sultanahmet Square and Hagia Sophia, and the closest tram station is Sultanahmet (on the T1 line).

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When to Get There

Open daily year-round, the Great Palace Mosaics Museum’s hours vary depending on the season. Although small, the museum rarely gets busy. If you’re visiting in summer, it’s best to avoid the hottest part of the day, as there’s no air-conditioning inside.

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The Mosaics

The ancient mosaics cover an area of over 2,690 square feet (250 square meters), although the remnants on display are just a fraction of the original surface area. Covered entirely with intricate mosaic designs, the vast artworks include scenes such as a hunter and a tiger, a child feeding a donkey, a lion attacking an elephant, and a lizard eating a griffin, all in a startling array of colors.

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