The Istanbul Archaeology Museum opened in 1891 to try to slow the smuggling of antiquities out of Turkey. And what antiquities they’ve got! Extras are even scattered around the grounds.
The collection of sarcophagi dates as far back as the 4th century BC. The most famous one is the huge Alexander Sarcophagus. It didn’t actually contain Alexander the Great—it depicted his career in great detail. You can even see some of the original paint!
But I was touched more by the Mourning Women sarchophagus.
Two ancient temples were reconstructed with remnants of their friezes and amazing Roman mosaics.
One building on the site is a magnificent tile museum, housing gorgeous examples of Turkish tile work.
Among the treasures in the Museum of the Ancient Orient building:
One tablet of The Treaty of Kadesh, the oldest recorded peace treaty:
The Ishtar Gate, built by Nebuchadnezzar in 575 BC:
A cuneiform tablet from 2700BC, among the world’s first known writing examples:
And a tablet from the 6th century AD, that talks about Jesus and Christianity:
We were amazed and overwhelmed.