all images ©missyweimer 2015

all images ©missyweimer 2016

Monday, April 13, 2015

Istanbul Military Museum (Askerî Müze) in Harbiye


Looking for a little light entertainment in Istanbul? Lucky for you there is no shortage of museums and historic sites to enjoy. One of the biggest (and cheapest!) has to be the Istanbul Military Museum (Askerî Müze), in Harbiye, which covers over one thousand years of military history, wrapping up at WWI. With a 6tl entrance fee* it's got a lot of bang for your buck, quite literally!
*there is an additional small fee to bring your camera in, but phone cameras are free of charge.


The museum is HUGE and is housed in the former Ottoman Imperial Military Academy, essentially the Turkish equivalent of West Point. Its large, picturesque grounds boast tons of cats, cannons, airplanes and statues. Once inside, one could spend an entire day in the building's seemingly never-ending corridors, and still not see everything. Not. Even. Close. The museum showcases all manner of weapons and ammunition, armor, artifacts and intricate, life-sized dioramas. The latter recreates various battle and war related scenes, as well as classrooms, with hand-painted backgrounds and mannequins in various scales and degrees of realism. Thousands of guns, swords and armor for the cavalry, which included camels, elephants and horses, are on display. Besides the hordes or weapons on display one can even view human remains, including a jawbone of a Turkish soldier with a bullet still embedded in the bone. Yes, you read that right.
Stunning, life-sized diorama with painting, props and mannequins.

There is a free demonstration by the Mehter Band which is a 'don't miss'. Besides being a beautiful display of traditional costumes, music, instruments and pageantry, each member of the band sports a very impressive mustache. 

Like all military establishments here in Turkey the fee and food are tax free and subsidized. A snack will cost you less than 1tl. There are many military guides about to answer your questions and direct you.


Don't miss the Ottoman Warrior carnival cut-out photo op, as well as a chance to get a picture with larger-than-life busts of past Ottoman leaders.

The last thing one sees is a giant memorial wall with the words - PEACE AT HOME, PEACE IN THE WORLD. This place is a must see for any history or war buff. Be prepared to spend some time there and to miss much of what is on display. The museum is open everyday from 9:00 - 17:00, except Mondays and Tuesdays, and you can catch the band at 15:00.
A soldiers Koran with a bullet lodged in the top of the left page.
This ENORMOUS chain, which was run across the mouth of the Golden Horn to keep out unwanted ships, was only breached 3 times in its use.
A youthful mannequin of Atatürk sits in a recreated classroom. This school hosted Ataturk, as well as many other leaders of the future Turkish Republic.
A 3 in 1-  gun, knife and bass knuckles. 

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