Dedicated to over 1,000 years of Turkish military history, the Istanbul Military Museum is one of the best of its kind in the world. Originally opened in Saint Irene Church, it moved to the First Army Headquarters building in 1950. Not far from Taksim Square, the museum was extensively renovated in 1993 and now displays over 9,000 of the 50,000 pieces in its collection.
On the ground floor of the museum, you will find numerous rooms containing weapons from the early Islamic, Iranian, Caucasian, European and Turkish periods, including bows and arrows, curved daggers and shields. You can also see objects from the conquest of Constantinople on display, as well as a collection of helmets and armor, and the large field tents used by the sultans on their campaigns. Upstairs, you can explore exhibits from World War I, the Battle of Gallipoli and the Turkish War of Independence, as well as military uniforms from more recent times. Don’t miss a special room dedicated to the famous general, Ataturk, who once studied in the building when it was a military academy.
Try to time your visit in the afternoon so you can enjoy the medieval Ottoman Military Band, which performs every day between 3 and 4.
The Military Museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission for adults is 4 Turkish lira. It is about a twenty minute walk up Cumhuriyet Caddesi from Taksim Square or you can hop on any bus heading in the same direction.