The first, and largest, building that we visited is simply known as Archaeological Museum, and it holds pieces from a number of ancient civilizations, including Greece, Turkey and the Roman Empire. The Alexander Sarcophagus is probably the best-known artifact. A carving along one of the sides depicts Alexander the Great at war against the Persians and, despite its name, the sarcophagus actually belonged to the king of the Persians. Carvings along the other sides depict animal hunts. This sarcophagus is considered one of the most artistic and best-preserved anywhere in the world.
|The Sarcophagus of Tabnit|
We were fortunate to visit in early 2010, when The Discus Thrower was on loan from the British Museum. Note that when this statue was sold to an English collector in the late eighteenth century, while it was being restored the head was placed incorrectly on the statue. It should face toward the discus, not the ground.
Having been awed by the Archaeological Museum, we went next door to see The Museum of Islamic Art in the Tiled Kiosk. Last week I wrote about how I love small museums and this was no exception. Just a couple of rooms, it was full of light and colour, and we fell in love with the collection immediately.
The kiosk was built in the late fifteenth century, and was originally part of the Topkapi Palace before being annexed by the museum.
|The Mihrab from the Ibrahim Bey Mosque. A mihrab is a niche in the wall of a mosque|
that indicates the direction of Mecca, and thus the direction that should be faced in prayer.