Baris Manco House and Museum – Istanbul, Turkey - Atlas Obscura
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Istanbul, Turkey

Baris Manco House and Museum

The home-turned-museum of Barış Manço, the mustachioed Turkish Elvis for children. 

When a Turkish rockstar for children dies in his home, the only logical thing to do is convert it into a museum for those who loved his life’s work, decorated with charming mishmash of rockstar excess and youthful whimsy.

On the night of January 31, 1999, the father of Anatolian rock, Barış Manço, passed away while sleeping in his palatial home in Istanbul’s Moda neighborhood in Kadıköy. For several years thereafter, the estate was bank-held as a backlog of outstanding debts were paid down, after which time the home was converted into a museum befitting the beloved stature of the international rockstar.

Upon arrival to the museum, a life-sized statue of Manço himself greets visitors at the gates. The gardens are filled with statues of children frolicking through greenery, harkening back to Manço’s days of operating a massively popular television show for children. The yard also features giant sculptures of vegetables and a donkey sitting on its haunches.

Through his television program, viewers of all ages were able to follow his travels around the world, as his career blossomed into one of Turkey’s most internationally successful recording artists, transcending the confines of music to become one of the country’s most popular figures of all time.

Inside the mansion-cum-museum, the musician’s personal effects are on display, including his piano, outrageous costumes of all sorts that he wore throughout various periods in his career, and original pieces of artwork. Bronzes of his band members and the owner’s original rock star décor are also scattered throughout the house’s various rooms.

Strolling through Barış Manço’s museum leaves visitors with a tangible understanding of the genius housed within a single man, capable of bridging international borders and oceans, as well as inspiring generations of future creativity.