With approximately 11,000 square feet of exhibit space, the new Istanbul Airport Museum offers an alternative to shopping and airport lounges for travelers with a long layover.
First opened in July, 2020, the museum brings together hundreds of objects from museums across Turkey. It’s designed to help globetrotters experience a comprehensive cross-section of history, art, and culture in a single visit.
Passengers should keep a keen lookout for signs directing them to the museum, which is on the second floor of the main concourse. After walking down a long corridor festooned with stunning photos of Turkey, visitors will enter a sleekly techno-enhanced wonderland of a museum. Ancient objects are placed in context by interactive video projections and the whole experience is intensified by artistic lighting.
The museum’s first exhibition was entitled “Treasures of Turkey: Faces of the Throne” and spanned more than 3,000 years of history. A highlight of the exhibit was the Treaty of Kadesh, the world’s first peace treaty signed in 1259 BCE between the Egyptians and the Hittites. The museum’s version is in Hittite, the language of the ancient Anatolian Kingdom of Hattusa. The Egyptian versions, located in Thebes, is written in hieroglyphics in two temples belonging to Pharaoh Ramesses II.
Commenting about the opening, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya described the museum as having “the most modern technological facilities, [exhibiting] the thousands of years of experience of Anatolia and Istanbul.” He also added that the new museum is the 90th in the city.
The new Istanbul Airport itself replaced the old Ataturk Airport in October 2018, with a complete transfer of flights in April 2019. Although the entire airport plan will not be completed until 2025, the new facility will eventually accommodate 150 million travelers, with potential expansions to serve over 200 million.
With so much on offer, it’s safe to say that the new museum is no fly-by-night operation.
Know Before You Go
The museum is open 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. every day. Admission is 5 Euro, with free admission to visitors under 8 years old.