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Traveler's Reports Our readers are invited to report on their interesting rug-related voyages here. No Marco Polo tall tales, please.

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Old June 16th, 2014, 03:13 PM   #1
Filiberto Boncompagni
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Cyprus
Posts: 88
Default Istanbul’s Carpet Museum is open.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I just came back from a long weekend in Istanbul and I am pleased to inform you that the Carpet Museum (Halı Müzesi) is now open.

In my previous two trips to Istanbul (the first one in 2003) it was always frustrating to found the “closed for restoration” sign on the museum building attached to the Blue Mosque.

Now it is open again but it isn’t there anymore. They moved it to a building on the northeastern back of Ayasofya, a few meters from one of the entrances (the front one, I think) to the Topkapi Palace. See map:

The stunning fact, at least for a rug aficionado: in spite of being clearly indicated and absolutely free the museum is completely ignored by the throng of tourists passing nearby!

Incidentally, if you go to that corner in Google Earth, there is a 360 degrees pictures labeled as “Back entrance Hagia Sophia” where you can se the entrance with the clear sign “Halı Müzesi – Carpet Museum”.

Here’s my photo, instead,

Once inside

The visitors have to pass inside the small kiosk through a metal detector (and X-ray machine for the bags), airport style.
The building hosting the Museum was once a soup kitchen for the poor. Only some forty carpets are on display, in three separate galleries in chronological order.

You are allowed to take pictures but no flash and it’s quite dark - that’s why most of my photos are blurred – so be advised to carry with you a tripod.

The first section hosts some famous Seljuk rugs. On the screen on the opposite side of the entrance there is an electronically animated projection of the scene depicted by Jean-Léon Gérôme "The Carpet Merchant "1887 (see Salon 105 Part 2).

To visit section 2 you have to exit from the building from a dark and not very evident automatic door on the left-end side. Then you go right, find the next automatic door and so on.
A few photos to give you a foretaste of what is expecting you:

The visit was a pleasure. The display is well done and, besides me, my wife, a friend of her and a few bored guards we were alone. Only to be joined ten minutes later by a shy Asian girl.

So, next time you go to Istanbul, I highly recommend the visit.
(Opening hours: 8am-4pm - Closed: Mondays - Admission ticket: Free)

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