muspassFrom April through to the end of October queues to get into Turkey's blockbuster attractions such as Topkapı Palace and Ayasofya can be dauntingly long. No one wants to waste their precious holiday time standing in line so it's worth knowing that you can buy tickets online (www.muze.gov.tr) provided that you have a credit card and access to a printer to print them out before arrival (printing can NOT be done at the site).

Note: When I checked in middle of 2014 season this page was not working.

If you will be visiting most of the main sites in İstanbul you might want to consider buying a Museum Pass İstanbul which allows you to visit most of them once without having to queue or buy a ticket. However, it costs TL85 and is only valid for 72 hours from first use so you will need to work out whether it represents good value for money. 

As of 2014 there is also a Museum Pass İstanbul valid for 5 days that costs TL115. www.muze.gov.tr/museum_pass

The Museum Pass İstanbul currently covers:


Chora Church

Fethiye Cami Museum

Galata Mevlevihane Museum

Great Palace Mosaics Museum

İstanbul Archeology Museum

Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (currently closed)

Rumeli Hisarı

Topkapı Palace and Harem

Yıldız Palace Museum 


Assorted other discounts are also offered to Museum Pass holders so you should always ask before paying the full fare. For example, there are discounts on Bosphorus cruises run by Şehir Hattları. 

Turks and foreigners with residency permits can buy a Müzekart (Museumcard, www.muze.gov.tr/museumcard_about) which is valid for a year and permits admission to all Turkey's state-owned museums. The card currently costs TL40 which represents great value if you are eligible to buy one. 

It does NOT cover admission to privately-owned museums such as the Pera Museum or İstanbul Modern. Nor does it cover properties in the ownership of the National Palaces Authority such as the Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi Palaces in İstanbul.

The Müzekart+ offers additional discounts for TL50.


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