The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is housed in a grand palace that was a gift for Ibrahim Pasha from his close childhood friend, and father-in-law, Suleyman the Magnificent. It was designed by Sinan, Turkey's most famous architect, and completed in 1524. Pasha, who served as Grand Vizier, did not get to enjoy his palace for long, as he was murdered in 1536, accused of plotting against the Sultan.
The museum's collection is excellent. One highlight is the Ethnological exhibit, which shows how ordinary Turks, from Ottoman nomads to city-dwellers, have lived throughout the ages. There is also an excellent collection of fine carpets from Turkey and around the Middle East. In fact, for many years this was known as the 'Carpet Museum'. Other objects on display include tiles, calligraphy, wood carvings, and metal works.
The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art is located right on the Hippodrome. You're bound to be in the area, so you may as well stop in. The collection gives a solid overview of the development of decorative arts in Turkey, though the signage is limited, especially for non-Turkish speakers.
Location: Ibrahim Pasha Sarayi, Sultanahmet Square
Telephone: +90 0212 518 1805
Hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday 09:00-17:00