We continue our Istanbul series by looking at this interesting Museum that is housed in what was once the Palace of Ibrahim Paşa on the Hippodrome.

The palace was built early in the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent who gave it as a wedding present to his Grand Vizier Ibrahim when the latter married the sultan’s sister, Hadice, in 1523.

At that time the palace was the most splendid residence in the Ottoman Empire far exceeding any of the small pavilions which then comprised Topkapı Palace.

Süleyman’s wife, Roxelana, poisoned Süleyman’s mind against Ibrahim and in 1536 the sultan had him executed.

After that the palace was used as a school, barracks and prison with one wing being demolished and, by the beginning of the twentieth century, the whole place was in ruins.

In the 1970s it was rebuilt and restored and now houses a superb collection of Islamic art including many incredible carpets.

In the photo you see the entrance to the main museum (large arched doorway) which fills the first floor of the Palace.

To the left of the entrance is a cafe, and the ground floor on the other side of the courtyard houses the museums ethnographical collection which is also very interesting.

It includes examples of life in a nomad tent, a stone village house and in middle class Ottoman Istanbul.

And at the entrance to the Palace there is an excellent souvenir shop – definitely a good place to spend a few hours immersing yourself in the delights of Islamic art.

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