The Sabancı Museum in Istanbul has an internationally recognised collection of calligraphy and is well worth a visit.


Over the past twenty years or so, Turkey’s super rich have been ensuring immortality by creating universities and museums which bear their name.


And why not, say we. This is one such institution housed in what was the Sabancı family home until 1998, a mansion built in the 19th century by an Egyptian prince.

It is in Emirgan, high up on the shores of the Bosphorus and to get there you take a bus from Kabataş (where the tramway ends just before Dolmabahçe Palace) or from Taksim. The bus stops at the gate of the Museum.

By chance we visited on a Wednesday and can tell you that Wednesday is free entry day. Otherwise you will have to pay as, being a private museum, entry is not covered by the Museum Card.

The Sabancı Museum has an internationally recognised collection of calligraphy and the building also has one section furnished as it was when the Sabancı family lived there – readers who were National Trust members in UK will enjoy that bit.

However, it’s main claim to fame amongst the museums of Istanbul, is that it hosts mega travelling exhibitions in its underground gallery space.

When we visited in December it was ‘Monet and His Gardens’ and previous blockbusters have included Dali and Picasso.

You get the international exhibition in with the normal entry fee – or free if you go on a Wednesday – so it is worth the bus ride.

Emirgan is also famous for its tulips in late April which we hope to see this year, and you can be sure we’ll tell you all about it.