Istanbul Naval Museum – What to Do & See

istanbul naval museum

Istanbul Naval Museum, also known as Deniz Muzesi, is one of the most important naval museums in Turkey. This museum offers an extensive collection of maritime artifacts and is situated in the district of Beşiktaş, Istanbul. Established in 1897 by Ottoman Minister of the Navy Bozcaadalı Hasan Husnu Pasha, the museum contains approximately 20,000 objects, including the oldest continuously maintained wooden hull in the world.

In this guide, we will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the Istanbul Naval Museum. We will cover its brief history, what to see, practical details, nearby attractions, and insider suggestions.

Brief History of Istanbul Naval Museum

The Istanbul Naval Museum has a rich history that dates back to the late 19th century. However, the museum was officially established in 1961. In 2008, the museum underwent extensive restoration and reopened in 2013 with a larger exhibition building covering an area of 20,000 square meters. The museum is now connected to the Turkish Republic Navy Command and is the first naval museum in Turkey.

What to See

The Istanbul Naval Museum offers a vast collection of maritime artifacts. Here are some of the main highlights:

Ottoman Wooden Rowboats

Naval Museum, Istanbul

The museum houses hundreds of years old Ottoman wooden rowboats, which are some of the oldest boats in the world. These boats were used for various purposes, including transportation and fishing. The collection of wooden rowboats is unique, and visitors can observe the intricate details of their construction.

Ship Models

The museum has an extensive collection of ship models that are intricately detailed. The models range from ancient ships to modern ones, and visitors can observe the evolution of shipbuilding throughout history.


Another noteworthy feature of the museum is the collection of figureheads. These beautifully crafted figures were traditionally placed on the prow of a ship and were believed to provide protection while at sea. Visitors can observe the intricate details of these figures and appreciate the craftsmanship that went into creating them.

Byzantine Chain

Chain of the Golden Horn

The museum also houses a Byzantine chain that is thousands of years old. The chain was used to block the entrance of enemy ships into the Golden Horn. Visitors can observe this ancient artifact and learn about its historical significance.


The museum has four main galleries, two exhibition rooms, a kid’s room, a cine vision, an auditorium, two art galleries, and two foyers. These galleries showcase a vast collection of maritime artifacts, including paintings, wood carvings, seals, and other maritime-related objects.

Practical Details

If you’re planning a visit to the Istanbul Naval Museum, here are some practical details to keep in mind:

Visiting Hours

The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. The museum is closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, and the first day of religious holidays.


The museum is located on the Bosphorus shore, close to the Beşiktaş bus station and ferry dock. Visitors can take a boat from Kadikoy, Eminonu, or Üskudar and get off at Beşiktaş. The museum is next to the Beşiktaş pier.

Ideal Time to Visit

The best time to visit the museum is in the morning when it opens, as it can get crowded in the afternoon. Visitors can also avoid the crowds by visiting on a weekday.

Insider Suggestions

Here are some insider suggestions to enhance your visit to the Istanbul Naval Museum:

  • Consider taking a guided tour to learn more about the history and significance of the museum’s collection.
  • Don’t miss the opportunity to see the Tarihi Kadırga, the only surviving original galley in the world, and the oldest continuously maintained wooden hull.
  • Check out the museum’s schedule for special events or exhibitions.
  • Bring a camera to capture the intricate details of the museum’s collection.

Nearby Attractions

If you’re looking for other attractions to visit in the area, here are some nearby options:

Sinan Paşa Mosque

The Sinan Paşa Mosque is a historic mosque located in Beşiktaş. It was built in the early 16th century and is known for its intricate tilework and Ottoman architecture.


Ortaköy is a charming neighborhood located along the Bosphorus. It’s known for its colorful houses, lively atmosphere, and street food stalls.

Dolmabahçe Palace Museum

The Dolmabahçe Palace Museum is a historic palace located in Beşiktaş. It was built in the mid-19th century and is known for its stunning architecture and luxurious interiors.


Is photography allowed in the museum?

Yes, photography is allowed in the museum. Visitors are encouraged to take photos of the museum’s collection.

Are there any guided tours available?

Yes, guided tours are available at the museum. Visitors can book a guided tour at the museum entrance.

Is the museum accessible for wheelchair users?

Yes, the museum is accessible for wheelchair users. The museum’s entrance is wheelchair accessible, and there is an elevator inside the museum.


The Istanbul Naval Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in maritime history. With its extensive collection of artifacts and unique features, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Turkey’s rich naval history. We hope this guide has provided you with all the information you need to plan your visit and make the most of your time at the museum.