No. 3: The Istanbul Archaeology Museums
Turkey is one of the most historically amazing countries in the world. The first human settlement arose from within its borders and there has been more than one awesome Empire to claim Istanbul as its capital. So naturally the city houses one of the greatest collections of ancient artifacts. The museum proper is really cluster of three museums are all next to each other and able to be visited all on the same ticket. The Istanbul Archaeology Museum itself is in a beautiful location right next to Topkapi Palace. They have so many historical artifacts that it looks like they don’t know what to do with them all. On the walk up to the museum you can see Byzantine ruins just discarded by the side of the path. I would kill to have one of those in my garden! Inside the museum is a plethora of artifacts from Prehistoric, Greek, Roman, and Ottoman Eras. I really enjoyed seeing the exhibit about the growth of Istanbul through the ages. Don’t miss the Alexander Sarcophagus which is a marble coffin depicting, in colour, Alexander the Great duking it out in battle.
No. 2: The Egyptian Museum
‘I love gooold!’ I think of this quote from Austin Power’s Goldmember when I think of this museum. This beautiful history museum houses every famous Egyptian artifact you can think of. So many wonderful sculptures of Cleopatra, Akhenaten, and the most famous one of all, Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus and death mask. His sarcophagus is made from dazzling gold and jewels and made with and intricate craftsmanship. Its no small object either so its makes for one amazing apotheotic feat of man. Be sure to check with the museum that his sarcophagus and mask are not on tour somewhere as they usually are. Nevertheless, The Egyptian Museum houses a wide array of everyone’s favourite Egyptian relic….mummies!
No. 1: The British Museum
Dappled in controversy and with over eight million artifacts beautifully on display, this history museum is a curator’s and archaeologist’s dream. Being the largest history museum in existence, calling it gargantuan in size doesn’t do justice. What is truly amazing about this museum is that it encompasses every major ancient culture in the world. There are a ton of artifacts here in each category: Oriental, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Ancient Briton, Ottoman, Babylonian and Polynesian. Did I miss any? All include wonderful texts which guide you through the history of human civilization. It is not just about numbers here but it’s also a treasure trove the world’s most famous ancient artifacts. To name a few; The Great Wave off Kanagawa, The Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles and The Lewis Chessmen. It is fully possible to spend a week in London visiting this museum everyday and still not see it all. To top it off, The British Museum is free.