Ataturk Museum Istanbul

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Look out for the flags when you go!
The entry to Ataturk Museum Istanbul

The name Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is known the length and breadth of Turkey and beyond. There are statues, memorials and monuments in his honour all over the place and even a street named after him in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. One of the first places I ever visited related to Ataturk was the huge Anıtkabir in Ankara, his mausoleum, yet I only made it to the Ataturk Museum Istanbul, in my home town, this year. In honour of 2020 being the 82nd anniversary of his death on 10 November, 1938 today’s post comes to you from there.

Have you seen Ataturk in full military regalia yet?
The great man himself, well a model.

Open from 9am to 5pm every day except Monday, the Ataturk Museum Istanbul is housed in a three storey building on Halaskargazi Caddesi in Şişli on the European side of the city. The rooms are themed according to important events in Turkish history. Given Ataturk’s role leading up to the founding the Turkish Republic in 1923, there’s a lot of material related to that and the Turkish War of Independence. Military clothes, medals, a fabulous collection of postcards of soldiers at the front as well as guns, bullets and a couple of hand grenades. Hopefully defused. If you have time linger a while and watch the videos too, for a glimpse of what life was like back then.

Ataturk had some lovely personal items, didn't he?
Smoking is not recommended

Elsewhere there’s a display of items related to his life and death including soil from Selanik where he was born and a thick album of photos from his funeral at Anıtkabir and other ceremonies to mark the event. Unfortunately it wasn’t open to view. Other photos from his travels around Turkey feature prominently, along with a beautiful burnished wooded gramophone cabinet, gifted to Ataturk by President Roosevelt.

Sleep well
Ataturk paraphenelia

On a more personal note is a selection of outfits he wore during his lifetime and I can tell you, he was a snappy dresser. There’s a dapper suit in Scottish tweed comprising of a fitted jacket and Plus Fours (also known as knickerbockers), a pair of summer sandals that would make it on the catwalk even now and a natty woven safari hat. In case you don’t know the story of hats and Ataturk, click here. Slightly icky and certainly news to me was learning that his teeth were not his own when I saw the set of gold-plated upper dentures proudly on display. Who knew?

Ataturk was very stylish
Yes, that is what you think it it.

Although small, the Ataturk Museum Istanbul is definitely worth a visit. It’s a short bus ride from Taksim Square or take the metro and follow the signs once you alight at Osmanbey.


Planning to come to Istanbul or Turkey? Here are my helpful tips for planning your trip.

For FLIGHTS I like to use Kiwi.com.

Don’t pay extra for an E-VISA. Here’s my post on everything to know before you take off.

However E-SIM are the way to go to stay connected with a local phone number and mobile data on the go. Airalo is easy to use and affordable.

Even if I never claim on it, I always take out TRAVEL INSURANCE. I recommend Visitors Coverage.

I’m a big advocate of public transport, but know it’s not suitable for everyone all the time. When I need to be picked up from or get to Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gokcen Airport, I use one of these GetYourGuide website AIRPORT TRANSFERS.

ACCOMMODATION: When I want to find a place to stay I use Booking.com.

Discover lesser known sites with Istanbul 50 Unsung Places

CITY TOURS & DAY TRIPS: Let me guide you around Kadikoy with my audio walking tour Stepping back through Chalcedon or venture further afield with my bespoke guidebook Istanbul 50 Unsung Places. I know you’ll love visiting the lesser-known sites I’ve included. It’s based on using public transport as much as possible so you won’t be adding too much to your carbon footprint. Then read about what you’ve seen and experienced in my three essay collections and memoir about moving to Istanbul permanently.

Browse the GetYourGuide website or Viator to find even more ways to experience Istanbul and Turkey with food tours, visits to the old city, evening Bosphorus cruises and more!

However you travel, stay safe and have fun! Iyi yolculuklar.

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