Tag Archives: museums

Ephesus Museum

museum-marble-aThe museum was closed for about two years whilst the building underwent renovation.  For quite a while it was just a huge hole in the ground.  Nobody was very sure precisely what was going on but a modern building gradually went up and finally, in December 2014, the museum re-opened.  And finally, earlier this week, we got around to going to take a look at what had been done inside.

The ethnographic section appears to have gone, leaving it as a purely archaeological museum.  Not that this is necessarily a bad thing.  The oldest finds from the area are pre-6000 BC, there are bronze age items and, of course, plenty from the Greek and Roman eras.

The museum now contains displays arranged in chronological order which does make the progressions easy to understand.  The labeling still leaves something to be desired as it can be difficult to identify the items to which the labels should apply.  The rooms are darkened.  Quite honestly, it is a while since we last visited the museum, we visit a lot of museums and we didn’t think that it was all that different!

Which is not to say that it is unimpressive…


Photos of the Month, November and December

Still trying to catch up since the trip to the UK, despite having been home for two weeks now.  So we think it best to post pictures for November and December 2014 before it’s time for January!

November features some of the best from Istanbul.  December from a walk with Zirve (the only one we managed to make that month).

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Istanbul Day 2 – Saints and Vikings

AgiaSofiagAfter the museum we wandered out through Gülbahce all the way down to the Spice bazaar where we quite surprised ourselves by not buying anything.  From there we crossed the Galata bridge and strolled around the back streets around Istiklal.  We got the tram back to Sultanahmet with the intention of visiting Aya Sofya Museum ahead of the Pope.  We have, of course, been before but felt it was time for a return visit.  Especially as there is restoration work going on inside and we saw different bits this time.

The place is a strange combination of Muslim and Christian religious art – very old and vAgiaSofiajery beautiful in its own way but, of particular interest to us was a small piece of 9th century Viking graffiti – written by a bored guard, according to the label…

Of course we took a lot of photographs, though with the crowds and the difficult lighting a lot of them did not come out as well as we hoped.



Museum at Olympia

Olympia-ApolloApart from the extensive site, the museum at Olympia is amazing.  It contains a number of famous exhibits, including the (probably) original of Praxiteles Hermes bearing the infant Dionysus which was discovered in the temple of Hera in 1877.  Like most finds, there is a certain amount of academic controversy around it.  Very little appears to be certainly known about Praxiteles!

The statue of Zeus from Olympia was one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World (and one of the four which is not in modern Turkey).  That was lost a long, long time ago, though copies do exist.  It was made by Pheidias.  In the 1950’s his workshop at Olympia was uncovered and items from it (tools, terracotta molds and a cup inscribed ‘I belong to Pheidias’) are on display in the museum giving a fascinating insight into the way the sculptor worked.

These are just some of the highlights, but, for Hilary, the Apollo from the pediment of the Zeus temple was the most amazing item on show.

Following the Rules

Recently we went to Aydin to buy a new printer.  The previous one refused to work shortly after we installed the new print cartridges.  Whilst we were in Aydin we experienced two instances of officials not knowing the rules, and both of them had commendable attitudes to sorting the issues out.

First was a bus driver.  There are municipal buses in Aydin which take you anywhere on their route for the princely sum of 1.5 lira.  We were on the bus between the train station and Forum (a mall).  A youngish man got on with a document which he believed made him exempt from paying the fare.  The driver looked sceptical.  He had never seen such a document before.  So he phoned a friend.  The document was cleared and the young man travelled for free.

Later we went to visit the excellent archaeological museum which is just opposite the Forum.  We showed our Muze Kart.  We were asked if we were Turkish Nationals as, according to the man in the ticket office, only Turkish Nationals are entitled to a Muze Kart.  Hilary explained that there was a new law which meant we could have Muze Kart if we have an Ikamet.  He looked sceptical.  But he looked the rules up in some papers he had on the desk and, sure enough, in we went without paying.  He seemed happy enough to have learned something new.

We were asked not to take photographs.  We would never use flash within a museum in any case, but it’s a pity we have no photographs to show you.  The museum is really impressive.  The finds are mostly from Tralleis, Magnesia, Alinda, Nysa, Alabanda and Ortasia.  It’s only been open since the end of August but we would recommend it to anyone with an interest in archaeology.  There is a wonderful, wonderful marble statue of Pan and a fascinating Hittite bronze.  Outside there are two lions, one in the Roman style, the other strictly oriental.  A wonderful touch.


A few months ago we tried on the offchance to get a Műzekart and were politely told by the staff at Selçuk museum that only Turkish Citizens were entitled to one.  More recently we heard this rule had changed and a friend of ours had managed to get one.  Currently there is no indication of this rule change on the Műzekart web site which still states that applications from non-Citizens will be refused.  More helpfully the website lists many of the places where a Műzekart can be used, it is not a complete list, and there are some exceptions which are clearly listed. All the exceptions are areas within sites where you have to pay extra in any case (e.g. the Harem at Topkapi and the Terraced Houses at Ephesus).

With this potential change of rules in mind we walked into the museum in Selçuk and asked, expecting to have to try to explain there is a new law which means that people with a residence permit and kimlik numbers are now entitled to one.  We were pleasantly surprised, not only were the staff aware of the new rules but knew exactly what needed to be provided.  We were asked for Kimlik Numbers and Residence Permits, and paid 30 lira each.  No photographs were required, the photos in our Residence Permits were scanned and used for the card.  There are no forms to fill out, everything instead entered onto computer.  Our local mobile number was taken and it was explained we may be called for security reasons, so we guess having a local phone number may be necessary.  The whole process took less than 5 minutes.

To summarise, what you need:-
Residence Permit
Kimlik Number
30 Lira
Contact telephone number

The cards are valid for one year and give free entry into virtually every museum and archaeological site in Turkey under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. For us, this represents a significant saving. We will be making a great deal of use of these.

A Load of Old Bull

Between Chania and Santorini we had a day in Heraklion.  We did not go to Knossos, we had both been there before and did not feel inclined to visit again.  So we spent our day wandering the streets of Heraklion and not doing very much at all.  Heraklion is not really a tourist town.  There are some rather tatty tourist-type shops around the port and some restaurants on the waterside, but it’s a working port, not a tourist town like Rhodes Town.

What it does have is an excellent archaeological museum with some very special exhibits.  The museum is being re-modelled and we visited a temporary exhibition space.  They are only currently showing what are considered to be the most important pieces.   There are some wonderful ceramics with octopi on them.  There are many labrys (double headed axes).  There is an acrobat, almost certainly a bull dancer.  And there is a magnificent bull’s head.  Hilary got a bit transfixed by the acrobat and the bull’s head.  There is also some fine archaic Greek work.  And some amazing Mycenaean items.     As it was in temporary space it was not madly well laid out.  This is something we suspect will be addressed when the new building is ready.  Just the one room when we visited, though it’s quite a big room.

A real pity from our point of view that not everything was on display though, looking at it another way, it’s an excellent excuse to return to Crete when the new museum is up and running.  We look forward to that (and, hopefully, a couple of days relaxation in Chania whilst we’re at it!).  It may be some time, the museum has been closed since 2006…

A day out in London

This statue was taken from Halicarnasos

As we are leaving London tomorrow, we thought we would go out for the day. We set off latish morning and headed to Bloomsbury and the British Museum.  .  It was predictably crowded and most crowded where it is always most crowded (in the Egyptian rooms and around the Parthenon pieces).  We spent some time looking at the lion hunts (I do love the Assyrian pieces), then a quick look around the pieces taken from Turkey.   The Nymphaeon and the huge pieces from the Mausoleum in Halicarnassos (now Bodrum) and this small head was found in the temple of Artemis at Efes.  It was picked out for display because modern techniques had revealed blue paint around the eyes…

A couple of hours wandering round and, sick of crowds, we headed out to buy a travel hairbrush as ours is past its best. Nomad did not have one. So we headed to Katmandu in Oxford Street (more crowds) who did. Via Muji for tea tree oil (repels mosquitoes, we hope) and travel toothbrushes.

We independently but mutually decided it would be good to walk through Hyde Park to Exhibition Road then see what we felt like doing. Walking through Hyde Park is always pleasant. We saw lots of people and some water birds including a heron. The photo I took of the heron didn’t come out (the camera on my phone has limited ability to zoom).

The Natural History museum, though free, had a huge queue to get in so we went to the Science museum which was also free (and fairly crowded, as is only to be expected). We wandered round various exhibits – I particularly liked the 17th Century scientific instrument gallery. Then we came back to this flat via Wasabi for some sushi.

Have packed and are now heading out for dinner…