The Archaeological Museum wasn’t as cool (literally) as I thought it would be, but the beautiful Tiled Kiosk made up for it.
I love the frigid relief of an air conditioned museum on a hot summer day. I was hoping for the same kind of relief at the Archaeological Museum, but the air conditioning there was lukewarm. The air was still and stuffy inside, but it was better than baking in the sun.
The Archaeological Museum, located near Gulhane Park and the Topkapi Palace, consists of three buildings. One of which is the Tiled Kiosk. It contains a huge collection of beautiful and vibrant turquoise and dark blue tiles, which are thousands of years old, that contrasts perfectly with the plain white walls it’s mounted on.
The main museum houses one of its most famous feature, the Alexander Sarcophagus. The freestanding reliefs of the sarcophagus jumps out, as if they could come to life. On one of the longer sides of the sarcophagus shows Alexander in battle and the opposite side shows him hunting a lion.
The Ancient Orient Museum, which is converted from a school into a museum, houses my favorite artifact – the Kadesh Peace Treaty, the oldest known peace treaty in the world. It’s dated 1258 BC and signed between Ramesses II of Egypt and Hattusili III of the Hittite Empire. Partial translation of the treaty reads:
“Treaty of Rea-Mashesha-Mai Arnana the great king, the king of the land the of Egypt, the valiant, with Hattusilis, the great king of the Hatti land for establishing good peace and good brotherhood worthy of great kingship forever. These are the words of Rea-Mashesha-Mai Arnana: Now I have established good brotherhood (and) good peace between us forever. In order to establish good peace (and) good brotherhood in the relationship of the land of Egypt with the Hatti land forever.
(I speak) thus: Behold, as for the relationship between the land of Egypt and the Hatti land, since eternity the god does not permit the making of hostility between then because of a treaty (valid) forever.
If an enemy from abroad comes against the land of Egypt and Rea-Mashesha-Mai Arnana, the king of the land of Egypt, your brother sends to Hattusilis, the great king of the Hatti land, his brother saying: “come here to help me against him” to Hattusilis, the king of the Hatti land shall send his foot soldiers (and) his charioteers and, shall slay my enemies.”