You are deeply mistaken if you think that to see all the sights of Turkey in one day is simply impossible. Such, at first glance, an incredible chance gives us the Miniature Park, Istanbul. This is an open air museum that combines the rich heritage of civilizations that once flourished in the territory of the modern Turkish state. The complex is often called a small model of a large country, where the most valuable historical monuments of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires are presented in miniature.
Miniature is a fairly young park: the municipal authorities of Istanbul presented it to the world, and the grand opening of the museum took place on May 2, 2003 with the participation of the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Today, 134 iconic objects of Turkey are exhibited in miniature, on a scale of 1:25. In total, the territory of the complex covers 60,000 m², and this includes not only the museum itself, but also the restaurant, cafeteria, souvenir shop, children’s playground, parking for 300 cars, an exhibition hall and much more.
The exposition in the miniature park is conditionally divided into three groups of exhibits: one part of the museum is devoted to the sights of Istanbul, the second to the most valuable monuments of Turkey , and the third to the historical sites of the Ottoman era, which are now located in other countries. Here are presented models of two of the seven wonders of the world – the temple of Artemis and the mausoleum of Halicarnassus, which have not survived to this day.
Among the exhibits of the museum you can see reduced versions of famous mosques, madrassas, bridges, amphitheaters, palaces, churches, monuments and sculptures, as well as noteworthy natural sites, for example, Pamukkale. All models are made of high-strength plastic, which is able to withstand both heat and cold in open space.
The museum has become a real showcase of the country, demonstrating its rich historical and cultural heritage. What specific objects can be seen in the complex, as well as how to get to the Miniature in Istanbul, are described in detail below.
Since the models in the park are divided into three different topics, we will also consider them accordingly in groups.
Istanbul, like no other city in Turkey, is rich in attractions, and in the museum 61 of 134 layouts are dedicated to the great buildings of the metropolis . And first of all, you can rank Ataturk Airport here – the point where everyone begins their journey through Istanbul. And although hardly anyone considers the air harbor a unique building, it deserves its place in the museum. After all, it is the largest airport in the country with an annual passenger flow of more than 32 million people.
One of the grandiose exhibits of the miniature park in Istanbul was a copy of the famous Sultanahmed Square , on the territory of which the most popular buildings of the city – Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are spread . All the details of the mini-buildings are made in great detail, and even the lawns around the layout are intentionally covered with short-cut grass and decorated with small bonsai trees. And nearby is a miniature of the ancient Basilica Cistern with a Medusa column , for which many tourists visit the attraction.
It is impossible not to note the miniature of a large Islamic temple – the Suleymaniye Mosque . The original creation of the talented Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, created by order of Sultan Suleiman I the Magnificent, has about five centuries. Here you will find a copy of the Topkapi Palace – the notorious residence of Suleiman I and his wife Roxolana . A smaller version of the Italian Catholic Church of St. Anthony, considered the largest Christian temple in Istanbul, deserves attention.
Among the miniatures of the section dedicated to the metropolis, you can see the ancient Anatolian fortress, the construction of which dates back to 1394, as well as the clock tower of the famous Dolmabahce castle and the Beylerbeyi palace, which was built by order of the Sultan Abdulaziz in the mid 19th century. Miniaturk Park also features a model of one of the most interesting railway stations in the country – Khaidarpashi, which is located in the Asian region of Istanbul. And along the entire perimeter of the museum runs a miniature railway with a length of 1.7 km, along which a small train consisting of six cars passes.
And this is only a small fraction of the objects dedicated to the largest city in Turkey. Among them there are also little-known, but no less valuable sights. Therefore, the Istanbul Museum of Miniatures is a valuable guide where everyone can see the metropolis from a completely different perspective.
See also: Where to stay in Istanbul – tourist tips .
There are 60 miniatures in this exposition. Here you can look at the main attractions of the country, scattered from the most extreme western to distant eastern points, hidden in the north and in the center of the state. So, attention is drawn to the layout of the Selimiye mosque, built in honor of Sultan Selim II in the city of Edirne . Here you can admire the graceful clock tower – the symbol of Izmir, as well as the restored in miniature temple of the fertility goddess Artemis and the mausoleum of Halicarnassus, both of which belong to the seven wonders of the world.
And then the exposition takes you to the south-east of Turkey in the city of Mardin with its unique houses made of yellow limestone and carved stone. In the same part of the country in the city of Diyarbakir lies the oldest bridge Malabadi, dating back to 1147. You will also be impressed by the models of the mysterious ruins of Mount Nemrud, which are actually located at an altitude of 2206 meters. This is a place with buildings from 80 BC. often called the eighth wonder of the world thanks to the perfectly preserved sculptures of heads with a height of 8 to 10 meters. And although only a small part of these monuments is represented in the Miniature Park in Istanbul, many tourists instantly have a desire to visit the incredibly mysterious attraction of eastern Turkey.
Among other things, models of the magnificent mosques of Konya, the religious center of the country, are shown in the Miniaturk park . In this section you can look at a copy of the snow-white natural monument of Pamukkale, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The miniature of the grandiose amphitheater Aspendos from Antalya is executed in the finest details, and small balloons even adorn a copy of the unique sights of Cappadocia .
Such a huge number of attractions will amaze the imagination of any tourist, especially one who is familiar with Turkey only as a seaside resort.
Among the miniatures dedicated to the structures of the Ottoman era outside the country, only 13 models are displayed. Some of them are objects located on the territory of modern Israel. This is primarily the Damascus Gate – the oldest gate of Jerusalem, the Islamic temple “Dome of the Rock” and Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the third most important in the holy city.
Next, Miniaturk Park takes visitors to Egypt, which is represented by one of the largest mosques built in Cairo in honor of Muhammad Ali Pasha. Nearby is the layout of the Greek city of Thessaloniki , where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk himself came from. From here you can go to the Balkans and look at the iconic buildings of the Bosnian Mostar. These are perhaps the most interesting exhibits of the third section of the complex.
How to get there
To understand how to get to the Miniature Park in Istanbul, it is important to decide on your starting point. The museum can be reached from four different districts of Istanbul by municipal bus. From each part of the city in a given direction follows a minibus with a certain number.
- From Taksim Square, take bus number 54 HT in the direction Hasköy – Taksim
- From Eminenu Square – buses number 47, 47 Ç, 47 E
- From Topkapi District, take bus number 41 ST, following the Seyrantepe – Topkapı route
- From ишişli district – bus number 54 HŞ, operating in the direction of Hasköy – Şişli
- Exact address: Örnektepe Mahallesi, İmrahor Cd. 7/1, 34445 Beyoğlu / İstanbul. If you look at the miniature park in Istanbul on the map, you can see that it is located on the right bank of the Golden Horn in its northern part.
- Opening hours: Miniature is open to all comers daily from 09:00 to 19:00.
- Cost of visiting for tourists: 15 tl.
- Official website: www.miniaturk.com.tr/en
- Since the Miniaturk park is located in the open, it is best to schedule a visit to the less hot months.
- In the summer, during the lunch hours in the Miniature complex, many people can gather. Therefore, if you want your walk through the exhibits to take place in peace and quiet, we advise you to come to the sights in the morning.
- The prices in the cafeteria in the park are very reasonable, so if you are hungry, you can safely go to a local institution.
- Before visiting the park, we recommend downloading the special Miniaturk Mobile application on your phone, using which you can use the audio guide presented in the program in 9 languages, including Russian.
- Many tourists recommend visiting the Miniaturk park with children: after all, in addition to entertaining expositions, the infrastructure of the complex includes a playground, large chess, a labyrinth and an ice cream parlor.
If you want to get to know Turkey better, find out about its sights, and just spend time with good use, then you should definitely go to Miniaturk Park, Istanbul. Here you can see with your own eyes all the interesting objects of the country and outline a new travel plan for unexplored corners of Turkey.