Vali Konağı Caddesi · interesting places nearby
Askeri Müze information
For a rousing museum experience, present yourself at this little-visited military museum 1km north of Taksim to view the militaria dating from Ottoman to recent times. Try to visit in the afternoon so that you can enjoy a concert by the Mehter military band, which plays most days at 3pm and 4pm.
The large museum is spread over two floors. On the ground floor are displays of weapons and Turkish military uniforms through the ages, as well as glass cases holding battle standards, both Turkish and captured, including Byzantine, Greek, British, Austro-Hungarian, Italian and imperial Russian standards.
Also on show is an old-fashioned diorama of the Conquest, and a tapestry woven by Ottoman sailors (who must have had lots of time on their hands) shows the flags of important maritime nations from around the world.
The upper floor has a Çanakkale (Gallipoli) diorama and a room devoted to Atatürk, who was a famous Ottoman general before he became founder and commander-in-chief of the republican army and first president of the Turkish Republic.
Perhaps the best reason to visit this museum is to view the short concert by the Mehter. Turkish historians argue that the Mehter was the world's first true military band. Its purpose was not to make pretty music for dancing, but to precede the conquering Ottoman paşas (governors or generals) into vanquished towns, impressing upon the defeated populace their new, subordinate status. Children in particular will love watching the bandmembers march with their steady, measured pace, turning in unison to face first the left side of the line of march, then the right.
The easiest way to get to the museum is to walk up Cumhuriyet Caddesi from Taksim Sq. This will take around 20 minutes. Alternatively, take any bus heading up Cumhuriyet Caddesi from Taksim Sq.