Museum of Great Palace Mosaics
This historic arcade of shops was once part of the külliye (mosque complex) of the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii). Mosques built by...
İstanbul's most photogenic building was the grand project of Sultan Ahmet I (r 1603–17), whose tomb is located on the north side of the...
Established in 2002, this culinary school has changed hands but is still cooking up a storm under its Turkish-Italian ownership....
Located in a sunken courtyard behind the Blue Mosque, Meşale is a tourist trap par excellence, but still has loads of charm....
One of the Sultanahmet area's best dining experiences, this hybrid cooking-school–restaurant serves a set four- or five-course menu of...
Torun Sokak · interesting places nearby
Museum of Great Palace Mosaics information
When archaeologists from the University of Ankara and Scotland's University of St Andrews excavated around the nearby Arasta Bazaar in the 1930s and 1950s, they uncovered a stunning mosaic pavement featuring hunting and mythological scenes. Dating from early Byzantine times, it was restored between 1983 and 1997 and is now preserved in this museum.
Thought to have been added by Justinian to the Great Palace of Byzantium, the pavement is estimated to have measured from 3500 to 4000 sq metres in its original form. The 250 sq metres preserved here is the largest discovered remnant – the rest has been either destroyed or remains buried underneath the Blue Mosque and surrounding shops and hotels.
The pavement is filled with bucolic imagery and has a gorgeous ribbon border with heart-shaped leaves. In the last room is one of the most colourful and dramatic pictures, that of two men in leggings carrying spears and holding off a raging tiger.
The museum has informative panels documenting the floor's history, rescue and renovation.