Established over a century ago to celebrate and commemorate Turkish naval history, this museum has been undergoing a prolonged and major renovation. Its architecturally noteworthy copper-clad exhibition hall opened in 2013 and showcases a spectacular collection of 19th-century imperial caïques, ornately decorated wooden rowboats used by the royal household. Temporary exhibitions take place in the downstairs gallery.
The next stage of the renovation will see the museum's original building reopened with exhibits including 'The Navy in the Turkish Republic' and 'Cartography and Navigational Instruments'; the latter is likely to focus on the achievements of the 16th-century cartographer Piri Reis.
In the square opposite the museum is the Sinan-designed tomb of the admiral of Süleyman the Magnificent's fleet, Barbaros Heyrettin Paşa (1483–1546), better known as Barbarossa.
The museum is located on the Bosphorus shore close to the Beşiktaş bus station and ferry dock. Across Beşiktaş Caddesi, dolmuşes (minibuses) run from outside Akbank up to Taksim Meydanı (Taksim Sq; ₺2.50) and to Harbiye, where Turkey's major military museum, the Askeri Müze, is located. The Ottoman military band known as the Mehter performs there most days at 3pm and 4pm.