Istanbul’s cultural sites most visited in Turkey

Istanbul’s cultural sites most visited in Turkey

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Istanbul’s cultural sites most visited in Turkey

Topkapı Palace (above), the Hagia Sophia Museum (below R) and the Ephesus Ancient City are the country’s most visited places in the first six months of the year, according to data provided by the Culture and Tourism Ministry. Hürriyet photo

Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia Museum and Ephesus in İzmir were the three places visited tourist sites in the first half of 2012, the Culture and Tourism Ministry has said, noting that it made over a billion Turkish Liras off of entrance fees around the country.

A total of 189 museums and 131 historical sites managed by the Culture and Tourism Ministry were visited by almost 13 million people in the first half of 2012, bringing in revenue amounting to 1.08 billion Turkish Liras, it said.

Turkish museums and historical sites present artifacts from all of the civilizations that have inhabited the territory that is now modern Turkey, dating back thousands of years, and their share in tourism increases every year.

Istanbul’s broke a visitor record in the first half of the year, when compared to the other areas of the country. The city’s museums and ancient sites were visited by more than 4 million people in the first half of the year, producing 59,186,360 liras in revenue.

In Istanbul, the Topkapı Palace Museum had the most visitors. The palace was built in 1478 by Mehmet the Conqueror and served as the administrative center of the Ottoman state for 380 years. Visitors to Topkapı in the first half of the year numbered more than 1.5 million, and the earned income was more than 24 million liras. The palace’s Seraglio (Harem), where the women of the palace lived in the Ottoman era, was visited by 360,062 people, bringing in 4.6 million liras.

The second most-visited site in Istanbul, the 1,475-year-old Hagia Sophia Museum, also received more than 1.5 million visitors in the first six months of the year, earning 26 million liras.

İzmir follows Istanbul

After Istanbul, İzmir drew the second-highest number of visitors in the same period. The ancient site of Ephesus, which dates back to 6000 B.C., was visited by almost 800,000 people, bringing in 16 million liras.

In the first half of the year, more than 8 million people paid fees to visit museums and historic sites, while 4.6 million people visited them free of charge, according to data provided by the ministry.

So far this year, more than 400,000 Turkish tourists have purchased a Müzekart (Museum Card), which provides discounted or free entrance throughout the year. Last year, 19,696 people visited museums and historic sites for free while almost 9 million people paid for visits. The income gained from these visits was almost 254 million liras, and 898,504 people obtained Museum Cards in 2011, according to the ministry.

The other most-visited museums and historical sites in order of number of visitors were as follows:



- Mevlana Museum, Konya: 733,353 visitors, 1,545,879 liras in income
- Hierapolis Ancient City, Denizli: 638,499 visitors, 7,699,539 liras in income
- Göreme Open Air Museum: 438,833 visitors, 1,434,542 liras in income
- Troy Ancient Site, Çannakale: 253,263 visitors, 631,170 liras in income
- Kaymaklı Underground City, Nevşehir: 208,736 visitors, 506,765 liras in income
- Istanbul Archaeology Museums: 192,009 visitors, 1,061,924 liras in income
- Saint Nicholas Museum, Antalya: 191,833 visitors, 814,185 liras in income
- Myra Ancient Site, Antalya: 187,492 visitors, 839,805 liras in income
- Aspendos Ancient Site, Antalya: 172,283 visitors, 725,505 liras in income
- Sümela Monastery, Trabzon: 120,433 visitors, 687,214 liras in income.

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