Louvre tops museum list with Islamic art section
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily NewsWhile Paris’ most-famous museum, the Louvre announces that it has become the most visited museum of the year, Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace Museum and Hagia Sophia Museum and İzmir’s Ephesus were the three most-visited tourist sites in the first half of 2012, according to information taken from the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
The Louvre said Dec. 20 that its new Islamic art wing helped cement its position as the world’s most-visited museum, with nearly 10 million visitors walking through its doors in 2012, over a million more than last year.
New Islamic art wing increases popularity
The exact figures will be released early next year, but in the meantime the Parisian museum said there was a “remarkable progression in Chinese visitors, who now figure into the top three groups [of non-French visitors] alongside Americans and Brazilians.”
Next come Italians and Germans, the museum said in a statement that noted its website had seen more than 11 million visitors and that its Facebook page had some 800,000 followers.
The museum’s new wing of Islamic art, with about 3,000 precious works from the seventh to the 19th centuries, opened to the public in September and has since then attracted 650,000 visitors alone.
Costing nearly 100 million euros ($131 million), it is funded by the French government and supported by endowments from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Oman and Azerbaijan.
Istanbul and Turkey
A total of 189 museums and 131 historical sites managed by the Culture and Tourism Ministry in Turkey welcomed almost 13 million people in the first half of 2012, bringing in revenue amounting to 1.08 billion Turkish Liras, the ministry said.
Turkish museums and historical sites present artifacts from each 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.
According to İzmir Culture and Tourism Directorship, between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 2012, close to 3 million people have visited the 12 museums located in İzmir. After Istanbul, İzmir drew the second-highest number of visitors in the same period. The ancient site of Ephesus, which dates back to 6,000 B.C., was visited by almost 800,000 people, bringing in 16 million liras in revenue.
While this year, Ephesus attracted 1.7 million visitors, the St. Jean monument attracted 241,000 and Akropol attracted 223,000 visitors.
The ancient city of Ephesus is crowned revenue champion, drawing in 8 million liras worth of revenue within 10 months.
Highest number to Topkapı
Of all Turkish museums and ancient sites, Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace received the highest number of visitors in the first four months of this year, according to information provided by the Culture and Tourism Ministry Revolving Funds Enterprise. The museum was visited by a total of 8,521,197 people in this period.
Topkapı Palace was followed by the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul with 835,187 visitors, and the ancient city of Ephesus in İzmir with 350,134 visitors.
The southern province of Antalya followed Istanbul and İzmir in terms of provinces where cultural places received the most visitors. The Mevlana Museum, for example, was visited by 75,000 people within 10 days and the museum has reached one of the highest visitor figure this year.