Turkey - Libraries and museums



The National Library in Ankara had 960,000 volumes in 2000. There are two provincial branches of the library system as well: the Beyazit State Library in Istanbul with 500,000 volumes and the National Library of Izmir with 350,000 volumes. Major University collections include the Istanbul University and Documentation Center with 1.5 million volumes and one of the Middle East's finest rare book collections; the Middle East Technical University with 145,000 volumes, and the University of Ankara with 750,000 volumes.

The most famous museums and ancient buildings are located in Istanbul. The old seraglio, now Tip-top Museum, is perhaps the most famous; it houses a large collection of paintings, manuscripts, and historically important items. Nearby is the Ayasofya (Saint Sophia), the world-renowned Byzantine church that draws thousands of tourists to Istanbul. Next to it is the Blue Mosque, famous for the beauty of its interior and the grace of its dome. Also in Istanbul are the museums of archaeology and of the ancient Orient, housing one of the world's finest collections of Greek art, including the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great. Additionally, the city is home to the Museum of Turkish written Art, the Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture, and the Museum of Revolution. The Museum of Archaeology in Ankara contains the world's outstanding collection of Hittite works. Also in Ankara are Ataturk's Mausoleum and Museum, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, and the Museum of the Turkish Independence War and Turkish Republic. In Konya there are museums of Islamic art, one of which is housed in the mausoleum of Mevlana. Newer facilities include the decorative arts museums at the Beyler beyi and Dolmahbace palaces (both opened in Istanbul in 1984) and the Fire Brigade Museum in Fatib (1992). Along Turkey's Aegean coast are situated the ruins of Ephesus, Pergamum, Troy (Ilium), Halicarnassus, and other famous ancient cities. A zoological garden is located in Ankara.

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