Museum Pass Basics and Tips
The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism administers many of Turkey's top museums and archeological sites. This trove of artistic, historic, archeological and cultural treasures is a prime reason to visit Turkey, so you'll want to visit at least a few museums and sites.
The Ministry issues multi-admission passes for the museums and sites in its care. Müzekart is sold to Turkish citizens only, but Museum Passes are available to foreign visitors and residents.
Saves You Time
There's no doubt a Museum Pass is convenient: you avoid waiting in the ticket-purchase line at each museum. However, it does not exempt you from the security-check line, so at some places you will still have to spend time waiting in line, meaning that the time it takes you to visit a museum is not just the time you enjoy inside the museum. Take this into account when you plan your daily itineraries.
Saves You Money?
A Museum Pass may save you money if you visit multiple museums and sites within the limited period of validity, which is measured in hours, not calendar days.
The greatest savings come when you plan your daily itineraries carefully. For example if, with the 5-day Museum Pass Istanbul, you enter your first museum or site— and thus start the period of validity—first thing in the morning on Day 1, validity will end early in the morning on Day 6. But if you start validity mid-day on Day 1, you will have until mid-day on Day 6 to enter museums. So you may want to visit a distant museum first, using the morning of Day 1 to travel there before you start the period of validity by entering the museum. Then on Day 6 you can visit museums close to your hotel, where you can enter as soon as they open.
For current pricing info for all museum passes, visit the official Museum Pass website.
Museum Pass Turkey
The Museum Pass Turkey gives you admission to 300+ museums operated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. It's valid for 15 days. If you enjoy museums and archeological sites, this is a bargain, but remember: not all museums are operated by the Ministry. Museums outside the Ministry's control may not be included in the pass, though some offer discounts to Museum Pass holders during the period of validity.
Museum Pass Istanbul
The 5-day Istanbul pass is valid for one entrance to any or all of the following museums within 120 hours after the first use of the pass: Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace (including Hagia Irene Church; Harem optional for an additional fee, Istanbul Archeological Museums, Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts, Museum for the History of Islamic Science & Technology in Gülhane Parkı, Istanbul Great Palace Mosaic Museum, Chora Church Museum (Byzantine Mosaics), Rumeli Hisarı Fortress, Yıldız Palace, Galata Mevlevihanesi (Whirling Dervish Hall), Istanbul Fethiye Museum (Pammakaristos Church).
In addition, several important Istanbul museums offer 20% to 30% admission-fee discounts to Museum Pass holders, as do numerous shops, transport companies, hamams, and even Efendi Travel Agency.
Museum Pass Cappadocia
This 3-day (72-hour), Cappadocia pass gives you entry to the Ihlara Valley, Derinkuyu Underground City, Göreme Open Air Museum, Göreme Valley's Dark Church(Karanlık Kilise), Kaymaklı Underground City, Özkonak Underground City, Nevşehir Museum, Çavuşin Open Air Museum, Hacıbektaş Museum, Zelve and Paşabağlar Open Air Museums.
Museum Pass The Aegean
The 7-day, Museum Pass The Aegean allows you entrance to all Ministry museums and archeological sites in the provinces of İzmir, Aydın and Muğla, which cover Aphrodisias, Bodrum, Çeşme, Didyma, Ephesus, the city of İzmir, Marmaris, Miletus, Priene, Sardis, and others.
Note that Hierapolis (Pamukkale) and Laodicea are not included in The Aegean pass, being in the province of Denizli. Only the Museum Pass Turkey admits you to those sites.
Museum Pass The Mediterranean
The 7-day, Museum Pass The Mediterranean gives you entrance to all Ministry museums and sites in the provinces of Adana, Antalya and Mersin—virtually the entire Mediterranean coast and hinterland from Kalkan and Kaş in the west to beyond Gazipaşa in the east, including Alanya, Antalya, Aspendos, Çıralı (Olimpos & Chimaera), Demre/Myra, Finike, Kaş, Manavgat, Side, Termessos, Tlos, Üçağız (Teimiussa) and many others.
Where to Buy Museum Passes
Museum Passes are sold at the museums and archeological sites for which they are valid; from Mobile Sales Points (vans) roaming major tourist areas; at selected hotels (here are some in Istanbul); online from muze.gov.tr, and from Efendi Travel (10% discount).
—by Tom Brosnahan
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