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Radisson Blu Hotel, Istanbul Pera

Explore the worlds of calligraphy and Turkish art


For art lovers, book lovers and anyone who appreciates fine design, the Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM) at Sabancı University is a must-see during your stay in Istanbul. This handsome museum boasts outstanding collections, which include Calligraphy and the Art of the Book, Late Ottoman and Early Republic Turkish Painting, as well as furniture and interior design from the same period. This is a breath-taking collection of rare and beautiful objects set in a grand, historic villa surrounded by leafy grounds. Located on the slopes of the Bosphorus, just a half-hour drive from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Istanbul Pera , the picturesque setting is well worth a visit.

Highlights of the museum's collections include examples of calligraphy dating back over the last 500 years, with illuminated Korans and prayer books, panels, albums, hilyes and documents such as deeds, edicts and endowments. All of these are alongside multimedia presentations that make use of augmented reality technology to provide detailed, page-by-page looks at these rare, delicate manuscripts.

The painting collection, offers an enlightening overview of the development and modernization of Turkish art over the period between 1850 and 1950. There is also an excellent furniture collection that offers insight into the décor of the house during the period it was occupied by the Sabancı family, who owned the villa from 1951 onward.

History of the Sakıp Sabancı Museum


The museum's treasures originated as the personal collection of Sakıp Sabancı, whose father purchased the elegant mansion as a summer home using it as the family's permanent residence. The building became known as Atlı Köşk, "The Mansion with the Horse", due to the striking equestrian statues found in the garden. The house and Sakıp Sabancı's collections were given to Sabancı University in 1998 with the view of it becoming a museum.

This wonderfully cultural space is renown not only for its stunning permanent collection, but also for its excellent program of temporary exhibits, educational workshops, concerts, seminars and other events.

Every two years, the SSM also hosts large-scale exhibitions of contemporary art in conjunction with the Istanbul Biennial, often focusing on a particular artist, period or movement in the art world. For details of current and upcoming exhibitions, visit the museum's website.