Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Museums Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, 09 January 2010 8:02pm

I was a bit Ottomaned-out, so I decided to spend today at some museums that covered other topics (mostly).

I visited the Museum of The History of Science and Technology in Islam in the morning. It has a couple galleries devoted to beautiful astrolabes (one with a video loop with spacey techno music!) and quadrants (all, or almost all replicas), and another gallery of models of other instruments used in various historical observatories. The models of observatory complexes were pretty amazing. I didn't realize that, in order to improve the precision of their measurements, they were building measuring devices several stories tall. I wish they'd had more explanation of the uses of the instruments. Diagrams would have been awesome. There were a couple rooms full of siege engines. Lots and lots of model trebuchets. Smaller exhibits covered contributions to physics, chemistry, and medicine.

After lunch, I went to the Archaeology Museum, which probably would have been more impressive if I hadn't just been in Greece. There were some good Greek and Roman period pieces, and some interesting exhibits from earlier periods (Neolithic, Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Hittite, but I didn't see anything that I thought was amazing.

I walked across the Galata bridge (occasionally dodging the backward swings of anglers casting off of the side), stopped for pistachio baklava at Karaköy Güllüoğlu, and found my way to the Istanbul Modern art museum. I'm not totally sure, but I think that the only way to get to the museum on foot is by walking through its parking lot. They're showing a lot of video installations right now, so I sat down and watched several short pieces.

Sitting down reminded me how tired I was of walking, so after seeing the museum, I took a tram back to Gülhane, stopped for a quick dinner, picked up a few more baklava (chocolate and walnut), and walked back to my hotel.

I'm checking out tomorrow, to catch a plane to Cappadocia, and I just realized that I've failed to mention that I've been staying at Hotel Poem. Instead of room numbers, rooms have poems. I've been staying in "Hotel Rooms". I'm not totally sure that I would have chosen to dedicate a hotel room to that particular poem.