The Introduction Hall, which greets us at the main entrance of the museum, includes a model of the museum to make a general introduction to the museum, a souvenir section, publicity panels furnished with lights including photographic information about artifacts in the museum, publicity showcases in which collections of the museum are represented by an example from each one (such as rifle, sword, shield, horse forehead shield), the armoured Jannisary clothes and weapons exhibited in this showcase and a touch-screen information system providing the 3D images about the museum and the ‘Janissary Band’ displayed through a TV system.
At the entrance of this hall which hosts examples from Central Asian Turkish culture and history, there is a panel showing the family tree of the Turks. The diorama depicting the event in which the Turks passed over the Great Wall of China creates a good atmosphere in the hall. The printed pictures of the map showing the Turkish migration routes, Sketch of Turan Tactics, decimal system army of Metehan, Gokturk and Uighur Alphabets, Maps of European Hun Turks as well as oil paintings depicting Tatung War, Atilla and his army, Central Asian Turkish Culture and Turkish Legends, Heroes and Heroines are exhibited.
Also there are samples (imitation) of daily equipment, war tools and devices used by the old Turks in the Central Asia at the showcase inside the hall.
There are Manzikert Pitched Battle panorama with a 3D detailed maquette, oil paintings depicting Dandanaqan Triumph, Myrokefalon Pitched Battle, leading thinkers in Anatolia, key governors of the Turks and the Seljuk State, known as the pivots in science, statue of Karamanoğlu Mehmet Bey, his edict on Turkish language and a large map showing the borders of Seljukian Empire in the hall.
In the hall where information is given on the foundation of the Ottoman state, which has shaken the world from the very beginning of its foundation, there is a digital map showing the areas conquered in different colours by the Sultans, panel of advice by Ertugrul Ghazi and Sheikh Edebali to Osman Bey, an oil painting displaying the foundation of the principality by Osman Bey and his appointment as the ruler of the principality, various paintings of Ottoman sultans and oil paintings depicting decisive victories of that period.
In the hall, the helmet of Orhan Ghazi, the founder of Ottoman State, the standard used by the Ottoman Army during Kosovo War in 1389 and armour mantle of Köse Mihail, which are among the Military Museum collection, are exhibited.
The Battle of Mohacs fought between the Ottoman and Hungarian armies, resulting with Ottomans’ certain victory, is the most destructive battle of the Ottoman history besides its covering an important place in the literature of world’s battle due to its lasting only two hours.
In the displays of the hall weapons, armoures and other military items are exhibited. On the one side the original objects of that period such as gold inlaid swords of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, the chanfron made for his horse, wooden models of two bronze cannons casted for the name of him, the big drum used in the battle of Mohacs, the mail shirt of Behram Pasha, the governor of Anatolia, Sokollu Mehmet Pasha’s gold-plated helmet, the swords with inscription in Kufic style belonging to Sultan Selim I and the chanfron of his horse are reflecting the spirit of the period, on the other side they show the combination of Ottomans’ technique with art in the 16th century. On the swords of Suleyman the Magnificent and Sultan Selim I, floral and geometric motifs, gold inlaid inscriptions including the names of the Sultans, verses from Quran and words wishing glory to the owner of the swords draw attention. On the wooden cannon models is the inscription reads as follows: “Suleyman, the great Sultan of the time ordered to cast cannons as big as dragons that could destroy enemy castles once they fire like thunders.”
In this hall a Diorama showing the Pitched Battle of Mohacs is displayed.
Also in the displays there are items like helmets and mail shirts used by the Hungarian soldiers in the 16th century and European and Islamic items such as swords, axes, maces, helmets and 16th-17th century rifle barrels. Among these, 16th century barrel ending with a dragon head draws attention.
The busts of the founders of great Turkish states in history, flags, maps and information of these states and a list of other Turkish states established throughout history are exhibited in this section. A copy of the Orhun Inscriptions, a text of Turkish history carved on obelisks and the first passage in history written in Turkish where the names and marks of the Oghuz clans are listed and the name “Turk” is mentioned for the first time can also be observed.
This section with a panoramic model portraying the mannequins of Sultan Mehmet , the Conqueror (1451-1481) and Sultan Selim I(1512-1520) on horseback and Turkish forces launching their ships into the Golden Horn during the conquest of Constantinople is one of the interesting corners in our museum.
-Iron Chanfron (Sultan Selim I)
Cutting Weapons of the Islamic Period
The oldest among edged weapons of the Islamic Period exhibited in this section dates back to the late 12th Century. The most important group among the swords in the collection is comprised of the spoils of the Egyptian Campaign of Yavuz Sultan Selim acquired from the Memluk Treasury in Alexandria . The Turkish swords, stilettos, daggers and 'yatagans' (an edged weapon used by the Janissary and the mariners known generally as the infantry class in the Ottoman army called 'levends') forming a large part of the collection have its origins in various periods ranging from the 15th century to the 19th century.
'Yatagans', which are exhibited in chronological order from the 16th century onwards in this section, constitute a separate group. The 'cenbiyes” daggers of Arabic origin from the 19th century and daggers of Turkish and Caucasian origin are among the weapons displayed in this section.
Another important group in the edged weapons hall is comprised of the Turkish, Memluk and Iranian axes and 'tebers', (a crescent shaped war weapon sometimes with two edges, generally used by the private guards of the monarch's escort and dervishes. It is a symbol of the dervish). The Military Museum has a rich collection of 'alems' (a finial used at the top of the flagpole and starboard pole and carried as a symbol before the armies). These alems displayed at the entrance of the edged weapons hall are mostly of Memluk and Iranian origin.
European Cutting Weapons
The swords of the Middle Ages acquired by Islamic States in the period of the Crusades (1094-1270) bear the traces of two different cultures with Memluk epigraphs inscribed later on their cutting blades. Most of these weapons were maintained in the armory in Alexandria and various epigraphs dedicated to Memluk sultans and emirs were also inscribed on them by the Memluk. A large part of these weapons were transferred from Alexandria to the armory in Istanbul after the conquest of Egypt (1517) by Sultan Selim I and some of them was taken first to France and then distributed to other European nations after Napoleon’s Cairo Campaign in 1798. Among the swords displayed in this section, the epees and foils, which are the most popular types in the 14th and the 17th centuries, are predominant.
Along with a couple of small stilettos with elegant forms, the 19th century and 20th century European swords, which are plainer with their nickel-plating bodies, stylized pommels and hand protectors, complement the collection.
The second group in this section is the group of stake weapons developed by the poor in the Middle Ages for defense. Their origins were agricultural implements. Halberts, Fauchards and Partisans are included in this group.
In the “Conquest of Istanbul Hall” of the Military Museum, which has been recently organized, there is a diorama depicting the conquest. In the diorama, Ulubatlı Hasan is portrayed as planting the Ottoman flag on the bastions. The running of the ships on land and the moment of fall of Constantinople are portrayed through 3D and audible techniques.
The chain fastened to the estuary of the Golden Horn is also displayed in this hall.
European Defense Arms
European helmets constitute the largest part of the European defense arms in the museum. European helmets, the oldest samples dating back to the 14th century, are grouped under the following headings: Basinet, Barbute and Salade. The general characteristic of this group is the fact that their faces are open.
The change brought by the Renaissance in the third quarter of the 15th century is also reflected in the shapes of helmets. The closed helmets with heaps replaced the open helmets. These helmets, encircling the head, had holes to allow seeing and breathing on the face guards. The most recognized types of helmet in this group are the Armet and Close Helmets.
Along with helmets, armors are exhibited in the European Defense Arms Hall. In addition to the open-type helmets, the era of the chain-knitted armor jackets came to an end and coarse suits of armour being comprised of multi part steel constructions with limited possibility of action were started to be produced. On several European armor jackets displayed in this hall, the influences of Ottoman art are observed.
We see that the open-type helmets reappeared again due to the proliferation of fire arms in battlefields in late 16th century. Well-known examples of these types of helmet are Morion and Cabassets. After early 19th century, European helmets gradually transformed into special military caps used with uniforms with accessories of leather, fabric, silver thread, stripes and sakındırak. The development of these caps can be observed in the military caps of French, Russian, Prussian and Austrian states exhibited in this section.
Islamic Defense Arms
Islamic defense arms consist of helmets, suits of armor (jackets, armbands, knee plates), shields and animal armor sets (neck, rump and horse frontal armor). In the Islamic defense arms hall, a rich collection from the Ottoman, Memlukî, Iranian, Akkoyunlu, Shirvanshah and Timurlu periods covering a period from the 14th century to the late 18th century is displayed. Even though these works are very similar in terms of form, adornment characteristics and manufacturing techniques, slight differences between them in terms of their forms and adornment motifs may be seen from period to period.
The preferred material for defense arms is iron due to its endurance. However, only in Ottomans, there are many materials produced through gilding on copper such as helmets, shields and horse frontal armors after the 16th century.
A sub-group of defense arms includes the materials that are produced to be used merely in ceremonies. Helmets produced by the appliqué of the plates made by embroidery openwork, which was a method started to be used in the 16th century, on dark red velvet fabric (zerrin conical caps) and shields produced by wrapping colored silk thread on willow branches are the most striking examples of this group.
In the Fire Arms Hall, in which examples of fire arms with matchlock, flintlock, caplock and pin mechanisms covering a period from the 16th century to early 20th century are displayed, the development of the fire arms mechanisms can be observed.
In the hall, examples of rifle and pistol manufactured in various European countries and the United States of America during a period between the 16th century and the 20th century are displayed as well.
The examples in this hall, where flintlock and matchlock rifles and pistols are exhibited, manufactured in Anatolia with Istanbul as the center and in the regions outside Anatolia such as Caucasian, Azerbaijan , the Balkans, Egypt , Syria and Arabian regions are evaluated in a historical period spanning from the 16th century to the 20th century. In addition to the Ottoman arms technology, the wealth of adornment techniques and motifs can be observed on these arms.
Mustafa Kemal ATATURK, the founder of the Republic of Turkey , received his War Academy and War College education in the Military Museum building. He entered the War Academy in 1899 and graduated in 1902 as a lieutenant. Attending the War College in 1903, he completed his education in 1905 as a staff captain.
The classroom, in which Mustafa Kemal studied in the War College , was organized in memory of him.
In the classroom, photographs and documents related to ATATURK 's school life are exhibited.
The models are made of wood or metals such as iron, bronze and brass. Among the models which attract attention are identical wooden models of bronze cannons belong to the period of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent and Sultan Ahmed III displayed in various sections of the museum.
Among the objects displayed in the hall are some foreign cannon models and some equipment related to artillery.
In the Somalia Section of the hall, the photographs of the Turkish Troop that was deployed to Somali under a resolution adopted by the United Nations in 1992, the photographs, the battle dress uniform of the Commander of the United Nations Peace Force (UNOSOM) Lieutenant General (General) Çevik Bir and the plates presented to him by the Chiefs of Defense Staff of the foreign states are exhibited.
In this section objects presented to the Military Museum by the Kosovo Turkish Unit are exhibited.
Turkish Troops, while fulfilling their military duty in Bosnia , also managed to build bridges of diplomacy, culture and understanding between Turkey and the international community. In the hall, objects of the Turkish Brigade that served within NATO Forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation are displayed.
Internal Security Operations Section
In this section, the photographs of children who were brutally murdered by the separatist terrorist organization, the photographs of the 'Mehmetcik', the Turkish Soldier depicted on duty and in the operations in mountainous terrains and various arms, explosives and various items seized during operations are displayed.
Ottoman arrows and bows, leather, wood, marble and iron targets, cases for arrows and knives (called tikresh, kubur, kandil, sadak), wrist protectors, rings worn on the finger while stretching the bow (called zihgir) are among the museum collection of archery belonging to XVI-XIX centuries. In this section we can also see various objects used in manufacturing arrows and bows. Decorations for archery showing the success of the Ottoman sultans such as Sultan Mustafa I, Mehmed IV and Selim III in archery are among the valuable pieces of this hall.
Artifacts of horse-riding and cavalry belong to the 19th and the 20th centuries. Among these artifacts there are saddles, saddle blankets, whips, spurs, stirrups, blacksmith sets, and horseshoes of different sizes for horses, mules and artillery horses, silver saddle pommels, holsters produced to hold weapons and equipment along with swords used by the cavalry, rifles and pennants on the top of the spears. The Turkish javelins used in the game of jereed in the late 19th century are exhibited in this hall as well. Heads of these fine examples, the arrowheads of which are considerably sharp, are adorned with flower motifs engraved on silver. The saddles in our collection are military-type saddles that were modeled on German and British-type saddles. These saddles were used after early 20th century. The Ottoman type saddles, which belong to late 19th and early 20th centuries, are thought to have been produced for the visual compositions in the first Military Museum building, Aya Irini Church .
In this hall, there are examples of Ottoman, Memluki, Italian (Venice), Austrian, Belgian, French, Swedish, English, German and Russian cannons and mortars selected from the collection of the Military Museum are displayed. These cannons, the production dates of which vary from time to time within the period between the 15th century and the 20th century, are either iron or bronze cast. These cannons constitute a significant part of the collection in terms of art and technology, with their emblems of the states they originate from, their plant and stylized animal decorations used through embossing technique and the epigraphs on them stating the master, the workshop and the person whom the cast was dedicated to.
It is the hall, in which the originals and copies of the instruments that have been used by the Janissary Squadron still serving in the Military Museum up to the present day are exhibited.
The instruments displayed in this hall are the pipes, kettledrums, reed flutes, bells, drums, clarions etc. In addition, a big drum used in the Mohaç Pitched Battle (1526) in the reign of Sultan Süleyman, the Magnificent, is exhibited.
Harbiye Turkish Bath
Additionally, the Turkish Bath of Harbiye Military School has been restored through a new regulation and opened for visits.
Military costumes which did not present a great diversity until late XVIII century started to diversify as a result of the renovation movements from Selim III (1789-1807) onwards.
Under the Regulation of Military Apparel promulgated in 1909, uniforms consisting of khaki jackets and pants were adopted.
The Turkish Army has entered the War of Independence in this apparel. In the Costumes Gallery, officers’ uniforms, privates’ uniforms, epaulettes used in the Ottoman era.
In this hall, standards from the Ottoman State period, regiment standarts from the Republican period and flags of foreign nations are displayed.
This hall is dedicated to all our martyrs who have sacrificed their lives while gaining great victories throughout the history.
In this hall, where the “Memorial Wall” on which the names of major great wars since the beginning of Turkish history are inscribed and the artifacts consisting of personal belongings of the martyrs of Dardanelles are displayed, translations of the motto “Peace at home, peace in the world” of the Great Leader Mustafa Kemal ATATURK, which later has become the motto of the Turkish nation into various languages are inscribed on the wall.
Artifacts such as late XIX century shipping flags, submarine buoy, hurricane lamp, compass, submarine mine model and the first submarine model of the Turks are displayed in this section.