ISTANBUL (AA): The Islamic Civilizations Museum, inaugurated by President Erdoğan, showcases many relics from Islamic civilizations and unique artifacts that trace 1,200 years of Islamic history, many of which have never been exhibited before
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan inaugurated on Friday the Islamic Civilizations Museum on the grounds of the Grand Çamlıca Mosque, the country’s largest, in the Üsküdar district of Istanbul.
The museum, which will be run by the Turkish Grand People’s Assembly’s (TBMM) Directorate of National Palaces, showcases many relics from Islamic civilizations. The museum also features unique artifacts that trace 1,200 years of Islamic history, many of which have never been exhibited before.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Erdoğan said, “Each of our ancient cities is an open-air museum. Istanbul, which is the apple of the eye of this geography, is our biggest museum. While all classical museums preserve only the past, Istanbul is a museum where the past and the present coexist.”
“We introduced the newest pearl of Istanbul, Grand Çamlıca Mosque, with its art gallery, library, conference hall, workshops and museum, to our civilization heritage as a sign of the richness of our geography, which will serve for centuries,” said Erdoğan, highlighting that civilizations develop thanks to the combined efforts of cities that add value to culture, the arts and sciences.
Stating that each civilization gives an identity to the city within the framework of its own understanding of morality, art, philosophy and religion, Erdoğan said, “The identities of cities have been shaped by their historical, literary and cultural and artistic accumulations.”
Turkey is on very special geography that has played a leading role in history as well as being the cradle of many civilizations, he added.
“Our mosque and complex, which we opened for worship about three years ago, is a work that adds value to the silhouette of Istanbul. The Islamic Civilizations Museum is one of the most important parts of our complex. The works to be exhibited in our museum represent the thousand-year accumulation of Islamic civilization, which brought a brand new face to these lands,” said Erdoğan, adding that valuable works, including the belongings of the Prophet Muhammad and the first copies of the Quran, are exhibited in the museum.
“I hope our Museum of Islamic Civilizations is beneficial for our city, our country, and our world of culture and art,” he said.
The new museum, constructed in a closed area of 10,000 square meters (107,639 square feet), was prepared with works selected from the collections of the Topkapı Palace and Palace Collections Museum, the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, the Istanbul Tombs Museum and the Foundations Museum.
With nearly 800 pieces reflecting the development of Islamic art from the seventh to the 19th centuries, the museum includes 15 thematic sections including woven Turkish art, works attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, and architectural and decorative elements in Islamic art.
Visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to see many more works such as representative footprints of the Prophet Muhammad, the curtain of Mecca’s holy Kaaba, sultan’s caftans, the childhood notebook of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror and Ottoman-era coins.
Special UV-blocking glass with low reflection and high transparency has been used to house some of the museum’s most fragile displays. The showcases are designed to keep out foreign air and dust, and air conditioning is used to maintain a suitable temperature.
The lighting fixtures were designed to draw focus to the displays and highlight the works in the exhibit. Special sensors generate an alarm at any sign of impact, unauthorized opening or breakage. The museum is also protected by 130 security cameras and two facial recognition cameras.
Grand Çamlıca Mosque
Evoking the atmosphere of mosques commissioned by the Ottoman Empire, Grand Çamlıca Mosque is the most modern complex of its kind in Turkey with its art gallery, library, conference hall, art studio and the Museum of Islamic Civilization – set to open later – as well as a peaceful place for worship. Attracting attention with its fine details, Çamlıca Mosque also has some interesting features. The mosque has six minarets to represent the six pillars of the Islamic faith. Four of these minarets, which feature three balconies, are 107.1 meters (351 feet) high and are dedicated to the victory of Manzikert (Malazgirt), and the two other minarets feature two balconies and reach 90 meters high.
The main dome of the mosque, which is 72 meters high, symbolizes the 72 nations living in Istanbul, and its 34-meter dome symbolizes the city of Istanbul. On the main dome of the mosque, there is a 3.12-meter-wide and 7.77-meter-high finial weighing 4.5 tons. The finial, which was painted with nanotechnology and consists of three parts, is the biggest finial in the world. The mosque has some of the largest gates for a place of worship in the world, with its main gate spanning 5 meters, 6.5 meters high and weighing in at 6 tons.
The mosque has also an art gallery of 3,500 square meters, a library of 3,000 square meters, a conference hall that can seat 1,071 people, eight art workshops and an indoor parking lot for 3,500 vehicles. The mosque is distinguished by its acoustic, light, heating, ventilation and security systems.
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