The Conquest of Istanbul was one of the most important events in Turkish history. On May 29, 1453, Sultan Mehmet II breached the Theodosian Walls, and the Ottomans began a lengthy reign as one of the world’s most powerful empires.
The Panorama 1453 History Museum immerses the visitor in the battle.
The Conquest of Istanbul was one of the most important events in Turkish history. On May 29, 1453, Sultan Mehmet II breached the Theodosian Walls, and the Ottomans began a lengthy reign as one of the world’s most powerful empires. Today, near the exact spot of the Byzantine Empire’s final stand, there’s a museum which recreates the battle in stunning detail.
The Panorama 1453 History Museum is located close to the the Topkapi Walls, the gate, through which the first Turkish soldier entered Istanbul.
A massive dome is painted on all sides with a 360° depiction of the siege, immersing visitors into the battle. Scenes of sword fights, Byzantine archers firing from atop the walls, soldiers pouring hot wax down from the walls, giant siege engines, and literally hundreds of other figures create a feast for the eyes.
In the foreground are replicas of the cannons used to attack the wall, and to the west, you can spot the conquering Sultan himself.
Sitting atop his horse, Sultan Mehmet II cuts a noble figure as he surveys the destruction of the walls with grim satisfaction.
“There are around 30 panoramic museums in the world. This is the biggest and the first complete-panoramic museum. Other important features of the museum is that it is located in the area, where the event [the conquest] occurred,” Ibrahim Yuksek, Operational Chief of the Panoramic Museum, told Anadolu Agency (AA).
The museum, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on January 31, 2009, is the product of eight talented artists. There are 10,000 human figures in the museum.
The panoramic painting measures 38 meters in diameter and covers an area of 2,350 square meters.
Around 800,000 people visit the museum annually. 60,000 of them are foreigners, according to museum head Yuksek.
“Tourists from every country come here but the majority of them are from the Middle Eastern and Asian countries. We have also high-profile visitors like statesmen, presidents and world leaders,” Yuksek said, “There are also some people, who want to come and visit the museum four or five times because they are really impressed by the museum.”
“When we’ve seen the museum, we’ve been very surprised. We cannot understand how they built here. We’ve liked here so much. It is very beautiful,” a tourist from Kyrgyzstan told AA.
Kim, another tourist from Korea, also shares the same views. “It is fantastic and very realistic. I liked it. We don’t have a kind of museum in our country,” he said.