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Ibrahim Pasha Palace

Ibrahim Pasha was the first Grand Vizier appointed by sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in the 16th century. He was born in Parga, and at the age of six he was sold as a slave to the Ottoman palace where he became a good friend of Suleyman when he was also a child. This good friendship gave him the advantage of being promoted to various posts and finally to the Grand Vizier of the sultan. He also married Suleyman's sister, forming a strategic alliance with the Ottoman royalty. However, he couldn't escape his execution in 1536 because of conspiracy plots made by Hurrem Sultan, the wife of Suleyman.

His magnificent palace, built in the 16th century, is located in todays Sultanahmet Square and facing the Blue Mosque. After his execution, his properties were confiscated by the Ottoman government and the palace was used as the seat of the following Grand Viziers, as a military barracks for fresh recruits (named as Acemi Oglan), as an audience hall of the ambassadors, Jannissary band depot, prison, etc. During the Republic, it was restored and opened as the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum.

The museum houses two important sections: Turkish and Islamic arts section such as fine collections of ceramics, miniatures, calligraphy, textiles, woodwork, stonework, metalwork, carpets etc. dating back to 11th century and on. And the ethnographic section where one can see the traditional Turkish way of life from 18th-19th centuries, nomad tents, rug making with natural dyes, Ottoman houses and textiles, Turkish baths, etc.

In the palace, a large hall which was originaly used as the ceremonial hall is now an exhibition area of these fine old Turkish carpets. This large room is painted in dark red and roofed with black beams.

There is a fantastic view of the Egyptian Obelisk and the Blue Mosque from the courtyard of the palace. In 1984 and 1985 the museum received several awards from the European Counsil and Unesco. It's one of the best examples of its kind with over 40 thousand pieces in its inventory. Recently the museum was completely restored and re-opened for visitors.