quinta-feira, 31 de outubro de 2013

To buy or not the istambul museum pass

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What Is the Istanbul Museum Pass, and Should I Get One?

Picture of the Museum Pass Istanbul, a card providing easy access to famous sightseeing spots.
Is the Museum Pass Istanbul something I should apply for? I get this question a lot from people planning to visit the Turkish metropolitan. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question.
It all depends on what you plan to visit and/or whether you mind standing (for a long time) in a queue or not. So let me explain what the Istanbul Museum Pass is, what you can (not) do with it, whether it’s right for you, and how you can get one.

What Is the Istanbul Museum Pass?

The Museum Pass is a one-time payment card that provides you access to 9 historical museums and cultural points of interest in Istanbul. It is valid for 72 hours, starting from the moment you first use it (not the moment you bought it).

Is the MüzeKart the same as the Museum Pass?

No. The Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry introduced the MüzeKart in 2008. It was, and still is, a huge success among Turkish citizens. It also drew the attention of tourists, but they were (and are) not allowed to buy one. This outcry resulted in the creation of a separate card, the Museum Pass Istanbul.
The MüzeKart is valid for 300+ museums nationwide. Only Turkish nationals and foreigners with a residence permit can obtain it.
The Museum Pass Istanbul is for tourists visiting the metropolitan, hence providing access to a limited amount of venues.
So, as a tourist, the Museum Pass is the one and only card you can apply for!

What Sightseeing Spots Can You Visit with the Museum Pass?

Currently, the card includes free access to the following areas of interest:
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Topkapi Palace (the Harem with the palace is not included)
  • Chora Church or Mosaic Museum
  • Istanbul Archaeological Museums
  • Galata Mevlevi House Museum
  • Istanbul Mosaic Museum
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
  • Yıldız Palace Museum
  • Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam
The card also includes discounts ranging from 10 to 20% in various sightseeing spots as well as shops across Istanbul. The list is too long to include here, but let me highlight a few that may interest you:
You can find the full list and the amount of discounts here.The most important advantage is the ease of use. You no longer need to stand in line to buy your tickets and/or queue to get in.Also, if you plan to visit all of the above mentioned places, you spend a lot less money.What Are the Advantages of the Museum Pass?

How Much Does the Istanbul Museum Pass Cost?

The Museum Pass costs 85 TL per person. There is also a 2,5 TL fee for administration and shipping, regardless of the amount of cards you order for your family or party. Every card has the applicant’s name on it, and you may be asked to provide identification when entering.
Children under the age of 12 years enter for free in the included venues, so no need to buy a card for them.

How Can I Get a Museum Pass?

As a Witt Istanbul Hotel resident, you can order it on-line prior to your visit and have the card(s) delivered to the hotel, waiting for you and ready to use upon your arrival.
Click on this link to buy the Museum Pass Istanbul, and follow the on-screen instructions
  1. Select the amount of cards you want
  2. Make sure to provide the correct personal information as well as credit card details
  3. IMPORTANT! In the address part, make sure to enter Witt Istanbul Hotel’s address:
    Witt Istanbul Hotel
    Defterdar Yokusu No:26, Cihangir
    34433 Beyoglu, Istanbul
In case you don’t stay in our hotel, no need to despair, you can still buy the card in the following places:
  • Topkapi Palace Museum
  • Hagia Sophia Museum
  • Chora Museum
  • Istanbul Mosaic Museum
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
  • Istanbul Archaeological Museums

Is It Worth Getting a Museum Card?

That’s a good question.
  • Mathematical* — A typical Istanbul city trip includes a visit to Topkapi Palace (25 TL) and its Harem (10 TL, not included), Hagia Sophia (25 TL), Basilica Cistern (10 TL), Blue Mosque(free), Dolmabahçe Palace (not included, 15 TL minimum) , Galata Tower (13 TL), Bosphorus Cruise (10-25 TL), Spice Bazaar (free), and Grand Bazaar (free, unless you go on a shopping spree).If we then look which of the above venues are included in the Museum Pass, then this leaves us with Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia, 50 TL worth out of a 85 TL investment.So, you’re short of your investment, unless you include a visit to the Galata Mevlevi House, Archaeological Museums and the Kariye Museum (which I think are too valuable to skip). And if you have kids, don’t forget the discounts at the Rahmi M. Koç Museum and the Istanbul Aquarium.
  • Ease of Use — Mathematically you may get close to your investment, or be 25 TL short, depending on your priorities. But how much is waiting in line for a few hours worth to you?
    Indeed, even if you don’t break even, just walking into your sightseeing spot of your choice at any time of the day, without queuing, is just priceless to me. Trust me, been there, done that, not doing it again … in the blistering sun.
*The prices mentioned above are from October 28, 2013

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