Müzekart system has existed in Turkey for a long time, offering cheaper access to museums and archaeological sites. Unfortunately, Müzekart system has only been offered to the citizens of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, as well as foreigners with residence permits in Turkey and international students with valid ID cards issued by Turkish universities. For this reason, the usefulness of Müzekart system is negligible for foreign tourists. Fortunately for some time now the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism has been systematically extending an offer of Museum Pass cards, aimed at overseas travelers.
Museum Pass cards vary in their geographical coverage, price and the period of validity. In all cases, by purchasing such a card one obtains the right to visit certain museums and archaeological sites without any additional costs. What's more, Museum Pass cardholders are entitled to skip the queue to enter these sites. In the case of Turkey's biggest tourist hits, such as Hagia Sophia in Istanbul or the ruins of Ephesus, it is of paramount importance. However, the priority does not apply to security checks, so in many places it is necessary to spend some time waiting before entering the site. It is allowed to visit every place within the framework of the purchased card only once. It should also be noted that there are many private museums in Turkey where Museum Pass cards do not apply (with some exceptions).
Below you can find an overview of Museum Pass cards currently on offer. You will also find out where are the sales points of these cards. You can also buy them online, from the official website of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Museum Pass - Istanbul
Museum Pass - Istanbul is the longest functioning card in the system. It is valid in 13 major tourist hits of Istanbul, including the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and its Harem, and the Archaeological Museum. Moreover, it entitles its owner to discounts at many private institutions, such as the Sakıp Sabancı Museum or the Rahmi M. Koç Museum. Card holders also receive discounts at designated restaurants, movie theatres, theme parks and travel agencies.
The Museum Pass - Istanbul costs 85 TL and is valid for 5 days (120 hours) after the purchase. Please note that the access to Hagia Sophia now costs 30 TL, to Topkapi Palace - another 30 TL plus an additional 15 TL for the Harem tour and ticket to the Archaeological Museum is 15 TL. By visiting only these places with Museum Pass - Istanbul, you can save 5 TL. Further institutions, including the Kariye Museum and the Museum of Islamic Arts, are in this case free of charge.
When purchasing the card one should carefully plan the order of visiting particular sites, taking into account the days when they are closed. Most of them are closed on Mondays, but Topkapi Palace is not available on Tuesdays, and the Kariye Museum - on Wednesdays.
The points of sale of Museum Pass - Istanbul are the ticket booths at the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Kariye Museum, the Archaeological Museum, and the tourist information desk at Atatürk Airport.
Museum Pass - the Aegean
Museum Pass - the Aegean card is valid in the area of three Turkish provinces in the Aegean region: İzmir, Aydın and Muğla. It entitles you to free entry to archaeological sites and museums administered by Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Among the places covered by this card, there are such superb sites as Ephesus, Aphrodisias, and Pergamon.
Museum Pass - the Aegean costs 75 TL and is valid for 7 days. It can be purchased at ticket counters in major museums and archaeological sites in the region.
Museum Pass - the Mediterranean
Museum Pass - the Mediterranean card is valid in the area of three provinces in the Mediterranean region of Turkey - Antalya, Mersin and Adana. Therefore, it is recommended for tourists spending their holidays in Alanya and Side. With this card, you can easily visit the fortress of Alanya, archaeological museums in Alanya, Side, and Antalya, as well as magnificent ancient cities of Termessos, Aspendos, and Perge. The card also encompasses the eastern part of ancient Lycia, located in the province of Antalya, and numerous archaeological sites in the vicinity of Mersin, such as Kızkalesi, Mamure fortress, and the Caves of Heaven and Hell (Cennet and Cehennem).
Museum Pass - the Mediterranean costs 60 TL and its validity period is 7 days. It can be purchased at the ticket offices at the institutions mentioned above and many other less-visited sites, such as Simena, Patara and Karain Cave.
Museum Pass - Cappadocia
Museum Pass - Cappadocia card is valid, as its name implies, in the region of Cappadocia. It is one of more limited of Museum Pass cards, since it covers only ten sites. They are Ihlara Valley, an open-air museum in Göreme, Dark Church (Karanlık Kilise) in Göreme, underground cities in Derinkuyu, Kaymaklı, and Özkonak, an open-air museum in Zelve, Çavuşin site, and the archaeological museums in Nevşehir and Hacıbektaş.
Museum Pass - Cappadocia costs 45 TL and is valid for 3 days from the purchase date. Its sales outlets are located at ticket counters of all of the sites mentioned above.
Museum Pass - Turkey
The newest card offered by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is a real revelation. Museum Pass - Turkey card is valid in all museums and archaeological sites managed by this institution throughout the country! It means that by purchasing it you get access to about 300 sites.
The card costs 185 TL, and its has the validity of 15 days. It is sold by all points listed above and many others places, in such cities as Şanlıurfa, Amasya, Erzurum, and Kahramanmaraş.