The museum in Amasya, located on the southern side of the city, less picturesque than the northern one, occupies an unremarkable concrete building, painted pink for greater effect. However, do not be discouraged by the first impression, because the museum has many interesting exhibits in its showcases, the most shocking of which are probably the real mummies.
A short history of the museum
Finds from the Amasya area were initially collected in 1928 in two storage rooms inside a madrasa belonging to the mosque complex of Sultan Beyazıt II. Over time, the number of stored exhibits increased significantly and there was a need to find a new location for them. In 1962, they were moved to the Gökmedrese Mosque, which was built in 1266-67, that dates back to the Seljuk times.
The museum had been initially run by the honorary civil service, but in June 1958, it was converted into an official museum. In March 1977, another move took place, to a modern building that still houses the museum. After intensive preparatory work, the museum was officially opened to visitors in 1980.
Organization of the museum and the most interesting exhibits
The museum is divided into three main sections: archaeological, containing exhibits from the history of 13 civilizations, ethnographical, and special, intended for mummies from the Ilkhanid period - a dynasty of Mongol origin from the 13th and 14th centuries CE.
On the ground floor of the museum, the tour begins in an unusual way - with a display case with real and trace fossils. Around the corner, there are more standard exhibits: amphorae from Roman and Byzantine times, including those from a ship sunk near Bafra, Roman marble and clay sarcophagi and one Hellenistic bronze one, found in the Çakırmıstığın tumulus near Esençay.
Attention is drawn to the very well-described and interestingly presented finds from archaeological excavations carried out at the site in Oluz Höyük. Next, there are statues and marble inscriptions from mosques and madrasas built in Amasya during the Ottoman times.
The ethnographic part contains carpets, kilims and bags brought to Amasya by immigrants from Azerbaijan during the Ottoman-Russian war in 1897–1898. Further carpets come from Milas, Kırşehir, and Avanos in Cappadocia.
The section of exhibits made of wood presents examples of carpentry art from the Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman periods. The most interesting are the original doors from the Gökmedrese Mosque from the mid-13th century. The richly carved door frames are decorated with, among others, quotes from the Koran and geometric patterns.
The most important exhibit of the museum in Amasya is a figurine, inconspicuous at first glance, displayed on the first floor. In professional literature, it is sometimes called the "Statue of Amasya". It depicts the Hittite storm god Teshub. The figurine was made of bronze, but, unfortunately, its arms and legs have not survived to this day. Its appearance, especially the pointed headgear, brings to mind the figures of gods carved in the rock in the Yazılıkaya sanctuary. The statuette was found accidentally in a tumulus in Doğantepe (Amasya area) in 1962. This small figurine, measuring only 21.5 cm in height, is a unique find - it is the largest metal sculpture depicting a human figure from this period of history (1450-1200 BCE).
On the first floor of the museum there are more exhibits from Hittite times, as well as objects from Urartu, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine eras.
The ethnographic section on the first floor is a fairly typical collection of tools, vessels, weapons, trunks, ceramics, and hand-copied Qurans.
At the end of your visit to the museum, you can visit the room where mummified human remains from the period of Ilkhanid rule are exhibited. The bodies, mummified without removing internal organs, were discovered under the Burmalı Minare mosque in Amasya. Note: the impression of visiting this room is very strong, we do not recommend it to sensitive people or children.
In the garden next to the museum there are large stone exhibits dating back to Hittite, Hellenistic, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman times.
The museum is located on Amasya's main street, Atatürk Caddesi, in the very centre of the city. It is open every day from 8:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. You can take photos in the museum, but the use of flash is prohibited. The ticket price in 2023 was 60 TL.