The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part Twenty Two

On the last afternoon of our pilgrimage, we went to the famous Istanbul Archaeological Museum, which is actually three museums in one— an Oriental/ANE museum, a tile museum, and the main archaeological museum…. It’s an embarrassment of riches…

We walked down an old street to reach the main gate, passing various lovely old houses…


Once you pass the gate, you run right into Aslan, the guardian lion (as I mentioned aslan is the turkish work for lion).

Immediately to the left are the stairs up and into the Oriental museum…. full of things relevant to OT study. For example…. how about the gates of Babylon itself?? Here we have panels from the Ishtar gate…

And here are the panels themselves….


While we’re on Bablyon, here is a famous inscription involving Nabonidas one of the famous Kings of Babylon…

But before the Babylonians bothered Judah, The Assyrians in 721 and before conquered the northern tribes, and in case you were wondering what they looked like, here are depictions and inscriptions involving Shalmenezer and the even more famous Tiglath Pileser III. To say these people were fierce is putting it mildly.

Here’s another image..

Here is a honorific tablet about worship by Tiglathpeleser where he brags about the temples he has built and devotion he has shown to the great gods…

Here’s a nice image of a Hittite warrior (think Uriah the Hittite of David and Bathsheba fame) and from the right general era as well. The Hittites were all over Turkey and had a major capital at Hatusha, in the middle of the country.

Moving on to the main archaeology collection we went right to the top floor to see the artifacts of direct relevance to the study of the OT and the NT… for example the famous warning sign that was in Herod’s temple, literally the only piece of Herod’s temple still remaining after the destruction in A.D. 70— and here it is…

And here is the famous Siloam inscription about the digging of Hezekiah’s tunnel, chiseled out of the rock and carted off to Istanbul…

And here is one of three altars to unknown/nameless gods found in this same exhibit…

There is also this very nice display of glass from the Biblical period from Israel and Syria…

Last but not least, there is the famous Gezer calendar (no, it was not compiled by an old gezer :)…

It is quite small as you can see but important, and here is what it says…

There is in addition a huge collection of Greco-Roman artifacts, and we have not time nor space to show you much of it, so here is one beautiful marble statue of a Roman woman…

And here’s a magnificent grave stele, with an image of someone making libations to the moon goddess, it would appear…

Last but not least we finish we a bang with the Alexander sarcophagus. It is of course not really Alexander the Great’s burial box (long lost), but a direct copy of it found in Sidon (modern Lebanon)…. and it is spectacular…




Here’s a description of what the friezes were all about, and yes they were in brilliant color like these illustrations show.

We had a wonderful pilgrimage with a truly wonderful guide– Meltem Chiftchi, and no she is not for the birds, despite this picture.

So as the sun sets on this particular trip, it’s time to take stock…. do you see Him more clearly now, do you love Him more dearly now, will you follow Him more nearly now… Day by Day?


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