The visit to Istanbul’s Archaeological Museums was the highlight of my trip to there in October 2019. The Istanbul Archaeological Museums is made up of three units — the Istanbul Archaeological Musuem, the Ancient Orient Museum and Tiled Kiosk Museum — and together exhibit over a million artifacts. I could have easily spent a couple of days at the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, but time was a constraint and I could explore for just a couple of hours. I was in a daze for most of the visit as the exhibits were about civilisations and cultures I had only heard of and had read about; this was the first time I was getting to see their material remains.
One of the most impressive set of exhibits that I saw were some sarcophagi from the Royal Necropolis at Sidon (present day Lebanon, then part of the Ottoman Empire). These were excavated in the late 19th century and then transported to Istanbul. Though each sarcopagus was different and interesting in its own way, one of them stood out me for the emotions it evoked. Even seven months after my visit to the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, the one exhibit that has immediate recall is the Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women and the subject of this post.