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article imagePhoto Essay: Izmit archaeology museum & train station Special

By Lonna Lisa Williams     Jan 31, 2013 in World
Izmit - A small museum in Izmit, Turkey, not far from Istanbul, features amazing exhibits of Roman, Greek, Byzantium, and Ottoman architecture, statues, burial markers, artifacts, and even gold leaf jewelry.
After doing a photo essay about the ancient Greek and Roman city of Nicomedia and the archaeology opportunity there, I went to the main Izmit Archaeology Museum. I met the Director, Ilksen Özbay. She kindly gave me a private tour inside the museum. Although I could not take photos, I was thrilled to see exhibits of Greek and Roman busts, miniature marble statues, vases, utensils, and colorful mosaics. Items from the Byzantium and Ottoman eras were also displayed, such as tomb designs and Arabic-inscribed fountains. A jewelry exhibit caught my attention as ancient gold leaves and crowns glistened beneath glass. Coins from various eras were neatly arranged nearby, many bearing the portraits of Roman emperors.
In the outside garden, I was free to roam and take photos of columns, arches, tomb markers, and statues. The museum, located near the modern Izmit train station, also features the old train station and train cars which one can explore freely outside the archaeology museum's gates. I peeked inside one car and viewed the old striped seats, lamps, and windows surrounded by polished wood, with a bar at the end for serving tea. Perhaps even Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, rode on one of those seats in the 1930s.
If you visit Istanbul, be sure to take a bus to Izmit. The ride is about an hour and costs around $8. I like Efe Tur, a nice bus company where the buses look like airplanes inside, with padded seats, private video monitors with earphones, overhead lockers, and an attendant who comes by to serve you coffee or tea. The train from Istanbul to Izmit is not running now but will likely reopen in a year when the high-speed rail line from Ankara to Istanbul is finished.
The Museum of Arcaeology & Ethnography in Izmit
The Museum of Arcaeology & Ethnography in Izmit
Headless Roman statues in the museum s gardens
Headless Roman statues in the museum's gardens
These statues managed to have their heads reunited with their bodies
These statues managed to have their heads reunited with their bodies
These columns make an interesting display in the museum s garden
These columns make an interesting display in the museum's garden
Close-up of details on short pilars
Close-up of details on short pilars
An ornate Greek archway
An ornate Greek archway
A Roman sarcaphagus
A Roman sarcaphagus
Details on the Roman sarcaphagus
Details on the Roman sarcaphagus
A Roman grave marker  perhaps for a seaman
A Roman grave marker, perhaps for a seaman
Can you read this Greek transcription on marble?
Can you read this Greek transcription on marble?
An Ottoman-era marble arch.  You can see the old train station behind it.
An Ottoman-era marble arch. You can see the old train station behind it.
Ottoman fountains
Ottoman fountains
An old train at the old Izmit train station
An old train at the old Izmit train station
A closer view of the old train station
A closer view of the old train station
Students explore the old train
Students explore the old train
A view inside the train where Ataturk may have ridden
A view inside the train where Ataturk may have ridden
More about Izmit, Kocaeli, Turkey, Museum, Archaeology
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