29 April 2011 /ANKARA
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism will keep 21 major museums -- first and foremost the Mevlana Museum and the Hagia Sophia Museum -- in cities such as İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Antalya open with free admission until 11 p.m. as part of the European Museum Night, organized for May 14.
In the seventh European Museum Night to be celebrated in Europe and the sixth to be celebrated in Turkey, admission to museums affiliated with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism will be free to visitors from normal closing time on Saturday until 11 p.m. Free night visits will be open to both local and foreign tourists. Ministry officials pointed to the fact that the event, celebrated on the same day in other European cities, constitutes an important opportunity for people to visit museums. Noting that many people do not visit museums located in their own cities, officials said this event will provide a unique museum experience. They said that while people who visit museums do so during the day and at a cost, they show special interest in this event because it allows them to experience these same places at night. The Topkapı Museum is not on the list of museums that will stay open on the night of May 14. Museum director, Professor İlber Ortaylı, had previously said that “huge crowds come to the museum on days when people are not asked to pay an entrance fee and this damages the museum.”