It seems that poets and novelists have a penchant for founding their own museums. Think about Turkish Nobel prize laureate Orhan Pamuk and his’ Museum of Innocence’ now open in Istanbul’s Cukurcuma district. The museum is closely related to his novel of the same title.
Equally famous in Turkey, although maybe less known abroad is poet Sunay Akin. His passion, apart from his literary work, are toys. To exhibit his vast collection and make it accessible to the public, he opened a Toy Museum in Göztepe.
As it turned out, a visit to Gözetepe’s Toy museum is a delightful day trip, because you have four experiences all rolled into one outing. Göztepe is a very green and quite elegant residential suburb located on Istanbul’s Asian side and well worth a visit on its own. To get there, I enjoyed a Bosporus ferry ride. I took the ferry to Kadiköy from Eminönü near the Galata Bridge and made sure it stops at Haydarpasha train station. The art deco building is a famous Istanbul landmark which you can visit en route to Göztepe.
Then take the suburban train from Haydarpasha to Kartal which departs from platform 2, alight at the fourth stop, cross the road, walk down Tanzimal Street until you reach Dr. Zeki Zeren Street, turn left and proceed to the end.
The building itself is attraction number three. The museum is housed in a beautifully restored konak, one of the old wooden houses not located on the water which, well into the 1800s prevailed in Istanbul over stone houses. Fires, earthquakes and neglect have destroyed many, so it’s a special treat to visit a konak restored to its former glory.
Pay your admission of approx. $3 and become a child again for the next hour or two. Akin has assembled more that 4000 toys from all over the world and they are displayed over four floors, grouped together by subjects. German Käthe Kruse dolls, sit next to a splendid Barbie collection. Doll houses, replicas of American drug stores, Indian fortresses and space shuttles, all are rubbing shoulders in this extraordinary museum.
Round the visit off my enjoying a coffee or tea in the Café located on the ground floor next to a toy shop where you can buy toys, teddy bears, books and other souvenirs.
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30 am to 6pm.