MERSIN, Turkey 

Around 11.5 million people visited 32 museums and historical sites in Turkey through the government’s digital platform, the top culture and tourism official said on Tuesday.

The ministry unveiled the digital portal of museums and historical sites at the end of March after the COVID-19 outbreak, which hit the tourism industry hard.

The museums, which host millions of rare works of culture and art, have been made accessible to visitors through a virtual environment on, Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said during the opening ceremony of the Tarsus Museum in the southern Mersin province.

Some of the museums include the Gobeklitepe Archeological Site Museum, known as the world’s oldest temple in Turkey’s southeastern province of Sanliurfa, the War of Independence Museum, housed in the first Turkish Grand National Assembly building in the capital Ankara, the Anatolian Civilization Museum in Ankara, the Ephesus Museum in the Aegean province of Izmir, the Zeugma Mosaic Museum in the southeastern province of Gaziantep and Museum of Troy in the western province of Canakkale.

Virtually the most visited is the Gobeklitepe Archeological Site Museum, a more than 10,000-year-old site discovered by researchers from the universities of Istanbul and Chicago, which is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

On the portal, which makes one feel like walking on the spot, visitors can launch their virtual tour from any section of the museum.

While history students and art lovers have the opportunity to examine the exhibited works by zooming in 3D format, virtual travelers can also access information on the history of the objects and locations seen in the museums.

Those interested can access a myriad of museums, palaces, mosques, churches, monasteries, and fortresses listed under Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry on

Tarsus Museum​​​​​​​

Ersoy said that the conversion of the building that was used as a court hall to a museum between 1954-2013 cost more than 32 million Turkish liras (around $4.2 million).

According to the information shared by the minister, the museum will host a wide and diverse collection of art and historical works, from prehistoric times to the Roman and more recent Islamic era. A souvenir shop will also be at the disposal of the museum’s visitors.

*Writing by Ahmet Gencturk

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