Pera Museum, which opened its doors in early June 2005, was the first step of a comprehensive cultural initiative that Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation started in order to offer various levels of cultural services at this prominent location of the city. Pera Museum was meant to serve two purposes; a museum and a cultural center. It was originally a historical building, the Bristol Hotel, built in 1893 by architect Achille Manoussos in Tepebaşı, one of Istanbul’s favorite districts. The old building was fully refurbished by Architect Sinan Genim and transformed into a modern equipped museum ready to welcome the people of Istanbul.
Main sections of Pera Museum: The first and second floors exhibit three private collections of Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation. The second floor also contains the Sevgi and Erdoğan Gönül Gallery; Multipurpose exhibition halls are found on the third, fourth and fifth floors; the auditorium / foyer are on the basement floor. The reception, Retail-Art shop, and Peracafé are located on the Ground Floor.
Covering much of the first of the museum floors, the Anatolian Weights and Measures Collection presents to history and archaeology enthusiasts outstanding examples of weight and measurement units, and weighing and measuring devices produced using various materials and techniques from ancient times to modern times. The Kütahya Tile and Ceramics Collection, which is displayed in another wing of the same floor, aims to shed light on an under-recognized area of our cultural history with its strikingly beautiful pieces.
The Orientalist Collection of more than three hundred paintings from the Suna and İnan Kirac Foundation is gracefully presents great works of European “orientalist” painters inspired by the Ottoman world from the 17th century stretching to the early 19th century. This collection boasts a gorgeous panorama from the last two centuries of the Empire, including the famous “The Turtle Trainer” of Osman Hamdi Bey, whom art historians regarded as the only ‘native orientalist’. The museum also covers many paintings from the private collections of Sevgi and Erdoğan Gönül whom we lost some time ago. This collection will be exhibited at the Sevgi and Erdoğan Gönül Gallery, named after them, in several sections, as part of a series of long-term thematic exhibitions. The first long-term exhibition, Portraits from the Empire, opened at the beginning of June 2005, consists of paintings and portraits of people from different periods and classes. Portraits feature sultans, princes, queen mothers and ambassadors.