Created by the Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk and opened in 2012, Istanbul’s Museum of Innocence is the world’s first museum to be based on a novel. Centered around Pamuk’s 2008 book of the same name, this is the tale of upper-class Istanbulite Kamal who falls in love with his distant, poorer cousin Füsun in the 1970s. Though they make love he can’t be with her, and, growing increasingly infatuated, over a period of eight years Kamal collects a museum’s worth of objects dedicated to Füsun and his love for her.
Set in a 19th-century house in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district, the museum has over 1,000 artifacts collected by Pamuk over a period of more than a decade. As you walk in, you’ll see a huge glass case containing 4,213 cigarette butts, each said to have been smoked by love interest Füsun. Everything from the collection of salt shakers to the old lamps evokes a past era, and over the museum's four floors you’ll see what bourgeois Istanbul society "used, wore, heard, saw, collected and dreamed of, all meticulously arranged in boxes and display cabinets." 83 display cabinets, to be exact, each one corresponding to the novel’s 83 chapters. According to reviews, and Pamuk, just as you don’t need to visit the museum to enjoy the novel, you don’t need to have read the novel to check out the museum.
Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 - 6pm, (10-9pm on Thursdays), if you bring the book you can visit the Museum of Innocence for free, though you can also buy the book at the museum shop for the same price as adult admission (25 TL) and get in free that way. Audio guides (available in Turkish and English) cost 5 TL, and tours are available for groups of 15 or more people (reservations necessary).