Start walking down Çukurcuma Caddesi and soon you’ll see a burgundy-colored townhouse on the left. Although the exterior is discreet, inside you’ll find one of the world’s most interesting museums, or rather, ‘collection of things’. This is Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Museum of Innocence’, sharing its name with his 2008 novel in which Pamuk recounts Füsun and Kemal’s love story.
The novel spans from 1974 to the 2000s – it is a nostalgic, passionate story about Kemal’s obsessive love for Füsun. During the time span of the novel, the main character collects everything related to his beloved: her jewelry, hair pins, cigarette stubs, salt shakers, keys… The Museum of Innocence displays everything that Kemal has collected, every chapter is represented in a glass cabinet. You will not only be immersed in Kemal’s love for Füsun, but you’ll also see a documentary and a love letter to Istanbul in the 70s through the end of the decade.
You don’t have to have read the book to be able to enjoy the museum, but of course I recommend reading the novel first. Entry is free once with the ticket you’ll find in the 83rd chapter, but don’t worry if you don’t have your copy with you – there are copies in Turkish, English and French that you can browse through while strolling around in the collection. The museum is one of the most passionately creative, elaborate and romantic things I’ve seen, and I recommend it to all.