A museum in Istanbul where toys ARE us .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL - The best present for Christmas is not always something one can buy and own, sometimes it is a place or a dream that can be shared. Istanbul’s toy museum offers a magical world for children and adults, and a trip there can be an unforgettable Christmas present.

Entering the wooden four-store building decorated for Christmas, one leaves everything about being an adult at the door and is fascinated by the history of the toys and their originality.

Children who visited Turkey’s first and only toy museum, founded by poet and writer Sunay Akın, were very excited to be in a big house full of toys. "I have a gun," said Ayberk Duru, 6, talking about his favourite toy at home. However, Duru said he loved the museum very much, while watching a puppet show, one of the activities offered for young visitors.

"Some children complain that there are many ’war toys,’ girls especially are unhappy about that," said Ertaç Özden, who animated the puppet show in the museum.

When asked about what they played with at home, most children said Batman, Spiderman, Transformer, or Barbie. But, the museum offers them many different toys made of wood and metal and depicting many things in detail. It also has interactive activities such as the puppet show.

"I loved the puppet, I wish I had one," said Emin Tellioğlu, 6, explaining it was the first time in his life he had seen one. Tellioğlu came with his mother, Tuğçe Tellioğlu, who said she bought mind developing toys for her son. "But I am happy to bring my son to this museum to develop his imagination."

Although, it offers children the chance to learn world history from the toys, it is a nostalgic journey for adults, too. When the time to leave the museum comes, the story of Peter Pan comes true as one realizes that "no one really wants to or totally gets old."

"You can learn things from the toys that you cannot learn by reading a thousand books," said Akın, showing a recently added doll house, made in Germany in 1850. The toys displayed in the museum have been collected by Akın over 15 years. Now, Akın and Gürol Kutlu, a retired pilot, still continue to collect the special pieces for the museum from around the world.

Around 5,000 toys are displayed in the museum, hosted by over 100,000 people annually. The oldest piece is a violin made in 1820 in France. Mona Lisa doll made of porcelain is one of its kinds and displayed in the museum.

Doll houses
The doll houses depicting a toy seller, patisserie, pharmacy, wedding dress seller and printing house are fascinating, as they include all the details and depict the lifestyles of their era. A circus depicts all the details Ğ including a police officer pulling the ears of children who try to watch without tickets. A cat is trying to catch fish inside the aquarium in another doll house.

There are activities of puppet shows that can be seen at 1.30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, a Fossils Atelier magic show at 3.30 p.m. Sundays and painting wood toys for themselves under the teaching of Grandfather Theo. Entrance is YTL 5 for children older than three years old and students and YTL 8 for adults. The museum is located in the Göztepe district of Istanbul on the Anatolian side.