The İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzeleri (Istanbul Archeology Museum) was founded by decree as the Imperial Museum, in 1881. Since an imperial decree protecting cultural goods in the Ottoman empire was enforced, many governors from the provinces would send in artifacts to the capital city, and in this way the musuem was able to amass a great collection.
The ornate Alexander Sarcophagus, once believed to be prepared for Alexander the Great, is among the most famous pieces of ancient art in the museum. The Kadesh Peace Treaty (1258 BCE), signed between Ramesses II of Egypt and Hattusili III of the Hittite Empire, is a favourite of visitors. It is the oldest known peace treaty in the world, and a giant poster of the tablets containing the treaty is on the wall of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.