Ayvalık Rahmi M. Koç Museum, a museum run under the auspices of the Rahmi M. Koç Museology and Culture Foundation. It is located in the historical Taxiarches Church on Alibey (Cunda) Island on the coast of Ayvalık in Balıkesir province, and was Ayvalık’s first private museum when it opened in 2014.
The Taxiarches Church, the first in Ayvalık, was originally built as a small sanctuary in the fifteenth century. In 1873, it was rebuilt over the old foundations and reopened as a metropolitan church. The church’s design, on a rectangular plan with a single-dome basilica, reflects the neoclassical architectural style of the time. The masonry walls were built using the famous local limestone known as “sarımsaktaşı” and the four loadbearing columns are constructed from brick with lime plaster and stucco cladding. The interior is decorated with icons of the saints and depictions of the apostles as well as botanic and geometrical motifs.
From 1927 to 1928, it was converted into a mosque with no minaret and was used as a Tekel depot for some time afterwards. It was severely damaged in the 1944 earthquake and again later by other natural causes. Due to this, and the added effect of illegal excavations in search of treasure, the building was largely left in ruins. In May 2012, the Rahmi M. Koç Museology and Culture Foundation rented it from the General Directorate of Foundations, for use as a cultural and arts facility, on a 49-year lease. The building was restored and opened as a museum on May 31, 2014.
The museum has a broad range of exhibits based on the collections in the Rahmi M. Koç Museums in Istanbul and Ankara, including tin toys, prams, steam models and timekeeping devices.